Managing Housing Attorney - San Francisco, CA
“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 we’re solving this problem together. 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. We’ve grown 150x in 10 years and in the next 2 years, we hope to finish scaling across San Francisco. To achieve this 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 ensuring justice for all.
Overview of Position:
Housing has the attention of everyone in the country and especially the SF Bay Area. A safe and healthy home is a universal human need, yet it is consistently unrealized or threatened for those in poverty or those overlooked by our country’s racist systems. All San Francisco tenants have the rare right to receive free legal counsel to help ensure people who call this “cool gray city” home may continue to do so without constant fear of eviction, outrageous rent hikes, or unsafe living conditions. Open Door Legal provides holistic, trauma-informed housing services helping people access everything they need to feel safe and secure in their homes. Through our work we also deter bad actors who prioritize wealth from continuing to disenfranchise low-income San Franciscans.
We’re hiring a Managing Housing Attorney who will lead, manage, and direct Open Door Legal’s highly-effective Housing Team. Overall, this position is intended to be a challenging and rewarding experience for someone looking to grow in their substantive and strategic leadership and change lives along the way. You should approach problems with curiosity and enthusiasm. Your leadership is demonstrated in the quality of the people you’ve led AND the work you’ve produced together. Cultural humility is not just conceptual to you, you embody it and commit to growth. Success in this role requires grit, dynamism, teamwork, care, and passion (also our team’s five values). You will report directly to our Director of Legal Services
- Manage the largest department at Open Door Legal to ensure that we are continually pursuing our mission of universal access to legal services with housing-related legal needs. This includes the day-to-day supervision and support of our highly-effective and passionate housing attorneys (currently 6).
- Hire, train, support, and manage the performance of all housing department staff, interns, and volunteers in collaboration with the Director of Talent and Culture.
- Drive and implement the strategic vision for Open Door Legal’s housing cases and growth as a department to eventually cover the housing needs of the entire city of San Francisco.
- Develop and maintain public relations with government agencies, decision-makers, other legal aid organizations, and the community.
- Drive the creation of uniform systems, checklists, solutions, best practice protocols, and templates to increase the capacity of all team members to deliver consistently high-quality work products with minimal supervision, and ensure you and your team are following best practices.
- Lead the knowledge management of all areas of housing law for Open Door Legal. Drive the creation of uniform systems, checklists and templates. Along with housing team members, bring and develop innovative solutions to tricky issues around case capacity concerns, intake distribution, case opening standards, verification of quality control and onboarding new attorneys.
- Directly represent clients which may require court appearances. Ideally spending 20-30% of time on billable case work.
- Litigate affirmative housing cases in San Francisco Superior Court both solo and with pro bono attorneys as co-counsel.
- Collaborate and work cross-functionally with the Director of Legal Services and Development team to assist with program design, development, grant administration and funding.
- Meet with the other practice heads at least bi-monthly to collaborate and coordinate on meeting ODL’s mission.
- Provide and ensure your team is providing services and support to our low-income clients with sensitivity and awareness to cultural, socio-economic, and disability barriers to service and can skillfully navigate difficult or tense situations. Ensure that the housing department’s client feedback rating continues to be positive.
- Embrace and embody our values of teamwork, grit, caring, passion, and dynamism.
- 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.
- Minimum of practicing law for six (6) years.
- Must show experience directly supervising paid staff attorneys, and able to provide references from attorneys supervised.
- California housing law and superior court civil procedure knowledge.
- Must genuinely enjoy and be motivated by working with low-income clients, many of whom are people of color, and be able to work effectively with clients impacted by trauma (emotional, mental, and physical).
- Strong time management skills to effectively supervise and perform legal work in a fast-paced environment and high-volume practice.
- Show an enthusiasm for and commitment to self-learning and professional development.
- Excellent writing, editing, and proof-reading skills, with the ability to be detail-oriented.
- Excellent interpersonal and diplomacy skills to excel in providing constructive feedback to people you supervise, and in building relationships with other organizations and agencies as ODL's ambassador.
- High level of comfortability learning and using technology and case management systems. We use Salesforce, Dropbox, and the Google Suite.
- Must be willing to make a minimum two-year commitment to the organization.
- Experience practicing in San Francisco housing court representing tenants in unlawful detainer cases and filing affirmative housing cases in San Francisco.
- Jury trial experience.
- Experience representing clients living in subsidized housing (PHA, HUD, Housing Choice Vouchers).
- Experience working in a high-volume legal aid organization, public defender’s office or similar environment.
- Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper.
- Bilingual in Spanish.
- Bilingual in Cantonese.
Starting compensation is $90,000 to $106,000 per year 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
- 4 weeks of paid time off per year
- We care deeply about the mental and emotional fitness of our staff 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.
Applications received before September 22 will receive priority consideration.
Ideal starting date: October 2023
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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