Probate Paralegal, Full-Time


About Us:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

We believe that even the biggest problems can be broken down into small, achievable steps. Poverty and access to justice are part of the same problem. And to solve this, we just need to discover what the steps are.

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.


Overview of Position:

We have seen many members of our community threatened with homelessness and housing uncertainty because of issues around the estate of a deceased family member. Private attorneys take a percentage of the estate thus many times a home has to be sold to pay the attorney and court fees. We’re hiring a Probate Paralegal or Legal Secretary reporting directly to our Lead Elder Law Attorney who will help us keep long-standing families in the community here. We are assisting people whose homeownership status is in flux. Probate court in San Francisco has so many procedural rules that make navigating it impossible for the pro-per client. Thus, Open Door Legal provides an invaluable service to the local community by navigating SF probate court for families and elders who are the stewards of a community’s wealth and legacy.

In addition to probate litigation, will & trust contests, and trust administration, our elder team also represents elderly clients in conservatorships, elder abuse restraining orders, and navigating public benefits. The work is fast-paced and will require you to be organized, think critically and dynamically, and demonstrate empathy and awareness in understanding the needs of our community. If you want to make a difference in client’s lives with us, we encourage you to apply!

Overall, this position is intended to be a challenging and rewarding experience for someone with some substantive probate court knowledge who is interested in using that knowledge to change the lives of local low-income community members.


  • Support our Elder Law team (currently 2 staff attorneys) and interns/fellows/volunteers. Keep things organized and efficient to increase the overall caseload and quality services of the teams.
  • Execute timely, error-free filings (including drafting and compiling forms to file in court, such as fee waivers, proofs of service, and other standard filings) and mailings, ensuring they are high-quality and within deadline. Communicate with the clerks and probate examiners about scheduling, notice or filing issues. Physically go to SF Superior Court (400 McAllister St.) 1-2 times a week to file, deliver courtesy copies and/or pick up orders.
  • Oversee all probate court notices and service of process requirements (personal, substitute, and mail). Understand the civil procedure behind service and notices. Coordinate with the sheriffs or private process servers to ensure personal service is completed by deadline.
  • Handle all recording and retrieving of documents with the SF assessor-recorder’s office and other counties outside of SF, when required.
  • Notarize and witness estate planning documents in addition to preparing estate planning binders and handling all the deed recording.
  • Review documents with clients and obtain their informed signatures.
  • Provide clients’ rights counseling and case management, including maintaining and providing necessary follow-up with clients.
  • Support elderly clients with empathy and sensitivity through difficult discussions about death, terminal illness, and healthcare wishes, and follow through with clients to ensure that their estate plans are delivered to them promptly.
  • Understand the larger social service network both locally and in the broader Bay Area and when appropriate, refer clients to culturally appropriate mental health support, social services organizations, and other resources.
  • Embody our mission of universal access to civil legal aid and make sure that the needs of clients in our service area are met.
  • Commit to leading the office in representing our mission and values externally to potential clients, clients, and others as well as internally to all teammates and volunteers. Our values are passion, grit, teamwork, caring, and dynamism.


  • Previous experience working as a legal secretary, paralegal, case manager, or client advocate in a legal or nonprofit environment.
  • A California Notary certification, or willingness to get one within the first few months of hiring.
  • Must have experience using case management systems and comfortableness with technology.
  • Must genuinely enjoy working with low-income clients and be committed to providing trauma-informed services.
  • Must be willing to make a two-year commitment to the organization.

Bonus Points:

  • Bilingual in English and Spanish – potential compensation increase.
  • Bilingual in English and Cantonese – potential compensation increase.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • A California Notary certification.
  • Previous experience working in a probate or estate planning office.
  • Previous experience filing in San Francisco Superior Court Probate Division.
  • Paralegal certification or other qualifications meeting the state requirements for a Paralegal.
  • Experience working with low-income and vulnerable populations.
  • Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper.

Starting salary range is $60,000 – $78,500 per year depending on experience.

Related keywords: legal assistant, paralegal, legal, legal secretary, paralegal legal assistant, probate, law firm, legal services


  • 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 don’t need to worry about student loan debt (this is a conditional benefit).
  • Medical/Dental/Vision Plan offerings at 100% coverage
  • Generous paid time off
  • Flexible work hours
  • Generous paid parental leave
  • 401K/Retirement Account
  • We believe everyone is always learning. We financially invest in individual learning plans 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 online here:

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 records, consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law.

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.

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Probate Paralegal
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