Staff Attorney: Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project

ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND

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 seek to have a racially inclusive staff.

Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project is one of the oldest projects within Public Counsel. Our mission is to advance economic justice by providing legal counsel for, and advocacy on behalf of, low-income individuals and their families, addressing inequalities in bargaining power, opposing those who take advantage of the vulnerable, and holding wrongdoers accountable.

A few of our current cases include the following:

  1. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) (real estate fraud)

We have filed two class actions involving the “PACE” program, which advertises the ability to finance energy efficient home improvements through a “government program.” Our putative classes include thousands of low-income homeowners at risk of losing their homes because they cannot afford PACE financing made with no consumer protections. The cases are currently pending in LA Superior Court in the Complex Department.

 

  1. In re Bail Litigation (bail reform, price-fixing and collusion in the bail industry)

We are co-counsel in a federal anti-trust case against the bail industry in California, as represented by the bail sureties and some of the largest bail bond storefront companies. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

 

  1. Puente v. City of Phoenix et al., (constitutional rights of anti-Trump protesters)

              We are co-counsel in a federal lawsuit that has been certified as a class action on behalf of at least 6,000 anti-Trump protesters who were violently dispersed without warning by the Phoenix Police Department in violation of their First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. The case is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.

 

  1. Sampson v. City of Los Angeles et al., (unconstitutional property seizures)

We are litigating a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a low-income, elderly woman with disabilities who lost her home to the City’s nuisance abatement program. The lawsuit alleges that the City forces the sale of homes to collect exorbitant fines and fees against individuals the City knows to be indigent, without adequate notice or determination that these individuals can afford to pay the fines and fees. The case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

 

  1. Rodriguez v. City of Los Angeles (connecting persons served with gang injunctions with jobs and education benefits)

We are currently in the implementation phase of a settlement agreement with the City of Los Angeles that resulted in the creation of a $30,000,000 Jobs and Education program for class members subject to an unconstitutional gang injunction.

 

  1. Morrissey v. City of Los Angeles, et al., (unconstitutional towing practices)

We have filed an administrative claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit on behalf of a low-income elderly cancer patient whose car was ticketed, towed, and later sold by the City. Both through policy and litigation, we aim to reform towing practices in the City.

 

  1. Criminal Justice Debt (potential cases)

We are investigating potential litigation regarding numerous aspects of the interaction between debt and the criminal justice system, including unconstitutional property seizures by local governments, money bail, fines and fees, and disproportionate policing of people of color.

 

JOB SUMMARY

The Staff Attorney position is for a mid-career level attorney (at least three years) with litigation experience either in practice or a clerkship, who will join the Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project’s Director, three staff attorneys, one contract attorney, two paralegal/ legal assistants, and a variety of volunteer attorneys. The Staff Attorney’s main responsibility will be to join the teams litigating the Project’s complex federal and state cases, handle intakes, and litigate or support pro bono attorneys litigating smaller individual cases. The Staff Attorney will also work with attorneys in other Public Counsel projects on litigation involving housing, homelessness, community development, and women’s issues, among others.

The Staff Attorney will also participate in legal clinics that we conduct in the community, undertake outreach, prepare self-help and educational materials, participate in lobbying activities, draft amicus briefs and comment letters, network with other advocates, and provide trainings and information to the public as well as other consumer and civil rights attorneys. Our work focuses both on issues within the State of California and nationally.

 

ESSENTIAL JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Spanish-language fluency strongly preferred;
  • Demonstrated ability to litigate independently and under pressure, preferably in a civil rights or public interest context;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well as part of a team;
  • Three to ten years of litigation experience preferred, including some experience in public interest cases;
  • Admission to California Bar;
  • Comfort working with low-income, racially diverse, and non-English speaking clients;
  • A commitment to economic, racial, and social justice;
  • Driver’s license and access to a car.

 

START DATE AND COMPENSATION

This position is available beginning immediately.  The Staff Attorney is a full-time, exempt position.  Salary is commensurate with abilities and experience.  Excellent benefits.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Continuous until position is filled.

 

TO APPLY
Please send a cover letter and resume to:
Cindy Pánuco

Director, Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project
Public Counsel
610 South Ardmore Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90005
Email:  clpjob@publiccounsel.org

 

No phone calls please.

Public Counsel is an Equal Opportunity Employer

All qualified applicants shall receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic group identification, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, political affiliation, condition of physical or mental disability, gender identity or sexual orientation, in accordance with requirements of Federal and State laws.

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.

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