Public Advocates is excited to be hiring a new Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney to join our Metropolitan Equity Team in our San Francisco office.  Our new hire will join a high-functioning team of attorneys and policy advocates, and their near-term focus area will be on housing justice and land use, with an emphasis on supporting local and regional campaigns in the Bay Area.

Our Metropolitan Equity Team has engaged in groundbreaking advocacy, coalition building and litigation to promote racial and economic justice in housing, transportation and the built environment for two decades.  We take a multi-disciplinary approach to increasing affordable homes in all communities, protecting tenants and communities facing displacement pressures, supporting public transportation that serves the needs of low-income people, winning socially just and environmentally sustainable development and funding infrastructure that meets the needs of historically disinvested communities.  We pursue integrated strategies for change — including coalition building, administrative and legislative advocacy, litigation and communications — at the local, regional, state and national levels in partnership with grassroots groups building the power of low-income communities of color.

Position Summary

Our new Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney will lead and support local and regional campaigns and coalitions to build community power and win racially and economically just housing policies and investments.  Key community priorities that this attorney is likely to work on include: ensuring equitable development and land use, winning community benefits, preserving existing housing as permanently affordable, increasing affordable housing funding, and expanding community ownership, community land trusts, and social housing.  Consistent with PA’s model, this team member will provide a full spectrum of services from legal analysis, to convening, to policy development and advocacy, and potentially (though less frequently) investigating and pursuing litigation or administrative enforcement actions.

We will hire a Staff or Senior Staff Attorney based on the experience level of the candidate who is the best overall fit for this position.  A Senior Staff Attorney would start off playing a larger role in bigger-picture strategy, working with more independence, and supervising junior staff; a Staff Attorney would be supported in their professional development to take on such responsibilities over time.


The successful candidate will likely have experience in some of these areas and will be on a growth trajectory in others.

Community Partnership & Coalition Building: Build and maintain positive relationships with diverse grassroots community partners, legal and policy groups and other allies; co-lead local and/or state coalitions engaged in multi-year policy campaigns and power building; leverage Public Advocates’ legal and policy expertise to enhance capacity of community partners
Policy Advocacy: Develop, analyze and promote policy change in an inclusive and collaborative way with Public Advocates’ community and coalition partners
Legal & Administrative Advocacy: Work on precedent-setting administrative advocacy before local, regional and state agencies; help to develop and pursue strategic litigation, working closely with senior Public Advocates attorneys and pro bono co-counsel; may have opportunities to initiate and manage litigation depending on experience
Communication: Develop and execute outreach and media strategies, including messaging, community education, writing and representing Public Advocates and coalitions to the press and public
Strategy: Help shape strategic direction of cases and projects that they are working on, incorporating policy advocacy, community collaboration, media and communication, and/or litigation to achieve our objectives

Two to ten years of relevant experience
CA Bar admission (or willingness to seek admission if relocating)
Strong written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively about legal and policy issues to legal and lay audiences
Ability to work both independently and to collaborate internally and with a diverse set of allies
Preference for candidates w/:Experience working with grassroots community and/or labor organizations and supporting community capacity-building and empowerment
Experience working on policy advocacy campaigns in collaborative settings and co-leading coalitions
Litigation experience
Spanish language fluency
Qualities expected of all Public Advocates staff include integrity, high professional standards, commitment to progressive social change and working successfully with diverse colleagues, clients and community partners.  This includes active participation in promoting healthy workplace culture through our organizational diversity and inclusion initiative – an ongoing and intensive process of communication, trust-building and learning about our individual and organizational areas for growth.  We strive to build a culture of cooperation and mutual support and value flexibility, resilience, optimism, curiosity and a sense of humor.

Compensation & Work Setting

The Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney would be based out of our downtown San Francisco office*.  Our office is located on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building, convenient to public transportation (we offer access to tax-advantaged commuter benefits).

Staff Attorneys w/at least two full years of post-graduate legal experience start at $82,500 based on a fixed step scale.  The salary range for Senior Staff Attorney begins at $87,000-$108,000.  It is not our practice to pay at the minimum end of the starting salary range and actual salary will be based on relevant experience and internal equity considerations.

Benefits include: 100% of premiums paid for health and dental insurance for the employee and eligible family members; flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care; life and long-term disability insurance; generous vacation and paid holiday schedule; employer contributions to the 403(b) retirement plan; professional development budget; and paid sabbatical after 7 years.

* Public Advocates has implemented a hybrid return-to-office work model which allows staff to continue working from home 3 days per week w/the other 2 days spent working in the office w/other colleagues.

Please note that Public Advocates adopted a COVID vaccination policy effective March 12, 2022 that requires all employees to either establish that they have been fully vaccinated and have received any booster dose(s) when eligible as recommended by the CDC or obtain an approved exemption as an accommodation.  All employees are expected to abide by this policy and any subsequent revisions.

Application Instructions

Applications welcome immediately; position open until filled.

To be considered, applications** must include: 1) a cover letter that a) explains your specific interest in this role and in our advocacy model, b) addresses how your identity and background have prepared you to be an effective advocate for social justice and c) describes a project or challenge you have managed that will help us understand your qualifications; and 2) a resume.  Candidates who advance in the process will be asked to submit a writing sample and references.  Please submit your application (and/or questions) by email to attorneysnrsahjsm@publicadvocates.org.

** Those applicants requiring an accommodation to complete the application and/or interview process should contact Human Resources at tgreco@publicadvocates.org for assistance.

To apply for this job email your details to attorneysnrsahjsm@publicadvocates.org

About Public Advocates

For nearly 50 years, Public Advocates Inc. has been at the forefront of social justice movements in California as a bold and highly regarded civil rights law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination.  We pride ourselves on skillfully deploying a diverse set of legal and policy tools to achieve tangible legal victories and help low-income communities of color build their power to participate effectively in public decision-making.

As a team member at Public Advocates, you get to be involved in meaningful social justice work, positively impacting people’s lives and building power for low-income communities. You also get to work with a brilliant, committed staff. Public Advocates has a track record of caring for staff. Aside from well thought out policies and procedures, we provide comprehensive benefits, competitive salaries, opportunities for self-care and fun activities while working in a professional, collegial atmosphere. Our values are reflected in our mission, vision, and commitment to diversity.

At Public Advocates, we’re always looking for great people to work with committed to fostering a diverse staff and diversity in the legal profession and we seek to fill these positions with someone who shares our values, including our organizational commitment to diversity.* We value diversity in our workplace, including people of color, women, people with disabilities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.

Public Advocates reflects the rich diversity of California.  Two-thirds of our Board members and 60% of our employees are people of color.  Our senior leadership team also reflects our commitment to diversity.  Four of six members — including our President & CEO — are people of color, and three of seven members are women. We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category.