Legal Assistance Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Legal Assistance Foundation Reviews

Updated June 18, 2017
12 reviews

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3.5
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Diana C. White
1 Rating

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Ombudsman Paralegal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Very flexible, you are in the field majority of the work week, so you can set your schedule according to your cases. Definitely a place I would recommend as a new graduate. Everyone is very welcoming and informed

    Cons

    Management aren't fond of paying their employees, appropriately, for the work they do.


  2. "Staff Attorney"

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

    I worked at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Some great co-workers, access to a lot of resources, great benefits package and union. You will definitely learn a lot about legal practice.

    Cons

    Very political, gossipy, and some social awkwardness. Management treats it like a firm without the financial compensation and not like collaborative and mission oriented public interest non-profit. Also, several older attorneys are behind the current social movement and rhetoric.

  3. "Bad work environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    LAF does great work on behalf of the clients. Most advocates truly care. The offices are nice and centrally located. Great vacation and time off benefits for full time employees.

    Cons

    Low pay. Although people care about the work; management seems to less about each the people actually getting the work done. Working environment can be hostile and unwieldy. The director over all practices is ineffective. People who are under-performers, rude or plain inappropriate are never held accountable.

    Advice to Management

    There is a mass exodus happening. People are resigning left and right. When a new director comes in, s/he should bring their own management team to totally restructure and reorganize this agency so it can remain viable over the long term.


  4. "Attorney"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    great mission, nice office space, located downtown, some people are passionate advocates

    Cons

    detached leadership, don't provide a clear vision for organization


  5. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Working for social justice is great

    Cons

    Working conditions are very poor.


  6. "Ombudsman - Paralegal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Great for an entry level position and anyone who is seeking experience in the law field
    -Supportive environment and supportive management
    -Traditional 9-5 work schedule
    -Union protection after 1 year
    -Generous fringe benefits

    Cons

    -Low pay
    -Little opportunities to diversify work experience while employed


  7. "AmeriCorps VISTA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time

    Pros

    LAF does very important, good work, and they provide an opportunity to gain real substantive experience, particularly through their many VISTA, intern, and fellowship positions.

    Cons

    Very unfriendly, cold work environment and the organization is extremely hierarchical. In addition, they have a pretty paternalistic attitude towards clients. Low pay.

    Advice to Management

    Your employees' happiness and well-being matters - you need to work to create a better work environment if you want to have better results and less resentment. And try to see things from the clients' perspective sometimes. If you're totally out of touch with their real needs and experiences, then you can't serve them.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Rewarding work, frustrating work conditions"

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

    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.


  9. "Hard-working people"

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

    I worked at Legal Assistance Foundation full-time (More than a 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.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Agency that continues to do good despite its identity crisis"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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 Management

    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.


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