Policy & Legislative Advocate

Position Summary

Do you have experience and the proven ability to create and achieve an effective policy agenda? Do you have at least three years of experience navigating California state government? Do you live in Sacramento or the Bay Area, or are you willing and able to travel to all necessary events and meetings in those areas? The Sustainable Economies Law Center is looking for candidates who can use their knowledge, experience, and relationships to advance the Law Center’s policy objectives at the state level.


Experience with policy advocacy at other levels of government is a significant plus. Ideal candidates will both proactively advance the Law Center’s vision through bill sponsorship, campaigns, and other efforts, as well as monitoring and intervening in other bills and efforts that relate to our interest areas. In this position, you’ll be working primarily with our Policy Director and policy team, and will also have opportunities to collaborate with other Law Center staff as you engage with virtually all areas of our work, connecting them to opportunities at the state level.


This position will leverage the Law Center’s expertise in our primary issue areas — land, labor, and law — to advance powerful, relevant policy solutions to real issues that impact our constituents. Our communities of interest include immigrant communities, BIPOC, poor, low-income, and other marginalized people, as well as small businesses, cooperatives, and democratic community-owned projects that are primarily led by and benefit these communities (e.g., People Power Solar Cooperative, and EBPREC). A major project for 2021 will be helping to coordinate a multi-stakeholder campaign for a worker ownership-centered state economic recovery agenda (read more about the WORC coalition and its policy agenda).


Independent Contractor or Employee

This position description outlines our needs and the type of work you will be doing. We believe this position can be filled by either an independent contractor with an average of 30 hours/week available, given your other client work, or by an employee of the Law Center. We have a preference for this work to be done by an independent contractor but for that person to be open to a long term client relationship with the Law Center or be interested in eventually becoming an employee of the Law Center. Of course, the ideal situation ultimately depends on the ideal candidate, so we’d like to discuss your preference.


Required Qualities, Skills, and Experience

  • An advisor: We want you to help the Law Center better connect all areas of our work to the CA state policy arena, including developing policy strategies, identifying policy windows for our work, and developing and maintaining key relationships that grow our political power. (There will also be opportunities to engage at the local and federal levels).
  • A trainer and mentor: We want a heavy-hitting policy advocate and an effective teacher who enjoys sharing knowledge and sees the value in growing the policymaking skills of the whole team.
  • An action-oriented self-starter: We’ll ask you to take initiative, dream up creative ideas, engage with the staff collective to incorporate feedback and cultivate support, convene effective teams, develop action plans, problem solve, and get things done! You must have the ability to work well independently and remotely; have strong time, organization, and task management skills to meet deadlines; and be able to ask for and graciously receive feedback and support when things are challenging or unknown.
  • A committed collaborator: We want to work with someone who possesses the qualities of kindness, diligence, integrity, and patience. It is essential that you value collective, democratic processes; enjoy sharing information, empowering others, building leadership, and mentoring; and thrive in a team environment where you’re learning from and working closely with others, including regularly soliciting and integrating feedback from coworkers, and taking direction from and reporting back to various staff teams. Law Center staff are committed to fighting for economic, social, and racial justice, and want to work with someone who is excited to advance our mission and vision alongside us.


Position Responsibilities

  1. Connections with legislators, committees, and the Administration. Experience navigating government infrastructure and process. Existing connections with state departments; committees, legislators, and their staff; party leadership; and the Governor’s administration are highly valued. Whether we have an active bill or want to educate legislative committees and government staff on our key issue areas, we need you to advise Law Center staff on who to meet with, what to say, and how to get connected.
  2. Coalition powerbuilding. Understand and value the process of growing and diversifying a coalition; ability to work collaboratively with diverse parties to identify shared goals; solicit, address, and integrate diverse feedback and opinions; create policy agendas; and advance an agenda collaboratively and effectively via grassroots organizing and base-building as well as direct lobbying. Key stakeholders include organized labor, economic and environmental justice groups, minority- and women-owned business groups, chambers, small business groups, renter associations, community land trusts, nonprofit housing developers, groups promoting inclusive and democratic ownership of community resources, etc. Bringing existing relationships to the position is highly valued.
  3. Cultural, race, and class competency. Value and have experience working with and advancing the needs of diverse populations.
  4. Grassroots community engagement. Design and coordinate effective communication and grassroots engagement campaigns (e.g. build the base, identify major opposition and support, develop a broad and compelling coalition, mobilize widespread support via petitions, letters of support, outreach, web presence, etc.). Meaningfully engage coalition members and supporters, including attending relevant events.
  5. Legislative monitoring. Find bills and monitor their development. Alert and support our staff and partners to effectively intervene.
  6. Education and relationship-building. Educate and engage with legislators and their staff, including identifying and cultivating issue area champions. Engage with opposition to find areas of common interest.
  7. Adapt to a changing landscape. Think creatively about innovative policy levers we can use throughout the pandemic-induced economic recession and recovery, including contributing to bold, cross-silo, coalition-led legislative agenda, non-legislative approaches, and developing alternative mechanisms to fund programs unlikely to receive full funding from the impacted 2021 state budget.
  8. Ability to sketch policy roadmaps. Translate policy goals into refined strategies and sequenced work plans.
  9. Legislative drafting and advocacy. Support with developing and reviewing bill language. Shepherd legislation and budget requests from start to finish.
  10. Ambassador for the Law Center. Know our positions and relay them in position letters, at hearings, and directly to relevant parties (consulting with Law Center staff as needed).
  11. Policy implementation. Follow through on legislative wins. Develop and manage relationships with relevant government staff, draft supportive government programs and guidelines, and hold agencies accountable to legislative direction.
  12. Public and media relations. Write articles and op-eds, manage or oversee web presence for active campaigns.
  13. Technical skills. Some familiarity with or willingness to learn website tools such as Nationbuilder and WordPress will be useful for online campaigns and community engagement. Competency in or willingness to learn Google Suite applications including Google calendar, documents, sheets, and slides; online project management tools (e.g. Asana); and a handful of other software platforms for our financial operations and internal communications is essential for Law Center employees.
  14. Tracking: Improve the Law Center’s lobbying tracking system, and manage lobbyist registration, if required, and related reporting.


If you don’t think you qualify for everything listed, that’s okay! You may be our dream candidate, so please don’t let that stop you from applying.


About the Law Center’s Focus Areas

Because the Law Center works in so many diverse areas, you’re not expected to be an expert in each one. Familiarity with our work is valuable, and your interest in learning is key. Your understanding will grow over time, and you can get detailed subject-area expertise by consulting with relevant Law Center staff. Our current focus areas include:

  • Worker ownership (particularly worker-owned and multi-stakeholder cooperatives),
  • Housing (particularly shared and/or permanently affordable housing),
  • Land (especially community ownership and trust models),
  • Energy (particularly community-owned renewable energy),
  • Food and farming (sustainable, regional, equitable)
  • Securities law (particularly as it relates to grassroots investment and crowdfunding for just and inclusive local economies)
  • Click here to see all of the Law Center’s programs.


Independent Contractor Details (for Contractors Only)

  • Compensation: The Law Center typically pays independent contractors an hourly rate of $52/hour. We are willing to discuss a flat fee retainer arrangement.
  • Hours: You should be able to allocate an average of 30 hours per week to this position.


Employment & Benefit Details (for Employees Only)

  • Compensation: Law Center staff are compensated based on an equitable pay structure that starts at a minimum full-time base salary of $60,137. The salary may be higher depending on a staff person’s need to support children and other dependents.
  • Hours: This position is full time, and we consider a full-time workweek to be 30 hours/week.
  • Location: Our office is located in downtown Oakland but currently closed due to the pandemic. When the office is reopened, Bay Area staff are required to work in the office an average of 2 days per week unless they have received approval for some other arrangement.
  • Time Off: We have a “free time off policy,” which means that there is no limit to paid time off during a calendar year. Each core staff member has the opportunity and responsibility to take as much paid time off as they see fit, so long as they can fulfill their organizational roles and responsibilities.
  • Health Insurance: We offer health insurance for staff and children/dependents, and cover the premiums for spouses who have no other insurance access. We also offer flexible spending accounts.
  • Child Care: We contribute $5,000/year to a flexible spending account for dependent care per staff member with children under the age of 10.
  • Family Leave: We provide 12 weeks of paid parental and/or caregiving leave.
  • Sabbatical: We have a sabbatical policy that grants staff a 12-week paid sabbatical every 5 years.


More About the Sustainable Economies Law Center

It’s our mission to cultivate a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. We provide the essential legal tools of education, research, advice, and advocacy so communities everywhere can develop their own sustainable sources of food, housing, energy, jobs, and other vital aspects of a thriving community.


We are a worker self-directed nonprofit. This means that we use democratic governance and decision-making systems that provide all staff with a voice in the direction of the organization. We also share roles and responsibilities. Most staff take on a wide range of roles within the organization, based on the organization’s needs and on staff members’ interests and skills. So there are likely some things you may do as a core staff member that are not listed in this position description, including, for example: regular staff meetings, participating in creating organizational budgets, and quarterly staff trainings.


Before filling out the Application Form, we encourage you to read more about the Law Center on our website and take a look at some of the systems of accountability, autonomy, and democracy we’ve adopted for organizational policies. The Law Center has some unique policies intended to create a healthy, inclusive, and effective work environment. Please take some time to get a sense of our organization to determine if it’s the workplace you’ve been looking for!


People of color, people from poor and working class backgrounds, transgender and gender nonconforming people, people with disabilities, and women are encouraged to apply.


Important Information:

How to Apply: Please fill out the Application Form by 11:59pm PST on September 22, 2020. Note: We are NOT requesting resumes for the initial application. However, if you are invited to a first round interview, you will be asked to provide us with a resume at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled interview.

Estimated Timeline: We are accepting applications through September 22, 2020. We expect to conduct interviews from October 5th through October 9th and to select a candidate by mid-October.

Questions? Please email work@theselc.org with the SUBJECT: “POLICY ADVOCATE OPENING – QUESTION”.


Thank you for taking the time to submit your responses. We’re looking forward to reading your application!


Click here to apply!