The San Francisco SPCA is one of the oldest humane societies in the country and it has been serving San Francisco animals since 1868. Through its Advocacy Department, the SF SPCA has extended its influence beyond the Bay Area by providing free legal services to California shelters interested in increasing their ability to serve animals in their communities. The SPCA has also been active in lobbying in support of legislation that improves the lives of pets all over the state. Examples include the prohibition of using gas chambers to kill cats and dogs, consideration of a pet’s care during and after divorce proceedings, and the recent victory of expanding veterinary telemedicine to pets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SF SPCA’s Shelter Policy and Legal Services (“Shelter PALS”) program represents the country’s first and only legal aid department dedicated exclusively to the needs animal shelters – and it is looking for a full-time staff attorney who will work solely for this program. This is now offering a unique opportunity that will make it possible for an attorney to use their legal research and advocacy skills to save companion animals throughout California. Shelter PALS leverages the expertise of the best minds in animal welfare and counsels animal shelters on a range of topics including lifesaving measures for dogs and cats, best practices for animal welfare in shelters, animal cruelty consultation, and the various contractual and legal issues that come up when running a shelter. By providing shelters with high-quality advice on a pro bono basis, the Shelter PALS program reduces the lack of expertise and resources in this area that often result in poor outcomes for shelter animals. As Animal Welfare Advocacy Counsel, you will work closely with Shelter PALS Lead Counsel to staff and operate the program.
- Researches legal issues which affect animal welfare in our community, advises the CEO and Lead Counsel with respect to potential strategies and activities.
- Assists in development of legal strategy and actions to increase access to care for companion animals throughout the state, and greater protection for California’s companion animals.
- Provides litigation support for SF SPCA advocacy and corporate work: support ongoing and develop new litigation and other legal interventions for the Society’s advocacy function.
- Monitors legislative and regulatory changes, and suggests positions for the Society on such matters.
- Works with other organizations in developing new animal-friendly bills and rules.
- Helps the Society react to animal welfare issues that may suddenly arise.
- Works to achieve organizational Strategic Plan metrics and defend Strategic Plan victories.
- Advises the CEO, as well as other staff, departments, and external stakeholders, on campaigns, legislation, litigation, and specialized areas of law.
- Facilitates public education by organizing public seminars, webinars, workshops and other outreach efforts and speaking at conferences and other events.
- J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school.
- Admitted to at least one state bar, California preferred.
- Minimum of 2 to 3 years of legal experience.
- Experience and demonstrated interest in animal welfare issues.
Compensation, Benefits, & Values:
We strongly prefer a California-based attorney, but this position can be largely remote. The starting salary for this position depends on the length and breadth of experience. Full-time employees are eligible for a full benefits package including: paid time off, low cost medical, dental & vision insurance, life insurance, 401k + matching, pre-tax commute expense deductions, free parking on campus, employee assistance program, discounted veterinary care and retail, plus all the animal cuddles you can handle.
The San Francisco SPCA welcomes everyone! Diversity brings innovative ideas, perspectives, and opinions. We consider our differences to be valuable assets that will help us continually strive to be better at what we do and to advance our mission.