For nearly 50 years, Public Advocates Inc. has been at the forefront of social justice movements in California as a bold and highly regarded civil rights law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination.  We pride ourselves on skillfully deploying a diverse set of legal and policy tools to achieve tangible legal victories and help low-income communities of color build their power to participate effectively in public decision-making.  We are excited to announce a new position on our high-functioning Metropolitan Equity Team for an experienced Deputy Managing Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney.

A true renter movement has been growing over the last few years – cultivated and supported by our established community partners and fueled by broader organic energy.  COVID has intensified this struggle.  This has dramatically increased the demand for Public Advocates’ support from our partners and the scope of our work on renters’ rights – including local and state level legislation and policy advocacy, renter education, support to coalitions, and some affirmative renters’ rights litigation.  Together with our partners, we have won transformative new laws that decouple rent payment from eviction, as well as changes to California’s fast-track eviction process.  This is a pivotal moment to achieve lasting change for millions of California renters by building on these crisis-fueled wins, three years of strong legislative victories and growing movement momentum.

We have a strong cohort of more junior attorneys on our team, but we need both more capacity to responsibly support the growth of these attorneys and staff with more experience who can take ownership of complex policy and coalition work to advance renters’ rights.  We are seeking someone who has expertise in renters’ rights, supervision experience, and the capacity to take on not just individual projects, but to partner with the team’s two managing attorneys in developing the strategic direction of our renters’ rights work.


Responsibilities include leading and managing others in the following areas:
(We recognize that our ideal candidate will likely have substantial experience in some of these responsibilities and will be on a growth trajectory on others.)

  • Community Partnership & Coalition Building: Build and maintain positive relationships with diverse grassroots community partners, legal and policy groups and other allies; co-lead local and state coalitions engaged in multi-year policy campaigns and power building; leverage Public Advocates’ legal and policy expertise to enhance capacity of community partners
  • Policy Advocacy: Develop, analyze and promote policy change in an inclusive and collaborative way with Public Advocates’ community and coalition partners
  • Legal & Administrative Advocacy: Work on precedent-setting administrative advocacy before local, regional, and state agencies; help to develop and pursue strategic litigation, working closely with senior Public Advocates attorneys and pro bono co-counsel; may have opportunities to initiate and manage litigation depending on experience
  • Supervision and Development of Attorney Staff: Supervise junior attorneys (i.e., oversee workload, professional development, performance evaluations; act as thought partner, coach, mentor), clerks and fellows on cases and projects
  • Communication: Develop and execute outreach and media strategies, including messaging, community education, writing and representing Public Advocates and coalitions to the press and public
  • Resource Development: Work w/managing attorneys to articulate funding strategies for program work and develop and implement team’s foundation revenue plan; develop relationships w/foundation officers; lead drafting of proposals and reports
  • Strategy: Help shape strategic directions in our renters’ rights program work, incorporating policy advocacy, community collaboration, media and communication, and/or litigation, as well as work across different geographies and campaigns to achieve our objectives
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Proactively implement the organization’s diversity, equity & inclusion vision, goals and needs within the team, including recruitment, development and success of diverse staff
  • In addition, a Deputy Managing Attorney will partner w/the team’s managing attorneys to: develop the team’s overarching multi-year strategic direction; direct the trajectory and arc of the team’s legal, policy and administrative advocacy across all team projects; and make decisions regarding resource allocation and the building of team capacity and effectiveness.



  • Minimum of 7-10 years of relevant experience
  • Policy and/or legal experience in the areas of housing, land use, tenants’ rights or related issues
  • CA Bar admission
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Experience supervising the performance and professional development of other staff
  • Independence, initiative, creativity, diplomacy and capacity to work collaboratively both internally and with a diverse set of allies
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively about legal and policy issues to legal and lay audiences
  • Preference for candidates w/:
    • Experience working with grassroots community organizations and supporting community capacity-building and empowerment
    • Experience working on policy advocacy campaigns in collaborative settings and co-leading coalitions

Qualities expected of all Public Advocates staff include integrity, high professional standards, commitment to progressive social change and working successfully with diverse colleagues, clients and community partners.  This includes active participation in promoting healthy workplace culture through our organizational diversity and inclusion initiative – an ongoing and intensive process of communication, trust-building and learning about our individual and organizational areas for growth.  We strive to build a culture of cooperation and mutual support and value flexibility, resilience, optimism, curiosity and a sense of humor.


Compensation & Work Setting

The Deputy Managing Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney would be based out of our downtown San Francisco office*.  Our office is located on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building, convenient to public transportation (we offer access to tax-advantaged commuter benefits).

Competitive salary range begins at $100,000 for Senior Staff Attorney and $110,000 for Deputy Managing Attorney but actual salary will be based on relevant experience and internal equity.  Benefits include full health and dental insurance for employee and eligible family members; life and long-term disability insurance; generous vacation; 403(b) retirement plan; and paid sabbatical after 7 years.

*At the time of this posting all our staff are working from home through September 7, 2021.  We anticipate a return to the office (and travel) when it is safe to do so.  In the case of an out-of-state or out-of-area hire, we expect the new hire to relocate to within commuting distance of San Francisco or to be available in person as needed, and not less than twice per month (or every other week).


Application Instructions

Applications welcome immediately; position open until filled.  To be considered, applications must include: 1) a cover letter that a) explains your specific interest in this role and in our advocacy model, b) addresses how your identity and background have prepared you to be an effective advocate for social justice and c) describes a project or challenge you have managed that will help us understand your qualifications; and 2) a resume.

Public Advocates is partnering with Steven John & Associates to assist the organization with this important search.  Interested, qualified attorneys should submit an electronic copy of their application materials to the following search consultants:

Steve John

Founder & Principal

Steven John & Associates, LLC


(415) 505-6685

Jason Snyder

Managing Director

Steven John & Associates, LLC


(415) 505-6687

All inquiries and/or application materials sent directly to Public Advocates will be redirected to Steven John & Associates, LLC for review, which may cause significant delay in evaluation and response.


Public Advocates is committed to fostering a diverse staff and diversity in the legal profession and we seek to fill this position with someone who shares our values, including our organizational commitment to diversity.  We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.  Read our Diversity Vision Statement here.

Deputy Managing Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney
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