Public Advocates Inc., a bold and highly regarded civil rights law firm and advocacy organization, has an opening on its Metropolitan Equity Team for a Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney to focus on affirmative litigation that addresses the housing needs of low-income renters in communities of color.  Our mission is to eradicate poverty and discrimination and promote thriving communities.  For forty-eight years Public Advocates has used 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.

To ensure meaningful access to opportunity, our Metropolitan Equity Team advocates for affordable homes in all communities, protections for tenants and communities facing displacement pressures, public transportation that serves the needs of low-income people, socially just and environmentally sustainable development, and a Green New Deal.  We pursue integrated strategies for change at the local, regional, state and national levels in partnership with grassroots groups building the power of low-income communities of color.  Visit our website to learn more about these focal areas of work.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Affirmative Litigation: Expand our docket of affirmative litigation – and litigate cases – to enforce renter rights, including rights against unlawful evictions, uninhabitable conditions and associated civil rights violations, in collaboration with Met Team attorneys and pro bono co-counsel; initiate and manage litigation depending on experience.
  • Community Partnership & Renter Education: Build and maintain positive relationships with diverse clients, grassroots community partners and residents of color and other allies to develop new litigation, provide renter education and engage community partners in ongoing litigation; represent Public Advocates in coalitions, particularly those connected to our litigation strategies.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Strategy & Project Management: Help shape the strategic direction of our housing justice program work, incorporating policy advocacy, community collaboration, media and communication into our litigation to achieve our objectives; take initiative to plan and implement work in collaboration with clients and community partners.
  • Communication: Develop and execute outreach and media strategies, including messaging, renter education, writing, social media and representing Public Advocates and coalitions to the press and public.
  • Resource Development: Help identify and develop funding opportunities and contribute to foundation relations; negotiate or litigate fee recovery motions in appropriate cases.


  • Experience, ability and motivation to do the highest caliber legal work; successful candidate will likely have three to eight years of active litigation experience. This is not intended as an entry-level position.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively about legal and policy issues to legal and lay audiences
  • Motivation working with communities of color and/or low-income communities and commitment to community empowerment, self-determination and leadership development
  • Independence, initiative, creativity, diplomacy and capacity to work collaboratively both internally and with a diverse set of allies
  • Passion for housing justice with a growth mindset around becoming an expert in multiple aspects of the metropolitan equity landscape
  • CA Bar admission
  • Preference for one or more of the following:
    • Policy and/or legal experience in the areas of housing, land use, tenants’ rights or related issues
    • Experience in affirmative litigation
    • Communications experience
    • Experience in securing program grants and other fund development, organizational planning and/or writing for publication

Qualities expected of all Public Advocates staff include integrity, high professional standards and 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 initiative.  We value cooperation, candor, flexibility, resilience, optimism, curiosity and sense of humor.

Compensation & Work Setting

Competitive salary range from $72,000 (for an attorney with three years of experience) to $90,000+; actual salary is commensurate with relevant experience.  Benefits include full health and dental insurance for employee and eligible family members; life and disability insurance; generous vacation; 403(b) retirement plan; and paid sabbaticals.  Office located on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building in San Francisco, convenient to public transportation (we offer access to tax-advantaged commuter benefits).  Some travel likely within California, including to our Sacramento office.

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; 2) a resume; 3) writing sample(s) that illustrate your reasoning and communication skills; and 4) names of three references, at least two of whom have directly supervised your work.  Submit your application (and/or questions) by email to

Public Advocates seeks to fill this position with someone who shares our values, including our organizational commitment to diversity.  We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially 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.

Litigation Attorney