Staff Attorney

California Indian Legal Services

Job description

Staff Attorney- Northern Office (McKinleyville, CA) In person only

PROGRAM SUMMARY: California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low-income Native Americans on issues involving Federal Indian Law. CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian Tribes. CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure. CILS maintains four field offices throughout California – Northern Office (McKinleyville), Southern Office (Escondido), Eastern Office (Bishop) and Central Office (Sacramento). This position is based out of the Northern Office in McKinleyville. For additional information about CILS, check out:


JOB TYPE: Full-time, Exempt

LOCATION: In-person in the CILS Northern Office (McKinleyville, CA) with optional teleworking on Mondays and Fridays.

WAGE/SALARY: $71,210 – $88,500 (DOE) Potential $5,000.00 relocation incentive provided 6 months after relocating to the McKinleyville, CA area. CILS creates job position wage and salary ranges using data from California non-profit legal services annual data sources; employees are placed within a range depending on degrees, certifications, experience, qualifications, and other factors.

POSITION SUMMARY: Supervised by the Directing Attorney, the Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of Federal Indian law. Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment, and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Staff Attorney will assume a varied caseload that may include: brief counsel and services to low-income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; and making community presentations. The Staff Attorney will be expected to appear on behalf of tribal clients in state dependency actions where the ICWA is applicable. Staff Attorney client development responsibilities include developing and maintaining effective relationships with tribes and Indian organizations in the service territory, including all funding sources, and ensuring that the office pursues and secures meaningful opportunities to work with tribes, Indian organizations, and Indian individuals throughout the service territory. Client development includes all CILS funding sources (grants, contracts, donations, etc.). Staff Attorneys also collaborate with Directing Attorneys and the Legal Director for legal work management that includes Staff Attorney mentoring and supervision, assistance and administration of local legal work management systems, and grant and special project development and implementation, as directed by the Directing Attorney and/or the Legal Director.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: J.D. and California bar membership in good standing. Demonstrated knowledge of Federal Indian law with at least 1-3 years of experience practicing law. Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills. Strong work ethic and able to work nights and weekends when many tribal councils meet. Ability to travel overnight and a valid driver’s license. Solid understanding of Native Americans and Tribes in California. A commitment to providing high-quality legal services for Native Americans. Ability to work independently, as part of a team and to take initiative.

PREFERRD QUALIFICATIONS: Experience working with Native Americans, Tribes, or tribal communities. Prior legal services experience. Experience in dependency/child welfare law. Deep connection and commitment to the CILS mission and tribal communities.

BENEFITS: CILS offers a wide range of outstanding benefits and resources to eligible employees: Multiple high-quality and low-cost medical plans to choose from. CILS pays 100% for the employee and 90% for dependent premiums for its base Medical, Dental, and Vision insurance program. Eligible employees can choose higher-level plans and pay the difference via payroll deductions. Flexible Spending Accounts to set aside pretax dollars for eligible Medical/Dental, Dependent Care, and Public Transportation expenses. 403b retirement plan with employer match. 17 paid holidays annually, plus your birthday. Vacation time off begins at 13 days accrued per year. Sick Leave time off is set at 12 days per year. Paid leave for Jury Duty/witness, Election Day, Bereavement. Free professional development courses and learning opportunities for personal and professional growth. Employee Assistance Program, including access to free mental health services. Loan Repayment Assistance Program for eligible positions. Supplemental insurance offered, including additional life and disability coverage.

LOCATION: This position is in-person in the CILS Northern Office (McKinleyville, CA) with optional teleworking on Mondays and Fridays unless there is a business need to be in the office on those days.


TO APPLY: Submit a resume, cover letter, 3 professional references and a writing sample to Northern Field Office Directing Attorney Denise Bareilles via e-mail at We will accept applications until we fill the position, but CILS does not accept incomplete applications. Job Type: Full-time Pay: $71,210.00 – $88,500.00 per year Benefits: 401(k) matching Dental insurance Employee assistance program Flexible spending account Health insurance Life insurance Loan forgiveness Paid time off Relocation assistance Vision insurance   Schedule: 8 hour shift Monday to Friday   Application Question(s): This is an in person job. Will you be able to attend work in person at the office Monday – Friday?   License/Certification: California State Bar membership in good standing (Required)   Ability to Commute: McKinleyville, CA 95519 (Required)   Work Location: In person