Legal Assistance Foundation

www.lafchicago.org

Legal Assistance Foundation Reviews

Updated January 8, 2015
Updated January 8, 2015
6 Reviews
3.6
6 Reviews
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Diana C. White
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Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Hard-working people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Computer Specialist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Computer Specialist in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    This a great organization where people are there because they genuinely want to do some good. You have to wear many hats because they are trying to do as much as they can with very little staff, so the scope of your experience is big - you will learn a lot.

    Cons

    As a non-profit company, everything is subject to whether or not they received the funding they needed; Salary is not great, and the budget you have to work with is not always great either.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  2.  

    Rewarding work, frustrating work conditions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Legal Assistance Foundation

    Pros

    Having a passion for social justice makes working here rewarding, because you're in a community of very dedicated people. There are a lot of great people working at LAF - friendly, helpful, welcoming people - and in some ways they are the agency's best asset.

    In the past few years a lot of great progress has been made at LAF formalizing the employee evaluation process, recognizing employee achievements, and demonstrating organizational appreciation for the work employees are doing. Depending on which department or practice group you work in, there can be lots of flexibility with hours and offsite working. Many women take maternity leaves at LAF for anywhere from 6 months to a full year. Health insurance and retirement benefits are pretty decent, with lots of options for medical care and a company match on retirement plans. Vacation and sick time are both above average.

    Cons

    While the mission is critical, and the work in and of itself can be challenging and rewarding, LAF is not without its problems, and they're not easy problems to overlook. The pay is paltry for everyone but the most senior leadership and the union members who have been around for 30+ years. Since everyone not in management is in the union, any raises or incentives must be bargained for collectively, so there are no opportunities to advance financially based on merit or performance. Union membership is a frustrating experience if you're not a case-handler, because the priorities in bargaining have always been those related to caseworker issues. On top of that, when the most recent round of layoffs happened, seniority in the bargaining unit protected low-performing longtime employees while putting high-performing newer employees' necks on the line. That was hard to endure, and it continues to be a frustrating experience at LAF for those who have to work even harder to compensate for their colleague's poor performance. It's a big reason people leave LAF.

    If you're not an attorney at LAF, there is also very little internal support or opportunities for training, and even less in the budget to finance external opportunities for professional development. If you care about continued professional development, be prepared to find and finance your own opportunities.

    LAF has historically had a problem filling management positions with people who are qualified to manage people or the work they're doing. This has played out over the years in decreased opportunities for the advancement of people internally who do have strong managerial skills and relevant experience to the work, as well as an ever-increasing frustration with the departments being managed by unqualified people. Don't come to LAF expecting to be made a manager or a leader - you're either too qualified or there is a long line of people in front of you waiting for the same opportunity.

    Lastly, LAF operates with a 'mom and pop' mentality that isn't befitting of an agency of its size. Sometimes it borders on being downright unprofessional, and it can be an uncomfortable situation to find yourself in when you have no authority to make a better or more appropriate decision.

    All of these factors have contributed over the years to LAF losing more than a few highly talented people - attorneys and non-attorneys alike - and an overall low sense of morale in the people who have remained.

  3.  

    Good Learning Experience BUT Not A Good Enviroment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Legal Assistance Foundation as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities to learn.

    Cons

    Lack of structure and policies. Unfriendly staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Agency that continues to do good despite its identity crisis

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Attorney
    Current Employee - Attorney

    I have been working at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Intelligent, passionate, creative, and dedicated attorneys who could so easily have chosen to make comfortable livings doing something else as your colleagues, friends, and family. People who have been dealt a bad hand in life, but continue to survive with a little help from you as your clients.

    Cons

    No support staff, long hours, little pay, and the stress will affect your health.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Appreciate your employees for what they are: selfless individuals with a passion that drove them through school and continues to drive them in work. Support your staff by listening to their needs and addressing them. Don't make those who are killing themselves to make better lives for the less fortunate feel like they have to justify their continued place in your agency. Nourish them.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    This is a wonderful place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Legal Assistance Foundation

    Pros

    It is possible to do great, high quality work on emotionally compelling and legally interesting cases. good supervision and training.

    Cons

    If you are an intern or volunteer, don't expect a job offer no matter how good your work is.

    Recommends
  7.  

    LAF position

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Legal Assistance Foundation

    Pros

    Great clients, a lot of work, medium pay. It feels good to assist others. You meet many great people and really feel like you are making a difference.

    Cons

    Very stressful job. There is a high burnout rate. Despite their best efforts their is sometimes a feeling of a cliquish organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    choose lawyers from all types of law schools. This will help you to maintain good staff. Also, do not interview in years in which you don't plan to hire.

    Recommends

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