“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
At Open Door Legal (ODL), we’re pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation to dramatically reduce poverty and prove that the law really can belong to all of us. To achieve this ambitious goal, we’ve created an award-winning and best-in-class legal aid organization full of passionate, motivated, gritty, thoughtful, and team-oriented people. We believe that injustice is the heart of poverty, and we’re looking for someone to join us in having a systemic impact on how we, as a society, ensure justice for all. We are currently based in San Francisco.
Overview of Position:
We are hiring a Frontline Attorney to provide critical support for our legal direct services work to ensure that ODL meets our mission of providing free legal representation on all viable civil legal claims or defenses for residents of our service areas, with the desired impact being to reduce poverty. ODL represents low-income community members in over 35 sub-areas of civil law. ODL’s legal departments are civil litigation (includes consumer, bankruptcy, torts, real property, civil harassment restraining orders, and Marsy’s Law rights), elder (includes estate planning, probate, conservatorships), employment (includes public benefits), family, housing (includes eviction defense and pre-eviction), and immigration.
Our Frontline Team currently consists of four Frontline Partners (each staff one of our offices’ front desks), a Guest Support Specialist, and a Managing Frontline Attorney. The Frontline Attorney will focus on the legal work required to ensure guests receive comprehensive legal advice for their issues before any casework transitions to the legal practice teams. This attorney will be supervised by the Managing Frontline Attorney, who focuses on the management, outreach, and legal operations of guest services at ODL. The Frontline team also represents clients on transactional criminal re-entry/clean slate cases.
Overall, this position is intended to be a challenging yet extremely rewarding experience for a lawyer looking to make a direct difference in people’s lives with an innovative, results-oriented, and fast-growing organization. We encourage you to apply if others describe you as versatile, curious, a problem solver, decisive, compassionate, and comfortable with change. Thriving in this role requires grit, dynamism, teamwork, care, and passion (our organization’s five values).
This position will report directly to our Managing Frontline Attorney and will be in-office four days per week with one WFH day.
- Embody our universal access mission of guaranteeing free legal representation on all viable civil legal claims or defenses for adult residents of our service areas, with the ultimate goal of reducing poverty.
- Conduct intakes virtually and in person across multiple physical Open Door Legal locations.
- Translate the life problems of our low-income community members into legal options and be willing to figure out where to go next for any issue that people may have.
- Gain a basic knowledge of all the areas of law that ODL handles (see above) while specifically focusing on clean slate/re-entry, housing, wills, collection defense, public benefits, family law, and issues specific to the unhoused population.
- Conduct screening calls and intakes where you give basic legal advice, make referrals, and perform discrete legal tasks. Own a small number of transactional cases.
- Work with the Legal Operations team to create and implement a scalable intake system at Open Door Legal that ensures guests can access legal services in a timely manner while reducing the resources spent by practice teams toward intakes.
- Assure high-quality legal information is provided to guests by our Frontline Partners, assist with outreach, and cover the front on a limited emergency basis if a Frontline Partner is out unexpectedly.
- Provide services and support to our low-income clients with sensitivity and awareness to cultural, socio-economic, and disability barriers to service.
- Support the Legal Operations team with operations tasks that require an attorney.
- Manage and mentor seasonal interns, volunteer attorneys, pro bono counsel, and fellows, as needed.
- Staff the Frontline when we hold in-office after-hours clinics and attend after-hours/weekend tabling events in the community, if interested.
- Membership in good standing with the California State Bar. Applicants without active California bar membership will not be considered. However, those without a license are encouraged to apply to volunteer with us at opendoorlegal.org/volunteer.
- Ability to commute to any of ODL’s four offices four days a week to conduct in-person intakes, ensure safety, and provide emergency legal assistance. You will need the flexibility to change which office you go to daily based on emergency situations.
- Strong practical legal problem-solving skills and a commitment to gaining knowledge in all legal subjects we routinely practice.
- Strong time-management skills and the ability to organize tasks, manage diverse activities, solve problems, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision.
- Must genuinely enjoy and be motivated by working with low-income clients and be able to work competently with clients impacted by trauma (emotional, mental, and physical), including those at risk of homelessness and currently un-housed.
- Must actively demonstrate cultural humility and sensitivity to barriers low-income residents face when attempting to access the justice system.
- Have a high level of comfort learning and using technology and cloud-based case management systems. We use Salesforce, Dropbox, and Google Suite.
- Light to moderate physical effort to perform duties for this role in an office environment, including the ability to physically open and close the offices, operate a computer keyboard and standard office equipment, sit, stand, and lift up to 50 pounds occasionally.
- Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S. without sponsorship.
- Embrace and embody our values of teamwork, grit, caring, passion, and dynamism.
- Comfort practicing, translating, and interpreting in Spanish and/or Cantonese. This language ability may also come with a compensation increase upon assessment.
- Experience working with low-income and vulnerable populations.
- Experience working in a high-volume direct services legal aid or similar environment.
- Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper.
Starting compensation is $77,500 – $93,500 per year based on experience.
- Loan Repayment Assistance – for staff pursuing 10-year public interest debt forgiveness, we will pay the minimum payment on all qualifying loans so that you do not need to worry about student loan debt (this is a conditional benefit).
- Medical/Dental/Vision Plan offerings at 100% coverage
- Four weeks of paid time off per year
- We care deeply about the mental and emotional fitness of our staff and financially invest in staff who pursue ways to address this through a stipend.
- Flexible work hours
- Generous paid parental leave
- 401K/Retirement Account
- Strong organizational culture with an eNPS of 100
- We believe everyone is always learning. We financially invest in professional development for each staff member and provide many internal and external mentorships, coaching, and learning opportunities (conferences, workshops, etc.).
- We are a fun and hard-working office with best-in-class technology solutions for anyone who’s passionate about making a meaningful and measurable difference.
Apply here: https://open-door-legal.breezy.hr/p/a3426ed919f1-frontline-attorney
Applications received before March 24, 2023 will receive priority consideration.
Ideal start date: April 2023
Open Door Legal is proud to be an Equal Opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual stereotypes, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or any other applicable legally protected characteristics. We also consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law including the San Francisco Fair chance Ordinance.
We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities in our recruiting process. If you need any assistance or accommodations due to a disability, please let us know at whitney [at] opendoorlegal [dot] org.