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Staff Housing Attorney

Open Door Legal

Staff Housing Attorney

San Francisco, CA
Full Time
  • Responsibilities


    Open Door Legal is pioneering the country's first system of universal access to civil representation and working hard to make it a reality so that when everyone has access to the law, no one will feel the sting of poverty.

    We innovate, drive results, and create solutions for some of the most complex problems facing our community. As a Google Impact Challenge (2015) winner and recognized by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, we're growing and expanding our services across San Francisco, making this city the first in the country with universal access to civil legal representation, thus becoming a model for national replication.

    We're only going to achieve this if we continue hiring the best people. If you are extremely passionate, quixotic, ready to tackle tough problems, client-centered, and believe in continuous personal growth--we want to hear from you!

    We believe injustice is the heart of poverty and we invite you to join us in having a systemic impact on how we, as a society, ensure liberty and justice for all.


    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. You must thrive off appearing constantly in housing court at motion hearings, doing negotiations at mandatory settlement conferences and drafting responsive pleadings/motions.

    Overall, this position is intended to be an extremely challenging experience for someone looking to be a highly effective direct services attorney. You need to have experience appearing in a courtroom but you do not need San Francisco Housing UD knowledge, as we will train you. You will report directly to our Senior Housing Attorney.


    • Work collaboratively with our Senior Housing Attorney, Staff Housing Attorney and Housing Client Advocate to cover all unlawful detainer representation of tenants required by Prop F for clients eligible for Open Door Legal's services.
    • Own 30+ housing law cases simultaneously while being assisted by a paralegal and volunteers (75% of cases will likely be Unlawful Detainer cases).
    • Appear in San Francisco housing court representing tenants at settlement conferences and/or motion hearings approximately 2-3 times a week.
    • 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.
    • Draft emergency answer documents and motion pleadings for UD clients.
    • Perform housing law intakes across multiple physical Open Door Legal locations.
    • Train, mentor, and supervise pro bono attorneys and law students working on housing cases.
    • Provide services and support to our low-income clients with sensitivity and awareness to cultural, socio-economic, and disability differences.
    • Embrace and embody our mission of universal access to civil legal aid and ensure that everyone in our service area with a viable housing problem gets appropriate help, including legal representation.
    • 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
    • Must have at least a year of experience appearing in court.
    • 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 be culturally competent and sensitive to barriers low-income residents face when attempting to access the justice system.
    • Strong time management skills and the ability to organize time, manage diverse activities, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision.
    • Excellent writing, editing, and proof-reading skills, with the ability to be detail-oriented.
    • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively with a dynamic team.
    • Must be willing to make a two-year commitment to the organization.


    • Comfortable practicing, translating and interpreting in Cantonese/written Chinese.
    • Comfortable practicing, translating and interpreting in Spanish.
    • Knowledge of California housing law, especially defending unlawful detainers.
    • Experience practicing in San Francisco housing court representing tenants.
    • Knowledge of subsidized housing rules.
    • Experience working with low-income and vulnerable populations.
    • Experience working in a high-volume legal aid or similar environment.
    • Having lived a significant period of your life in San Francisco proper.



    • 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).
    • We offer competitive benefits:
      • Medical/Dental/Vision
      • Generous paid time off per year
      • Flexible work hours
      • Paid Parental Leave
      • Retirement
    • We believe everyone is always learning 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.