ABOUT PUBLIC COUNSEL
Public Counsel is the largest pro bono public interest law firm in the country. Founded in 1970, it is dedicated to advancing equal justice under law and addressing economic, racial, social, and other inequities by delivering free legal and social services to the most vulnerable members of our community. Public Counsel operates eight legal projects: Children’s Rights, Community Development, Consumer Rights & Economic Justice, Homelessness Prevention, Immigrants’ Rights, Veterans’ Rights, the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights, and our impact litigation project, Opportunity Under Law.
Public Counsel has a full-time staff of over 150. We are committed to building a diverse staff and encourage applications from people of color, people with disabilities, and people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexualities.
ABOUT HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION LAW PROJECT
Public Counsel’s Homelessness Prevention Law Project (HPLP) serves individuals who are at high risk of becoming homeless or are currently unhoused. HPLP assists unrepresented low-income litigants in unlawful detainer (eviction) actions, and provides pre-litigation counsel and advice to tenants who are involved in a landlord-tenant dispute. HPLP also provides pro bono representation to homeless individuals and families to help remove legal barriers to obtaining permanent housing. In addition, we run several community clinics to connect low-income Angelenos with free legal advice, and provide educational workshops in collaboration with community-based organizations.
In addition to our homelessness prevention and anti-displacement efforts, our recent work includes:
- Supporting local tenants in their successful efforts to obtain and preserve COVID-related eviction protections;
- Working with community-based organizations to provide know-your-rights presentations and workshops to tenants on new and constantly-changing housing laws;
- Teaming up with other non-profit legal services providers, tenant organizers and community-based organizations throughout Los Angeles County to push forward the implementation of a Right to Counsel for all tenants in eviction proceedings.
HPLP’s “StayHousedLA” program, which provides eviction defense and pre-litigation counseling to low-income tenants in LA County. In response to the COVID-19 Crisis, various federal, state and local funds have been dedicated to funding eviction defense efforts; the StayHousedLA program at Public Counsel is funded by county government, and is a partnership with nine other legal services organizations and over twenty community-based organizations. The StayHousedLA program seeks to prevent homelessness by providing legal services to tenants who are at risk of eviction and displacement.
Reporting to the Supervising Staff Attorney, the Eviction Defense Fellow is a one-year, full-time position, based primarily at Public Counsel’s main office at 610 S. Ardmore. The Eviction Defense Fellow will be part of a team under Public Counsel’s “StayHousedLA” program. The Fellow will provide eviction defense, pro per document preparation, and tenant counseling services, under the supervision of the Supervising Staff Attorney.
At the conclusion of the one-year fellowship, if the fellow has become a licensed California attorney during the fellowship, the fellow could be hired for a permanent staff attorney position. The staff attorney positions are created with designated funds and are contingent on ongoing funding for the program.
This is a full-time position that will involve court appearances (with supervision), drafting and filing pleadings, meeting with clients and community partners, and presenting at workshops and trainings for tenants. The position has the following responsibilities:
- Carry a personal caseload litigating unlawful detainer (eviction) cases which includes: client interviews; drafting pleadings, motions, discovery, briefs, and correspondence; negotiating with outside parties; representing clients in court and conducting jury trials, all under the supervision of a licensed attorney;
- Provide legal counsel and advice and limited-scope representation to low-income individuals regarding evictions and related housing matters;
- Provide individual tenant counseling services to tenants in pre-litigation matters, related to the unlawful detainer process and tenants’ rights;
- Participate in community outreach, including preparing and presenting Know Your Rights trainings, and staffing community legal clinics;
- Assist with grant reporting, billing, and outcome tracking for housing work; and,
- Other duties as required by the development of our community lawyering efforts.
- Other duties as assigned.
ESSENTIAL JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- Awaiting results from the February 2023 California Bar Exam, or registered for the July 2023 California State Bar Exam; (if registered for the July 2023 Bar Exam, position would begin in August 2023)
- Demonstrated commitment to serving the needs of low-income people;
- Knowledge of landlord-tenant, housing law, and the eviction process preferred;
- Excellent writing and public speaking skills;
- Desire to learn as well as share knowledge with other team members;
- Work well as part of a team, but also be able to work independently with minimal to moderate supervision.
- Comfort with trauma-informed legal advocacy: empathy, responsive listening, restraint from judgment, and demonstration of authentic care and concern;
- Excellent attention to detail, as well as time management and communication skills;
- Ability to commute throughout Los Angeles County if needed.
JOB TYPE AND BENEFITS
- Full-time, Exempt position
- The starting salary is $65,000
- Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including:
- Medical, dental, and vision coverage with both HMO and PPO options,
- The option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account,
- A 403(b) retirement plan with elective contribution and a discretionary employer contribution after a year of employment, and
- Employer-paid life insurance and disability plans.
- Generous paid time off and compensatory time up to 40 hours per calendar year
- Transit benefits
We value lived experiences and experiences working with clients across a range of settings. Please consider discussing such experiences in your cover letter, especially if they are not reflected in your resume.
PUBLIC COUNSEL VACCINATION POLICY AND COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
Public Counsel requires vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees, including new hires. Pursuant to federal and state laws, Public Counsel will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.
Public Counsel is generally office-based, but remote work has been permitted during the pandemic. All employees with Public Counsel are required to work in the office at least one day per week, at the discretion of the head of department. This policy is subject to redesign by leadership. Public Counsel will work in a manner consistent with public health and local and state emergency orders.
PUBLIC COUNSEL EEO POLICY
Public Counsel is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of union membership or activity, race, religious creed, religious observance, ethnicity, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or predisposition, military service, military and veteran status, pregnancy, child birth and related medical conditions, marital and family status, national origin, ancestry, age, medical conditions as defined by state or federal law, or disability, or any other basis prohibited by law.
All qualified applicants with criminal histories will be considered in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.
Our leadership team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities discipline, discharge and general treatment during employment.