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

Housing has the attention of everyone in the Bay Area. A safe and healthy home is a universal human right, yet it is consistently unrealized or threatened for those in poverty. San Francisco tenants have the rare right to receive free legal counsel. As a staff attorney, you will play a key role in maintaining and implementing that right. You will work with the entire housing team and collaboratively with your clients to help ensure and keep safe and healthy homes for local, low-income, San Francisco residents. Your role will include proactively reaching out to the community. Through this you will get the pulse of the community specific issues and being the key to ensuring community centered advocacy and legal education.

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 a new 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 Housing Attorney.


  • Embody our mission of universal access to civil legal aid and work with the team to make sure that the civil litigation needs of all clients in our service area are met.
  • Own 30+ open housing law cases simultaneously while being assisted by a paralegal and volunteers.
  • Facilitate housing and brief service intakes across multiple physical Open Door Legal office locations and virtually.
  • Maintain communications with SFHA through bi-weekly meeting
  • Attend community facilitated information sessions and outreach events
  • Facilitate and maintain ODL clinics that increase the capacity of our legal advocacy
  • As necessary, represent clients at rent board hearings, SFHA administrative hearings, grievance hearings with subsidized housing providers, mediations with the Conflict Intervention Service, and DFEH mediations to improve clients’ living conditions.
  • 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.
  • Train, mentor, and supervise pro bono attorneys, law students, volunteers and fellows working on housing cases (eventually).
  • Provide services and support to our low-income clients with sensitivity and awareness to cultural, socio-economic, and disability differences. Keep a high rating in the client feedback survey.
  • 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.
  • To meet the needs of our client we are looking for an attorney willing to work a flexible schedule to include evenings and weekends.
  • Strong time management skills and the ability to organize time, manage diverse activities, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision
  • Experience in the community organizing space.
  • 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.
  • Must be willing to make a minimum two-year commitment to the organization.

Bonus Points:

  • Comfortable practicing, translating and interpreting in Spanish and/or Cantonese (this comes with a slight compensation increase).
  • Experience working with low-income and vulnerable populations.
  • Experience working in a high-volume legal aid, doing community organizing or outreach.
  • Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper, and specifically, a connection to the Western Addition neighborhood.

Starting compensation is $75,000 - $89,000 annually based on experience.


  • Strong organizational culture with an eNPS of 100
  • Generous paid time off per year
  • 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
  • Flexible work hours
  • Generous paid parental leave
  • 401K/Retirement Account
  • We believe everyone is always learning. We write individual learning plans 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 (including Salesforce) for anyone who's passionate about making a meaningful and measurable difference.

Applications received before December 10, 2021 will receive priority consideration.

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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