Staff Attorney- Community Development Project (Street Vending)
ABOUT PUBLIC COUNSEL
Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.
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 150. We are committed to building a diverse staff 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 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.
Since 2011, CDP has worked directly with low-income street vendors and community based organizations working with street vendors to advance economic inclusion and opportunity. Our work has contributed to groundbreaking policy victories, such as Senate Bills 946 and 972, which decriminalized street vending, established standards for local regulations across California, and updated the state’s retail food code to make it easier for food vendors to obtain health permits, as well as the legalization of street vending in Los Angeles and other cities across L.A. County. We have also provided trainings, seminars, and legal clinics to help vendors understand their rights, navigate permitting procedures, and address citations.
The Staff Attorney must be passionate about achieving justice and overcoming barriers facing low-income communities and communities of color, a creative and zealous lawyer and a team-player, and committed to achieving lasting results through a movement lawyering model. The Staff Attorney will be responsible for providing legal assistance to low-income street vendors, providing technical assistance on local vending ordinances to ensure compliance with state law, advancing and supporting inclusive vending policies, and participating in state and local vending coalitions. Specifically, the Staff Attorney will:
- Provide legal assistance to street vendors in a variety of areas, including choice of entity, incorporation and corporate compliance, permitting and licensing requirements, lease negotiation, and contract drafting and negotiation. The Staff Attorney will provide these services directly and in partnership with pro bono attorneys;
- Provide legal assistance to community-based organizations and coalitions of community-based organizations on campaigns to advance inclusive vending and economic justice policies; partnering with community organizers and community-based organizations to create popular education curriculum to demystify complex laws and policies; drafting advocacy materials, legal memos, and model legislation; representing community groups in meetings with state and local officials; and engaging in impact litigation;
- Coordinate legal clinics for street vendors, including outreach and recruiting volunteer attorneys;
- Create and deliver educational programming and substantive legal trainings to clients, community-based organizations, and pro bono attorneys;
- Identify systemic barriers to economic justice and inequities that impact low income communities and communities of color, and work within coalitions to develop strategies to remove such barriers and inequities;
- Conduct outreach and client intakes, and act as a spokesperson on significant community development issues affecting street vendors, including with the media;
- Identify and pursue opportunities for collaboration and coalition-building in furtherance of CDP’s mission;
- Represent the Community Development Project on panels and engage in other public facing dialogue to elevate client priorities and campaigns;
- Contribute to the team and organization as a whole by taking part in organization-wide activities, including integrating diversity, equity and inclusion policies into our work and workplace;
- Support the Open Air Economy Collaborative, a coalition of community based organizations and service providers working together to support Black and Latina street vendors across L.A. County, as needed; and
- Other duties as assigned.
ESSENTIAL JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- At least 1 year of legal experience relevant to low-income entrepreneurship—for example, supporting street vendors, micro-entrepreneurs, and small businesses in areas such as municipal law, corporate law, commercial leasing and real estate, contracts, and general counsel legal needs;
- Must be a member in good standing of the State Bar of California;
- Experience working with low-income, diverse ethnic groups, and non-English speaking clients, including undocumented communities and/or street vendors;
- Experience working with coalitions of community-based organizations preferred;
- Policy advocacy experience preferred;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well as part of a team;
- Strong commitment to trauma-informed advocacy, economic, racial, and social justice and community lawyering;
- Ability to quickly and efficiently assess matters, provide competent advice, and assist clients with their urgent legal needs;
- Demonstrated experience as a self-starter, with a history of independently managing multiple projects preferred.
JOB TYPE AND BENEFITS
- Full-Time, Exempt position
- Salary Range: The salary range for this position, $65,000 – $68,725, is commensurate with 0-3 years of experience.
- Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including:
- Medical, dental, and vision coverage with both HMO and PPO options,
- The option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account,
- A 403(b) retirement plan with elective contribution and a discretionary employer contribution after a year of employment, and
- Employer-paid life insurance and disability plans
- Generous paid time off and compensatory time up to 40 hours per calendar year
- On-site parking or public transportation reimbursement available
HOW TO APPLY
We value lived experiences and experiences working with clients across a range of settings. Please consider discussing such experiences in your cover letter, especially if they are not reflected in your resume.
PUBLIC COUNSEL VACCINATION POLICY AND COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
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 generally office-based, but remote work has been permitted during the pandemic. All employees with Public Counsel are required to work in the office at least one day per week, at the discretion of the head of department. This policy is subject to redesign by leadership. Public Counsel will work in a manner consistent with public health and local and state emergency orders.
PUBLIC COUNSEL EEO POLICY
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.