Public Counsel is the largest pro bono public interest law firm in the country. Founded in 1970, it is dedicated to advancing equal justice under law and addressing economic, racial, social, and other inequities by delivering free legal and social services to the most vulnerable members of our community. Public Counsel operates eight legal projects: Children’s Rights, Community Development, Consumer Rights & Economic Justice, Homelessness Prevention, Immigrants’ Rights, Veterans’ Rights, the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights, and our impact litigation project, Opportunity Under Law.
Public Counsel has a full-time staff of over 130. We are committed to building a diverse staff and inclusive culture and encourage applications from people of color, people with disabilities, and people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexualities.
Public Counsel’s Community Development Project (CDP) strives to build healthy, inclusive, economically stable communities through the delivery of pro bono legal services to community-based coalitions, nonprofits and small businesses in Los Angeles County. CDP provides transactional legal services to nonprofits that assist lower income people and neighborhoods and to qualifying entrepreneurs that meet our income requirements. CDP also supports community led advocacy groups and community based organizations in their efforts to advance racial and economic justice and build power in low-income communities and communities of color.
Public Counsel is currently accepting applications for the position of Staff Attorney to support our small business work. Since 1994, Public Counsel has provided legal support for small businesses in our communities because of the important role they play in offering pathways to financial independence and economic justice. Now, even as the broader economy starts to recover, the small businesses we work with—businesses which contribute to the cultural vibrancy and diversity that Los Angeles is known for—are facing inordinate challenges. Ours are the smallest of small businesses, and disproportionately owned by people of color.
The Staff Attorney will be responsible for providing legal assistance to low-income small business owners both directly and through recruitment and supervision of volunteer attorneys from the private bar. The Staff Attorney is also responsible for creating and delivering educational programming and substantive legal trainings to clients, community-based organizations, and pro bono attorneys. With the assistance of pro bonos as necessary, this may include assistance with commercial leasing matters, such as re-negotiating small business leases, pre-litigation settlement of matters related to COVID rent debt and/or lease termination, responding to unlawful detainer and breach of contract lawsuits related to COVID rent debt, contract drafting and negotiation, choice of entity, incorporation and corporate compliance, pre-bankruptcy counseling, employment, and intellectual property. The bulk of the Staff Attorney’s time will be spent on providing direct services to small business owners.
The Staff Attorney is also responsible for conducting outreach and client intakes, and acting as a spokesperson on significant community development issues.
Further, the Staff Attorney will help maintain and expand partnerships with community-based organizations and communities in Los Angeles that have historically been left out of relief efforts.
PREFERRED JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES
J.D. and California Bar membership required. Ideal candidate will demonstrate strong leadership skills, be a self-starter, and communicate effective orally and in writing. Specifically, the candidate must have the following skills and abilities, among others:
- At least 5 years of legal experience relevant to small businesses—for example, supporting businesses in areas such as corporate, commercial leasing and real estate, contracts, and general counsel legal needs. Experience with the following is a plus but not required: unlawful detainer proceedings, bankruptcy, and policy advocacy.
- Ability to quickly and efficiently assess matters, provide competent advice, and assist clients with their urgent legal needs;
- Thrives in a fast-paced environment; willingness to learn and develop expertise as needed to assist clients;
- Demonstrated ability to function professionally and effectively within a highly stressful environment;
- Exhibits a spirit of collaboration, and a team player that identifies gaps and takes initiative to fill them;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Demonstrated commitment to race equity and economic justice;
- Experience working with low-income, diverse ethnic groups, and non-English speaking clients;
- Understanding of the needs of small businesses in Los Angeles County and/or experience supporting the Los Angeles small business sector;
- Understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities;
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community;
- Willingness to work beyond a minimum of 8 hour workday, including evening and weekend meetings and events, and workweeks in excess of 40 hours when caseload or other obligations so necessitate;
- Demonstrated experience as a self-starter, with a history of independently managing multiple projects preferred.
- Fluency in a language representative of underserved small businesses in Los Angeles County is a plus.
START DATE AND COMPENSATION
This position is available immediately. The Staff Attorney position is a full-time, exempt position; it is part of a special program using designated funds, and is time restricted between twelve and eighteen months unless additional funding is obtained. Salary is commensurate with abilities and experience and starts at $70,000.
Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including: (1) medical, dental, and vision coverage with both HMO and PPO options, (2) the option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account, (3) a 403(b) retirement plan with elective contribution and an employer contribution after a year of employment, and (4) employer-paid life insurance and disability plans.
Public Counsel follows all emergency state and local orders arising from the current COVID-19 crisis. Though generally this position is office-based, currently all staff must work remotely from their homes. Public Counsel will assess when the physical office will reopen in a manner consistent with public health and local and state emergency orders.
Continuous until position is filled.
We value lived experiences, cultural competency, and experiences working with traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups across a range of settings. Please discuss such experiences in your cover letter, especially if they are not reflected in your resume. Click on this link to apply: https://recruiting.paylocity.com/recruiting/jobs/Details/859019/Public-Counsel/STAFF-ATTORNEY-MID-LEVEL—COMMUNITY-DEVELOPMENT
No phone calls please.
Public Counsel requires vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees, including new hires. Pursuant to federal and state laws, Public Counsel will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.
Public Counsel is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of union membership or activity, race, religious creed, religious observance, ethnicity, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or predisposition, military service, military and veteran status, pregnancy, child birth and related medical conditions, marital and family status, national origin, ancestry, age, medical conditions as defined by state or federal law, or disability, or any other basis prohibited by law.
All qualified applicants with criminal histories will be considered in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.
Our leadership team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities discipline, discharge and general treatment during employment.