Are you interested in using your legal skills to help address the economic and public health crisis, prevent homelessness, address social inequality and discrimination, and help ensure low-income families maintain stability and remain in Santa Clara County?
Join BayLegal’s dynamic Economic Justice Practice!
Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is on the front lines fighting for our clients’ rights. Last year, BayLegal removed 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 justice system and persons with disabilities. By serving clients at a wide range of access points, including our six regional county offices, our mobile advocacy clinics, and our 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 seeks an attorney with a strong commitment to public interest and social justice advocacy to join our Santa Clara County office. This position involves stabilizing health, preventing loss of housing, and addressing inequality by helping low-income residents of Silicon Valley get or maintain income supports through access to public benefits programs, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, General Assistance, and eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI). In this position you have the opportunity to help further equity and economic justice in our communities by addressing a range of issues facing low-income individuals in accessing programs, including individual and systemic barriers. This position is based in our San José office, employees are working primarily remotely through 2021. Some travel may be required for hearings and to all parts of the county as necessary to best serve our low-income clients. See our temporary COVID-19 Remote Work description below. This is a temporary position and is expected to last 12 months.
As an Economic Justice Staff Attorney, you will have the opportunity to:
- Learn and assist with the diverse legal needs of low-income communities in the Bay Area to help reduce homelessness, enhance stability, and address social injustice.
- Represent clients in a range of public benefits matters, including in CalWORKs, CalFresh, General Assistance, Social Security disability benefits, SSI and CAPI claims and appeals.
- Represent clients in all stages of administrative proceedings related to their public benefits claims.
- Assist clients with accessing other 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, homeless individuals, and people with disabilities.
- Provide workshops and technical assistance to community partners and client community on public benefits.
- Engage and develop new relationships and collaborations with a range of public and private community partners, including governmental agencies, and community-based organizations, to ensure integrative services and address systemic barriers facing BayLegal’s client community.
- Work with BayLegal’s development, grants and contracts, and communications team to promote BayLegal’s mission and resource development.
- Engage in other tasks and projects that further the interest of furthering BayLegal’s mission and 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.
- 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 preferred. Candidates who have recently passed the CA Bar or graduated and are eligible for provisional licensure may be considered. Non-attorney applicants with significant experience in representing individuals in public benefits administrative proceedings may be considered.
- Experience with government benefits programs preferred.
- Strong personal work ethic and ability to organize time, manage diverse activities, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision.
- Excellent writing, editing, and proof-reading skills, with ability to be detail oriented.
- Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with a dynamic team.
- Curious and self-directed with an ability to anticipate what needs to be done.
- Ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects while maintaining a firm grasp of individual project details.
- Candidates with bilingual ability in Spanish, Vietnamese, or another client language are highly encouraged to apply.
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 must reside in California and 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. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on personal lives, 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 paid holidays and sick leave.
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. Please reference Santa Clara Econ Justice 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 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 and exploitation, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, and people who are experiencing or at risk of homeless, 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 amongst our 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 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 experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to serve our diverse client base effectively, work effectively with colleagues from different backgrounds than your own, and to contribute to our commitment to humility, inclusion, and diversity? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this question, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences.