Social Justice Staff Attorney (housing rights focus)
Contra Costa County Regional Office
(primarily remote 2020)
Are you interested in using your legal skills to help address the housing crisis, prevent homelessness, address social inequality and help low‐income families obtain and maintain stability?
Join BayLegal’s dynamic Contra Costa County Regional Office!
Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is on the front lines fighting for our clients’ rights. Last year, BayLegal removed legal barriers to health, safety, and stability through representation, legal advice and information, referrals, community education, and advocacy for more than 75,000 low-income individuals and their families throughout seven Bay Area counties.
As a regional poverty law firm that has been serving our local communities since the 1960s, we are committed to working alongside our clients and community partners to address inter-generational poverty and social inequality. We practice in multiple legal substantive areas to help our clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. BayLegal works to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, increase economic stability, protect consumers, expand access to healthcare, and prevent homelessness. Our clients include the working poor, families with children, foster youth, seniors, immigrants, veterans, and persons with disabilities. By serving clients at a wide range of access points, including our six regional county offices, our mobile advocacy clinics, and our nationally recognized legal hotlines, BayLegal has a unique viewpoint to identify patterns of illegal practices and barriers to our clients’ rights in need of broader advocacy and potential impact litigation. For our clients, BayLegal makes the difference between staying in poverty and thriving toward a brighter future.
makes the difference between staying in poverty and thriving toward a brighter future.
Position: BayLegal seeks an attorney with a strong commitment to public interest and social justice advocacy to join our Contra Costa County Regional Office, located in Richmond. The COVID19 public health and economic crisis has made civil legal services ever more critical to help individuals and families avoid homelessness and devastating debt and to provide opportunities for stability and self-sufficiency. This position provides the opportunity to address a range of issues facing low-income communities, with a focus on housing. Our housing work focuses on preserving tenancies for low‐income and subsidized tenants in Contra Costa County. See below description of our current work environment due to COVID-19.
As a Staff Attorney, you will have the opportunity to:
- Provide full‐scope legal representation to low‐income tenants in unlawful detainer proceedings, including propounding and responding to discovery, conducting depositions, pre/post‐trial motions, trials and appeals;
- Represent tenants in administrative proceedings before the Contra Costa County Housing Authority and other agencies;
- Advocate for tenants on issues of fair housing, substandard conditions, and VAWA;
- Identify systemic problems that affect our clients’ rights and address these challenges through affirmative litigation and policy work;
- Staff clinics to conduct legal information sessions, provide pro per guidance, and assess for further services;
- Collaborate with the local and national tenant advocacy and consumer rights communities;
- Learn and assist with the diverse legal needs of underserved and vulnerable communities in Contra Costa County and broader Bay Area;
- Provide workshops and technical assistance to community partners and client community;
- Develop relationships and engage in collaboration with a range of public and private community partners, including governmental agencies, courts, and community-based organizations, to ensure integrative services and address systemic barriers facing BayLegal’s client community;
- Work with BayLegal’s development, grants and contracts, and communications team to promote BayLegal’s mission and resource development; and
- Engage in other tasks and projects that further the interest of furthering BayLegal’s mission and operations as a non‐profit.
COVID-19 remote work: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all BayLegal employees are currently working remotely from home. While BayLegal has implemented detailed health and safety protocols to minimize risk of exposure and have an evolving plan for reopening our local offices, we anticipate remaining primarily remote at least throughout the rest of 2020. All employees are expected to be able to primarily work remotely from home until BayLegal determines it is safe to reopen offices. All employees are issued BayLegal computers, provided with appropriate supplies and BayLegal covers reasonable work-related expenses. BayLegal has implemented and continues to explore additional technologies to make working remotely as efficient and connected as possible. All employees receive a flat-rate monthly amount to cover the use of personal IT equipment, including internet. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on personal lives, BayLegal is open to providing flexibility regarding work schedules and part-time or full-time employment to the extent feasible for the position.
Requirements/Qualifications/About the Successful Candidate:
- A commitment to fostering inclusivity and equity, as well as humility when working with clients and colleagues at the intersection of multiple identities, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, immigration status, religion, physical and mental disability, and/or limited English proficiency.
- Passion for and desire to work with low-income individuals;
- Member of CA Bar in good standing, or admitted to practice in another state and eligible to practice in California for 3 years under the California State Bar rules for the Registered Legal Services Attorney Program. Candidates who have recently passed the CA Bar or graduated and will be taking the bar exam at the next sitting are welcome to apply;
- Experience with government benefits programs preferred;
- Experience with impact litigation and/or policy advocacy preferred;
- Excellent communication, writing and public speaking skills;
- Strong community outreach and training skills;
- Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with a dynamic team;
- Curious and self-directed with an ability to take initiative; and
- Bilingual in Spanish preferred.
Compensation and Benefits: We offer a diverse, family friendly environment, and compensation based on competitive public interest salaries along with a generous benefits package. BayLegal’s benefits package includes 100% employer covered medical, dental, and life insurance for employees and up to 40‐50% for dependents; long term disability insurance; stipends for bilingual employees whose language skills are used in the provision of work tasks; student debt repayment program; dependent childcare employer contribution program and 401k retirement plan following first year. Paid leave policies include sick leave; parental leave; 14 holidays each year and vacation (starting at 13 days and increasing with additional years of employment).
Applications: BayLegal thrives on our diversity and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourage women, persons of color, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups to apply. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please email the following to our Human Resources Department email@example.com (1) cover letter including response to question below (no page limit), (2) resume, (3) references, and (4) writing sample. Please reference Contra Costa Staff Attorney in the subject of your email.
As part of your cover letter, please address the following:
BayLegal’s clients are low‐ and very low‐income members of our communities. They include people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, seniors, people with lived experiences of homelessness, veterans, people with disabilities, and people from other underrepresented groups. BayLegal is committed to enhancing the provision of our services to all clients, increasing positive client outcomes, and creating an inclusive and respectful workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. BayLegal promotes and supports policies that enable us to work effectively in cross‐cultural situations with our clients, coworkers, and the community.
How do you think your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to: (1) serve our diverse client base effectively, (2) work effectively with colleagues from different backgrounds than your own, (3) acknowledge the systemic barriers that our clients face, and (4) contribute to our efforts to fight for racial justice? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question, provide examples, and apply various aspects of your life and personal experiences.