ABOUT PUBLIC COUNSEL
Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.
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 OPPORTUNITY UNDER LAW
Opportunity Under Law (OUL) was formed in 2014 to expand Public Counsel’s longstanding economic justice and impact litigation practice. OUL combats economic and racial injustice in all its forms through community-based, strategic campaigns combining impact litigation, organizing, and communications. These campaigns affect large groups of people within California and nationwide and address structural inequities and discrimination on the basis of race, wealth, disability, gender, and immigration status. Current areas of focus include education equity, children’s rights, combatting homelessness, immigrants’ rights, criminalization of poverty, and low-wage workers’ rights.
Some of OUL’s recent litigation is below:
Mae M. v. Komrosky is an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s censorship of concepts that conflict with their ideological viewpoints, including the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the existence of systemic racism. The suit, filed in August 2023, is a first-of-its-kind case that seeks to invalidate the Board’s curriculum censorship and affirm students’ right to comprehensive, fact-based education in California’s public schools.
Powers v. McDonough is an ongoing lawsuit challenging the federal government’s failure to provide housing and healthcare to Los Angeles veterans with disabilities. As a direct result of the government’s inaction, nearly 3,500 veterans are homeless in Los Angeles in any given night. The lawsuit seeks to (1) require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fulfill its commitments to provide appropriate Permanent Supportive Housing to disabled veterans and (2) prohibit the VA from entering or continuing unlawful land use agreements.
Ocean S. v. LA County is a lawsuit filed in August 2023 against the State of California and LA County on behalf of young people in foster care. The suit challenges the governments’ systemic failure to provide safe, stable housing and necessary support services for transition age foster youth currently in the foster care system, including by ensuring that all young people in foster care have legally compliant case and transition planning tailored to meet their individual needs.
Reporting to OUL’s Director and Supervising Senior Staff Attorney, the Paralegal/Legal Assistant will work closely with the OUL team in litigating complex federal and state impact cases to promote civil rights and economic and racial justice.
The Paralegal/Legal Assistant will provide critical litigation support, including but not limited to:
- filing legal documents in state and federal courts;
- researching local court rules on filing and service practices;
- assisting with discovery, including document review and production;
- preparing and finalizing legal documents for filing, including formatting, checking citations, and creating tables of contents and authorities;
- providing administrative support for the litigation team, including maintaining litigation calendars, scheduling meetings, and managing document and time records;
- interviewing clients and drafting declarations and complaint narratives;
- assisting with OUL internal project management and coordination between OUL and other Public Counsel departments (HR, Finance, volunteer program coordinators);
- conducting outreach and fostering relationships with community-based organizations; and
- Other duties as assigned.
The Paralegal/Legal Assistant will be responsible for working on existing cases and assisting in the development of new impact litigation opportunities in collaboration with OUL staff, staff in Public Counsel’s other projects, and volunteer attorneys.
ESSENTIAL JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- Bachelor’s degree;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, including excellent proofreading skills;
- Ability to prioritize, problem solve, and efficiently manage time to meet deadlines;
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail;
- Commitment to economic and racial justice and public interest law;
- Proficiency in computer applications and databases (systems used include: Word, Adobe Professional, PowerPoint, Excel, Zoom, Outlook/Gmail, Westlaw/Lexis); and
- Experience and competence in working with people of diverse cultural, geographic, and economic backgrounds, including individuals who are low-income and racially diverse.
STRONGLY PREFERRED JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- Paralegal certificate/degree in paralegal studies or equivalent experience;
- Ability to conduct research on legal procedures;
- Knowledge of court systems and e-filing practices for state and federal courts;
- Knowledge of Bluebook and California citation styles;
- Prior experience providing litigation support; and
- Fluency in Spanish.
JOB TYPE AND BENEFITS
- Full-time, non-exempt position
- Salary range for a Paralegal/Legal Assistant with 1-7 years of experience is $54,000 - $58,801.66.
- Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including:
- Medical, dental, and vision coverage with both HMO and PPO options;
- Option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account;
- 403 B (retirement plan with elective contribution and a discretionary employer contribution after a year of employment;
- Employer-paid life insurance and disability plans;
- Generous paid time off; and
- Parking and transit benefits.
HOW TO APPLY
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. As of June 6, 2022, all employees with Public Counsel will be 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.