Are you interested in using your legal skills to help address social inequality and ensure that low‐income families and individuals obtain the disability-based benefits to which they are entitled?
Join Bay Area Legal Aid’s dynamic Economic Justice practice!
Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) works with our clients to advocate for their legal rights and remove legal barriers to health, safety, and stability through representation, legal advice and information, referrals, community education, and advocacy for low-income individuals and families throughout seven Bay Area counties.
As a regional anti-poverty civil law firm that has been serving our local communities since the 1960s, we are committed to working alongside our clients and community partners to address inter-generational poverty and social inequality. We have built upon our origins as separate neighborhood legal services organizations into a regional non-profit law firm with over 150 employees. We practice in multiple legal substantive areas to help our clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. BayLegal works to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, increase economic stability, protect consumers, expand access to healthcare, and prevent homelessness. Our clients include the working poor, families with children, foster youth, seniors, immigrants, veterans, individuals impacted by the criminal and juvenile legal system and persons with disabilities. By serving clients at a wide range of access points, including our six regional county offices, mobile advocacy, community-based clinics and service sites, and nationally recognized legal hotlines, BayLegal has a unique viewpoint to identify patterns of illegal practices and barriers to our clients’ rights in need of broader advocacy and potential impact litigation. BayLegal strives to create equitable access to resources and services to build a foundation from which our clients can thrive.
BayLegal strives to address the immediate crisis an individual or family may be experiencing and the underlying and compounding legal issues that create barriers to long-term stability and opportunities. We believe that all people should be treated with respect and have the resources they need to meet their goals. To that end, we engage in civil legal representation, social work, community collaborations, and systemic advocacy, in partnership with the communities we serve.
BayLegal seeks an attorney with a strong commitment to the public interest and social justice advocacy to join our Economic Justice / SSI practice team in Alameda County. The COVID-19 public health and economic crisis has made civil legal services ever more critical to help individuals and families avoid homelessness and to provide opportunities for stability and self-sufficiency. This position provides the opportunity to address a range of issues facing low-income individuals, with a focus on economic justice and access to public benefits, including primarily eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).
This position is based in our Oakland office, and may require travel throughout Alameda County as necessary to best serve our clients. As a member of BayLegal’s regional practice, there may be travel within BayLegal’s broader service area for purposes of meeting with clients and as necessary for training and advocacy. See below for a description of our current work environment due to COVID-19.
As an Economic Justice Attorney, you will have the opportunity to:
- Learn and advocate for the diverse legal needs of communities affected by systemic and structural inequities in Alameda county and the broader Bay Area to reduce homelessness, enhance stability and address social injustice;
- Help to reduce homelessness, enhance economic and housing stability, and promote social justice;
- Represent clients in a range of public benefits matters, including primarily Social Security disability benefits, SSI and CAPI claims and appeals;
- Represent clients in all stages of administrative proceedings related to their public benefits claims, from initial applications through federal court.
- Assist clients with accessing other county, state, and federal benefit programs, as needed.
- Identify and employ impact advocacy strategies to remove systematic barriers to public benefits for client populations, including particularly vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees, survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities.
- Develop relationships and collaborate with community partners, including governmental agencies, and community-based organizations.
- Provide public benefits trainings to BayLegal staff and community partners.
- Work collaboratively with attorneys practicing in BayLegal’s other substantive areas.
- Engage in other tasks and projects that further BayLegal’s operations as a non-profit.
Requirements/Qualifications/About the Successful Candidate:
- Humility in working with colleagues and clients across the spectrum of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, immigrant status, religious identity, physical and mental disabilities, and/or limited English proficiency.
- Commitment and desire to work with low-income individuals;
- Member of CA Bar in good standing, or admitted to practice in another state and eligible to practice in California for 3 years under the California State Bar rules for the Registered Legal Services Attorney Program. Candidates who have recently passed the CA Bar or graduated and will be taking the bar exam at the next sitting are welcome to apply;
- Experience with government benefits programs preferred;
- Experience with impact litigation and/or policy advocacy preferred;
- Excellent communication, writing and public speaking skills;
- Strong community outreach and training skills;
- Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with a dynamic team; and
- Curious and self-directed with an ability to take initiative
Temporary COVID-19 remote work:
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all BayLegal employees are primarily working remotely. While BayLegal has implemented detailed health and safety protocols to minimize risk of exposure and has an evolving plan for reopening our local offices, we anticipate remaining primarily remote throughout much of 2021. All employees are expected to be available to travel to BayLegal offices and services locations as needed and in compliance with public health advisories. Employees are expected to reside in California and must be able to commute to the physical BayLegal base location or service delivery location within the San Francisco Bay Area.
While BayLegal remains primarily remote, all employees are issued BayLegal computers and provided appropriate supplies. BayLegal has implemented and continues to explore additional technologies to make working remotely as efficient and connected as possible. All employees receive a flat-rate monthly amount to reimburse for work-related use of personal IT equipment, including internet, and home. BayLegal is open to providing flexibility regarding work schedules and part-time or full-time employment to the extent feasible for the position.
Compensation and Benefits:
We offer a diverse, family friendly environment, and compensation based on competitive public interest salaries along with a generous benefits package. BayLegal’s benefits package includes 100% employer covered medical, dental, and life insurance for employees and up to 40‐50% for dependents; long term disability insurance; stipends for bilingual employees whose language skills are used in the provision of work tasks; student debt repayment program; dependent childcare employer contribution program and 401k retirement plan following first year. Paid leave policies include sick leave; parental leave; 14 holidays each year and vacation (starting at 13 days and increasing with additional years of employment). This is a union position (Bay Area Legal Aid Workers, “BALAW”), and the salary scale can be found on our website, at https://baylegal.org/get-involved/employment-opportunities/.
BayLegal thrives on our diversity and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourage women, LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) and QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals, veterans, individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system, persons with disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups to apply. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please send (1) cover letter including response to question below (no page limit), (2) resume, (3) references, and (4) writing sample to: Human Resources Department, email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please reference “Alameda County Economic Justice Staff Attorney” in the subject of your email.
As part of your cover letter, please address the following:
BayLegal’s clients are low‐income and very low‐income members of our communities. They include people of LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) and QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals, the working poor, seniors, people who are limited English proficient, veterans, persons with disabilities, survivors of abuse or exploitation, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, and people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and persons from other underrepresented groups. To ensure our organization is best serving these populations, BayLegal strives to promote an evolving set of behaviors and attitudes among staff, as well as policies that enable us to work effectively across cultures, with clients, with our coworkers, and with the community. We see this 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: (1) serve our diverse client base effectively, (2) work effectively with colleagues from different backgrounds than your own, (3) acknowledge the systemic barriers that our clients face, and (4) contribute to our efforts to fight for racial justice? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question, provide examples, and apply various aspects of your life and personal experiences.