Opportunities

Office of the Public Guardian Employment Opportunities:

In addition to offering competitive salaries, employees receive a robust benefits package including medical, dental, vision, prescription drug benefits, life insurance, and pension plan; Paid time off, including vacation, sick, personal time, and 13 paid holidays; Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program; 12-week Paid Parental Leave; and remote work opportunities.  The Office of the Cook County Public Guardian is an equal opportunity employer.

Qualified candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Kelley A. Thornton at Kelley.thornton@cookcountyil.gov

Attorney

We are currently hiring licensed and pre-licensed attorneys in our Juvenile Division.

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

Position:          Attorney I

Grade:              18

Location:          Juvenile Division

Salary:             $82,300 + Full Benefits

SUMMARY: The Cook County Public Guardian represents youth in care as both their attorney and guardian ad litem.  Child Protection judges appoint the Public Guardian to promote the goals of the Juvenile Court Act and ensure the client’s safety and well-being are met by the Department of Children and Family Services and caregivers.  The Public Guardian’s advocacy extends to various areas of the law and settings.  At all times the attorney is to follow the ethical rules set forth in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and relevant case law.

QUALIFICATIONS: Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois or admitted to practice law under Supreme Court Rule 717.  Experience in public service and children’s issues. Courtroom experience preferred.  Must have excellent professional judgment and demeanor, assessment, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Must be well organized and detail-oriented, and have the ability to prioritize work, meet constant deadlines, maintain confidentiality, handle multiple tasks, and deal with situations of stress and emergency within a fast-paced environment.  Must work well independently and work as part of an interdisciplinary team.  Strong computer skills especially with Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, and video conferencing applications.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

The following core duties and tasks are fundamental to the performance of the job and must be performed pursuant to office policy.  Other duties may be assigned and/or may be necessary in the performance of the job.

  1. Represent and advocate for clients competently and effectively as attorney and/or guardian ad litem.
  2. Advocate for the client’s wishes and/or best interests based on individual circumstances.
  3. Practice law ethically in accordance with the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility and relevant case law.
  4. Prepare cases for court, hearings, or other meetings in a timely manner (e.g., initiate discovery, file appropriate pleadings, convene staffings).
  5. Demonstrate familiarity and competency with using the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, the Juvenile Court Act, other appropriate statutes, and relevant case law for civil and administrative practice.
  6. Draft well-written and factual pleadings, correspondence, and other documents.
  7. Conduct legal research.
  8. Maintain regular and timely in-person and remote contact with clients that includes targeting an average of four field interviews per month, and assisting with out-of-area visits.
  9. Develop and maintain a working knowledge of available resources to assist clients.

This position requires a pre-employment drug screening and criminal background check.  Applicants are advised that as a Drug Free Workplace, use of medical or recreational marijuana is prohibited and will disqualify a candidate from employment.

Paralegal

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT – AFSCME Council 31, Local 3969

Position:  Paralegal I

Salary:   AAIII  Grade 16E – $62,995 + Full Benefits

Location:  Juvenile Division

SUMMARY: Paralegals in the Juvenile Division assist attorneys by gathering and organizing information, conducting legal research, attending staffings, preparing legal pleadings and conducting client interviews. As a professional partner in the service of children, the paralegal is expected to be familiar with and perform all duties consistent with the ethical requirements as set forth in the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, Article VIII,  and Code of Professional Responsibility.  Additionally, each paralegal is expected to observe confidentiality in client matters and ensure the health, safety and welfare of our clients.

QUALIFICATIONS:  Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.  In addition, a paralegal must hold a post-graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies from an American Bar Association-approved program or a law degree from an American Bar Association-approved Law School.  Must possess two (2) or more years of experience as a paralegal.   Must possess excellent professional judgment, problem-solving, analytical reasoning, communication, and interpersonal skills.  Must be organized, detail-oriented, and have the ability to handle multiple tasks, work efficiently within a fast-paced environment, and meet constant deadlines.  Must be able to work independently as part of an interdisciplinary team, and maintain a professional demeanor.  Proficient legal research and computer skills necessary, including abilities in LexisNexis, Excel and Microsoft Office.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:  The following core duties are fundamental to the performance of the job.  Other duties may be assigned and/or may be necessary to the performance of the job.

  • Conduct legal research.
  • Prepare motions and responses.
  • Prepare subpoenas and monitor compliance.
  • Assist attorneys with all aspects of trial preparation.
  • Review and summarize documents.
  • Conduct client, caregiver, and case manager interviews, and make recommendations as needed.
  • Maintain Out-of-Area database and incarcerated clients lists.
  • Conduct and assist with periodic data audits.
  • Create and maintain client case files.
  • Review and organize discovery.
  • Attend client staffings and summarize information for assigned attorney.
  • Assist with special projects upon request.
  • Obtain documents (e.g. birth certificates, criminal records, medical records) for cases.
  • Coordinate client interviews at residential facilities, out of area placements, and correctional facilities.
  • Coordinate inter-office meetings.

WORKING CONDITIONS/PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:

  • On a continuous basis, sit at a desk for long periods of time in front of a computer screen;
  • Intermittently twist to reach equipment or supplies surrounding desk;
  • Perform simple grasping and fine manipulation;
  • Strength to lift files weighing up to 20 pounds;
  • Use telephone and computer keyboard on a daily

This position requires a pre-employment drug screening and criminal background check.  Applicants are advised that as a Drug Free Workplace, use of medical or recreational marijuana is prohibited and will disqualify a candidate from employment.

Case Manager

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT – AFSCME Council 31, Local 3969

Position: Case Manager

Grade:    PG II – $67,812

Location:  Adult Guardianship Division

Summary:  The Adult Division of the Cook County Public Guardian (OPG) serves as the court-appointed guardian for adults adjudicated as persons with disabilities by a judge in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  The Case Manager maintains a caseload of adults appointed a legal guardian over their person and or estate, and is responsible for managing and coordinating a broad range of comprehensive case management services regarding the environmental, placement, physical, medical, psychiatric, mental, social and personal needs of individuals under guardianship.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:  The following core duties are fundamental to the performance of the job.  Other duties may be assigned and/or may be necessary to the performance of the job.

  • Responsible for completing statutory requirement of a minimum of one monthly face-to face contact with all assigned individuals under OPG guardianship. Attend property inspections and inventories in the field.
  • Monitor the environmental, placement, physical, psychiatric, social and personal needs of assigned clients on a continuous basis. Ensure that the individual’s clinical and medical needs are being met appropriately.
  • Evaluate, monitor and coordinate the individual’s care, placement, and status in diverse settings including, but not limited to: nursing homes, community placement, CILA’s, supportive/assistive living, psychiatric settings, and hospitals.
  • Identify and communicate significant issues regarding client moves, status changes, major medical consents, deaths, allegations of abuse or neglect, and other significant events.
  • Coordinate care for individuals by diverse providers including physicians, psychiatrists, home health agencies, hospice/palliative care providers, home care services, therapeutic, recreational and religious services.
  • Formulate, monitor, and evaluate, on-going plans of care. Assess the level and quality of services provided and determine appropriate recommendations.
  • Maintain electronic documentation case records in the Panoramic database including monthly contact/assessment reports and client events regarding site visits, significant contacts, hospitalizations, medical and psychiatric changes, incidents, consents, and other status changes and case decisions in a timely manner. Organize and maintain paper files, documents and records.
  • Respond to emergencies and be available to work extended hours as needed.
  • Provide clear, concise, and accurate testimony in court.
  • Participate in on-call rotation evenings, weekends and holidays.

Qualifications:  Graduation from an accredited college or university with a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in social work, gerontology, psychology or related human service field. Master’s Degree preferred. Must possess excellent professional judgment, problem-solving skills, crisis intervention, communication and interpersonal skills. Must possess excellent analytical and clinical assessment skills. Must possess proven knowledge of community medical and health resources, extended care, mental health programing and other social service resources used on behalf of individuals under OPG guardianship. Must be well organized, detail-oriented, have the ability to handle multiple tasks, work efficiently within a fast paced environment and meet constant deadlines. Must have a reliable vehicle, a valid Illinois Driver’s license and insurance. Must be willing to travel extensively in Cook County and some out of county travel as needed. Must display a strong commitment to serving individuals in the least restrictive setting clinically appropriate. Must be able to work independently and work as part of an interdisciplinary team to meet constant deadlines.

Tax Clerk

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT – AFSCME Council 31, Local 3969

Position:         Accounts Department Tax Clerk

 Salary:            AAIII  Grade 16E – $62,995 + Full Benefits

 Location:         Adult Guardianship Division

SUMMARY: It is the responsibility of the Accounts Department Tax Clerk to prepare federal and state income tax returns for indigent persons under the guardianship of the Cook County Public Guardian; to prepare and submit real estate property tax exemption applications; to facilitate payment of real estate taxes for persons under guardianship; and to prepare comprehensive financial accounts and pleadings for the Court for persons under the guardianship of the Cook County Public Guardian.

QUALIFICATIONS:   Bachelor’s degree required from an accredited college or university.  Must be proficient in the preparation of federal and state individual tax returns.  Must be proficient in the use and functionalities of Turbo Tax tax preparation software.  Must be proficient in the use and functionalities of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Outlook.  Must have excellent organizational, computation, professional, oral, and written communication skills.  Must know basic computer skills.  Must be able to work independently and as part of a team to meet constant deadlines.  Must be able to work effectively with Court personnel, outside vendors, internal staff, and family members of persons of guardianship.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

The following core duties and tasks are fundamental to the performance of the job and must be performed under office policy.  Other duties may be assigned.

  1. Prepare federal and state income tax returns in a timely manner.
  2. Gather all necessary documents and information pertinent to the accurate preparation of federal and state income tax returns.
  3. Communicate with attorneys and staff to gather information pertinent to the preparation of the federal and state income tax returns.
  4. Review and analyze ledgers, financial documents, and information provided by other Departments to obtain information necessary to prepare accurate tax returns.
  5. Ensure copies of prepared tax returns are emailed and printed in order for them to be signed by Accounts Department Supervisor and uploaded to the OPG database.
  6. Track all persons under guardianship in need of pro bono tax preparation to ensure their tax issues have been addressed before deadlines pass.
  7. Review and interpret transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service to determine if the persons under guardianship have outstanding tax issues requiring action.
  8. Review and interpret transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service to gather income information.
  9. Communicate effectively and timely with the tax team to ensure timely preparation and filing of tax returns.
  10. Communicate effectively and clearly with external tax preparation firms to address issues and questions related to accurate preparation of tax returns.
  11. Communicate effectively and clearly with assigned attorneys to address issues and questions related to accurate preparation of tax returns
  12. Communicate effectively via telephone, email, and writing with nursing facilities and financial institutions to obtain tax documents pertinent to accurate preparation of tax returns.
  13. Prepare tax return extension requests for persons under guardianship.
  14. Prepare comprehensive annual and final court accountings for indigent persons under OPG guardianship.
  15. Prepare final accounts and pleadings for the purpose of transferring persons under OPG guardianship to the Office of the State Guardian.
  16. Review and analyze ledgers, financial documents and information provided by other Departments to obtain information necessary to prepare accurate and complete accounts.
  17. Follow up with and communicate with assigned attorney, case managers and other Departments on all issues identified in the course of preparing each account.
  18. Prepare fee petitions and other pleadings to be presented to the court.
  19. Obtain copies of court files and approved accounts.
  20. Prepare various Notices associated with account preparation, i.e., Notices of Approved Account, Notices of Discharge.
  21. Assist with various miscellaneous administrative duties including, but not limited to maintaining internal Department databases and entering various dates in OPG Adult Guardianship database.
  22. Maintain and organize database of real estate persons under guardianship own or in which they have an interest.
  23. Maintain real property tax payment tracking system and organize and facilitate payment of real estate taxes for all real estate persons under OPG guardianship own or in which they have an interest.
  24. Prepare and submit real estate property tax exemption applications and Certificates of Error.
  25. Communicate effectively via telephone, email, and in writing with various Cook County offices and out of county/state offices to obtain real estate tax bills and tax payment history.
  26. Gather and organize information necessary for preparation of real estate tax exemption applications.
  27. Communicate with assigned attorneys and/or case managers to gather information and facilitate payment real estate taxes and preparation of property tax exemptions.
  28. Attend team meetings, Department meetings and trainings as required by Office and/or Department Supervisor.
  29. Work cooperatively with office staff.
  30. Respond promptly to calls, email, regular mail and other inquiries daily or in an otherwise timely manner.

WORKING CONDITIONS/PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:

  • On a continuous basis, sit at a desk for long periods of time in front of a computer screen;
  • Intermittently twist to reach equipment or supplies surrounding desk;
  • Perform simple grasping and fine manipulation;
  • Strength to lift files weighing up to 10 pounds;
  • Use telephone and computer keyboard on a daily

This position requires a pre-employment drug screening and criminal background check.  Applicants are advised that as a Drug Free Workplace, use of medical or recreational marijuana is prohibited and will disqualify a candidate from employment.

Law Student Internship

(Juvenile, Adult Guardianship, and Domestic Relations Divisions & Appeals Unit)

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Divisions, and Appeals Unit of the office welcome law clerks throughout the year to assist in representing clients from birth to age 21. Volunteers, grant recipients, and students working for credit are encouraged to apply. The law clerk program is designed to provide students with practical experience. Law clerks may request to be assigned to the Juvenile Division, Domestic Relations Division, or the Appeals Unit. Duties may include drafting motions and other court documents, legal research, appellate briefs, case preparation, interviewing witnesses and otherwise assisting experienced attorneys in advocating for children and youth. Students with a license issued pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 may appear in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney and receive training to interview child clients. All law clerks participate in an orientation and formal training. In addition, each law clerk receives performance evaluations. Law clerks must be enrolled in an accredited law school, possess the ability to communicate and work with attorneys and other professional staff, demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills, and show enthusiasm and assertiveness. All internships and clerkships are unpaid. Check with your school for externships or other credit arrangements. Volunteers, grant recipients, and students working for credit may submit a cover letter and resume via email, fax, or mail to the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, 2245 West Ogden Avenue, 4th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60612, Attn: Law Clerk Coordinator, Law Clerk Program, opg@cookcountyil.gov, 312-433-4300, fax: 312-433-5129. Deadlines for submitting applications are November 15th for Spring clerkships, April 15th for Summer clerkships, and July 15th for Fall clerkships.

The Adult Guardianship Division of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian offers a unique opportunity to law students. Attorneys in the Adult Guardianship Division represent the Public Guardian in his capacity as guardian of disabled adults. While attorneys primarily handle guardianship matters in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, they often find themselves representing the Public Guardian on behalf of disabled adults in other divisions such as Municipal, Chancery, and Domestic Relations, to name a few. As law clerks in the Adult Guardianship Division, students assist attorneys by conducting legal research, drafting memoranda, motions, and other legal pleadings, and preparing for trial or other hearings. Student law clerks are also offered the unique opportunity to accompany attorneys in the field to conduct real property inspections, visit with disabled adults at their residences, and attend meetings with other professionals working with disabled adults. A law student with a license under Supreme Court Rule 711 may appear before the court supervised by one of the Adult Guardianship attorneys. All student law clerks are provided in-house training at the start of the clerkship and are mentored by the attorneys. All internships and clerkships are unpaid. Check with your school for externships or other credit arrangements. Interested law students should submit a cover letter and resume to the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, Attn: Legal Internship Coordinator, 69 West Washington Street, Suite 700, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Deadlines for submitting applications are November 15th for Spring clerkships, April 15th for Summer clerkships, and July 15th for Fall clerkships.

Caseworker Advocate Internship

The caseworker advocate student internship allows qualified students to assist the caseworker advocacy unit in interviewing children in order to gather information from the child’s perspective. This is a field position, requiring students to have a vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and insurance.

Psychology Student Internship

The Juvenile Division welcomes master’s and doctorate-level psychology students interested in completing a social justice practicum as part of their training through their academic program. Students interested in learning about advocacy, public service, marginalized populations, legal proceedings, and child welfare are encouraged to apply.  Internships are unpaid. Psychology students will complete a project as part of a team that aims to facilitate advocacy in meeting the needs of our clients. Interns must be enrolled in an accredited school with an educational agreement with our office, demonstrate good time management, analytical skills, and organization, and have an interest in research and passion for learning about the work with this population. Psychology students receive weekly supervision by a licensed clinical psychologist.

THE OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC GUARDIAN IS AN EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER