Staff Attorney (Dependency/foster care)

Legal Services for Children
non-profit law firm providing free legal representation and social work services to children

The Dependency Staff Attorney, who is a part of the EDGE (Education, Dependency, Guardianship and Emancipation) Team, will be responsible for handling a caseload of child clients at all stages of juvenile dependency proceedings, as brought pursuant to Welfare & Institutions Code § 300. These cases involve allegations of parental abuse or neglect, and often involve domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues. This position requires membership in the Bar Association of San Francisco Dependency Panel; applicants who are not yet members will be mentored by an LSC attorney and work toward membership. The Dependency Staff Attorney may have a small caseload of cases in other EDGE Practice areas.

Representation includes client interviews, maintaining frequent client contact, responding to calls, texts, and electronic mails in a timely manner; conducting independent and ongoing investigations and continual assessment of the cases; preparing for and participating in all hearings; advocating on client’s behalf in hearings and various multi-disciplinary team meetings.


  • Take all necessary and appropriate legal steps to best represent children in dependency court in San Francisco, with a possible small caseload in guardianship, education, or emancipation cases. In addition to representing clients in dependency court, this may include addressing ancillary issues such as education issues, immigration issues, and qualification for government assistance as necessary to protect client’s interests.
  • Participate in frequent contested and non-contested appearances, pre-court staffings, hearings, and trials for parties in proceedings. These matters involve strict and fast paced timelines.
  • Engage in all aspects of trial practice, including lay witness and expert witness contact, performing legal research and writing, and subpoenaing witnesses determined to be relevant.
  • Create a strong trial level record and, when necessary, seek appellate relief from the decision of the Juvenile Court by preparing writs and notices of appeal.
  • Meet with and interview clients (in the office, court, or a place most convenient for the client).
  • Visit clients in their home, placement, and school to assess their placements as well as their physical and emotional well-being. This includes traveling outside San Francisco and occasionally to central and southern California.
  • Advise clients of their rights and explain the legal proceedings in a developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed way, help remove barriers to reunification or permanency, and empower clients to reach their identified goals.
  • Communicate with interested parties such as relatives, opposing counsel, service providers, court appointed special advocates, and social services personnel regarding placements, the case status and rights of clients.
  • Work collaboratively and meet regularly with multi-disciplinary teams, which may include in-house social workers and senior attorney mentors.
  • Communicate frequently with the Dependency Panel mentor or LSC Legal Director.
  • Participate in regular meetings with the Dependency and EDGE Teams and participate in program development and other program staff activities.
  • Participate in ongoing, intensive trainings to build knowledge of the law, trauma-informed lawyering, and courtroom skills, and develop a deeper understanding of dependency practice.
  • Perform general administrative duties related to representation, including maintaining electronic files and data entry of case information in the Juvenile Court Automated Tracking System (JCATS).
  • On occasion, make public appearances or presentations to assist in the advancement of issues benefiting clients.
  • On occasion, mentor law student interns.
  • Represent LSC in local coalitions and collaboratives as needed.


  • Current Bar Membership in good standing with 2-6 years of experience in legal practice (including a minimum of 1 year of litigation experience) required. Dependency experience strongly preferred. Experience in family law or representing youth preferred.
  • Fluency in Spanish preferred.
  • Lived experience with foster care or guardianship preferred.
  • Energy, optimism, and passion for serving children and youth.
  • Diversity of personal and professional experience.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and prioritize workload in a fast-paced environment.
  • Commitment to providing services with cultural humility and with an approach that values all individuals and respects differences regarding race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, immigration status, and record of arrest or conviction.

Salary scale is non-negotiable and is based on years of relevant experience as an attorney, ranging from $77,976 to $93,890 with guaranteed annual increases. Benefits include fully paid health insurance for employees and majority paid for child dependents (medical, dental, and vision), retirement contribution and generous paid leave (vacation, sick, holiday, and sabbatical). LSC also offers a flexible spending account for qualified health expenditures.
LSC has a “hybrid” model in which the employee can work a blend of field, home and office. This position is based in San Francisco and requires presence in the area with the ability to come to the office and other locations in the Bay Area.
This position is in a bargaining unit represented by IFPTE Local 20.

Please send cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to with “Dependency Staff Attorney” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please address the following in order for your application to be considered:

LSC’s clientele is extremely diverse, and the majority of our clients are low-income youth of color. To ensure that our agency is best serving these children, LSC strives to promote an evolving set of behaviors and attitudes amongst our staff, as well as policies that enable us to work effectively in all cross-cultural situations, with clients, with our coworkers, and with the community. We see this as a commitment to enhance the provision of our services to all clients; to raise the level of positive client outcomes; and to create an inclusive and respectful workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued. How do you think your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our commitment to cultural humility and diversity amongst our staff? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question.

Founded in 1975, Legal Services for Children (“LSC”) is one of the country’s first non-profit law firms dedicated to providing free legal representation and social work services to children. Our mission is to ensure that all children in the San Francisco Bay Area are raised in a safe environment with equal access to a meaningful education and other services that are necessary to thrive and grow. We believe that youth deserve positive alternatives to unnecessary placement in foster care, juvenile justice facilities, and immigration detention.

LSC started the interdisciplinary approach that is considered a best practice in juvenile law today. We deploy attorney-social worker teams to assist Bay Area children who need to access the legal system to stabilize or improve their lives. LSC’s attorneys represent children in legal matters that involve guardianship, dependency, school discipline, immigration, and other civil legal matters. Our social workers provide crisis intervention, case management, counseling, and psychosocial assessments. LSC staff also engage in policy and advocacy projects aimed at advancing the rights of children.

To promote social justice and best serve our clients, LSC is committed to maintaining a diverse staff and providing services with cultural humility. We are committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion and ensuring a workplace where staff can flourish and grow professionally, and well beyond. We strongly encourage candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups including People of Color and LGBTQ individuals to apply. Bilingual/bicultural candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.