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Community Law Attorney

Open Door Legal

Open Door Legal

San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, May 18, 2024

Community Law Attorney - San Francisco, CA

Full-Time, Exempt, Hybrid (3 days in-person minimum)

About Us:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela

We believe that even the biggest problems can be broken down into small, achievable steps. Poverty and access to justice are part of the same problem. And to solve this, we just need to discover what the steps are. At Open Door Legal (ODL), we’re pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation to dramatically reduce poverty and prove that the law really can belong to all of us. To achieve this ambitious goal, we’ve created an award-winning and best-in-class legal aid organization full of passionate, motivated, gritty, thoughtful, and team-oriented people. We believe that injustice is the heart of poverty, and we're looking for someone to join us in having a systemic impact on how we, as a society, ensure justice for all.

Overview of Position:

We’re hiring a Community Law Staff Attorney to help us execute on our mission of universal access by providing legal services in a wide range of subject areas, including torts, consumer, bankruptcy, and special education. The United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t guarantee civil legal representation, and as a direct result, tens of billions of dollars in assets are expropriated from communities of color each year. We believe that individual representation can change lives and, at scale, be an extremely effective lever for social change, and this is intended to be a role for attorneys interested in solving challenges, learning new things, and making a huge difference in the lives of our neighbors.

You should work well in a fast-paced environment. Others describe you as versatile, gritty, and willing to take appropriate risks. Cultural humility is not just conceptual to you, you embody it and commit to growth. Your trauma-informed lawyering demonstrates how you see clients as whole people who are partners in achieving successful legal outcomes. This position would be good for any attorney who is ready to learn quickly, and willing to represent clients over a very wide variety of subject areas. Thriving in this role requires grit, dynamism, teamwork, care, and passion (our organization’s five values).

This position will report directly to the Managing Civil Litigation Attorney and support both the Civil Litigation and Employment Law (which includes Public Benefits) practice groups.


  • Embody our mission of universal access to civil legal aid and work with the team to make sure that the legal needs of all clients in our service area are met.
  • Own approximately 30 cases simultaneously while being assisted by other staff attorneys, paralegals, and volunteers.
  • Facilitate intakes across multiple physical Open Door Legal office locations.
  • Build knowledge of community resources and learn appropriate referrals for clients’ social service needs.
  • Litigate cases at San Francisco Superior Court in the Civil, & Small Claims Appeal departments. Potentially represent clients in the Northern District of CA in bankruptcy cases or other federal causes of action.
  • Represent clients in administrative proceedings at the Social Security Administration, Civil Rights Department, Department of Social Services, and others.
  • File, prepare, and ready clients for Small Claims proceedings.
  • Draft pleadings, propound and respond to discovery, and draft motions and briefs.
  • As part of a team, jump in and take intakes and cases in areas of law that are unfamiliar to you. Work quickly on challenging, intellectually interesting, and interpersonally difficult cases.
  • Help keep our knowledge base up to date and actively contribute to creating best practices.
  • Provide services and support to our low-income clients with sensitivity and awareness to cultural, socio-economic, and disability barriers to service and skillfully navigate difficult or tense situations. Ensure that the Litigation and Economic Justice department’s client feedback rating continues to be positive.
  • Embrace and embody our values of teamwork, grit, caring, passionate, and dynamic.


  • Membership in good standing with the California State Bar. Applicants without active California bar membership will not be considered. However, those without a license are encouraged to apply to volunteer with us at opendoorlegal.org/volunteer.
  • Strong time management skills and the ability to organize time, manage diverse activities, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision
  • Excellent writing, editing, research, and proofreading skills, with the ability to be detail-oriented.
  • Must genuinely enjoy and be motivated by working with low-income clients and be able to work competently with clients impacted by trauma (emotional, mental, and physical).
  • Must actively demonstrate cultural humility and sensitivity to barriers low-income residents face when attempting to access the justice system.
  • Have a high level of comfort learning and using technology and cloud-based case management systems. We use Salesforce, Dropbox, and Google Suite.
  • Embrace and embody our values of teamwork, grit, caring, passion, and dynamism.

Bonus Points:

  • Comfortable practicing, translating, and interpreting in Spanish and/or Cantonese (this comes with a slight compensation increase).
  • Experience appearing in court.
  • Knowledge of California and federal consumer laws, and civil suits.
  • Knowledge of employment law and/or public benefits
  • Experience appearing in San Francisco Superior Civil Court.
  • Experience working with low-income and vulnerable populations.
  • Experience working in a high-volume legal aid or similar environment.
  • Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper.

Starting compensation is $83,500 - $99,500 annually based on experience.


  • Loan Repayment Assistance - for staff pursuing 10-year public interest debt forgiveness, we will pay the minimum payment on all qualifying loans so that you don’t need to worry about student loan debt (this is a conditional benefit).
  • Medical/Dental/Vision Plan offerings at 100% coverage
  • Generous paid time off (four weeks vacation and two weeks sick/care)
  • We care deeply about our staff’s mental and emotional fitness and financially invest in staff who pursue ways to address this through a stipend.
  • Flexible work hours
  • Generous paid parental leave
  • 401K/Retirement Account
  • We believe everyone is always learning. We financially invest in professional development for each staff member and provide many internal and external mentorships, coaching, and learning opportunities (conferences, workshops, etc.).
  • We are a fun and hard-working office with best-in-class technology solutions for anyone who’s passionate about making a meaningful and measurable difference.

Apply here: https://open-door-legal.breezy.hr/p/11a581572903

Applications received before May 31 will receive priority consideration.

Ideal starting date: July 2024

Open Door legal is proud to be an Equal Opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual stereotypes, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or any other applicable legally protected characteristics. We also consider qualified applicants with criminal records, consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for candidates with disabilities in our recruiting process. If you need any assistance or accommodations due to a disability, please let us know at whitney [at] opendoorlegal [dot] org.

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