Temporary Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Fellow- Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Project
Los Angeles, CA Consumer Rights & Economic Justice
Job Type
Full-time
Description

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 Gender Justice Project , 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 CONSUMER RIGHTS & ECONOMIC JUSTICE (CREJ)


Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights & Economic Justice (“CREJ”) Project is one of the oldest projects within Public Counsel. Our mission is to advance economic justice, with a specific focus on addressing structural racial inequalities that have long hampered individuals and communities of color.  We provide legal counsel for, and advocacy on behalf of low-income individuals and their families, addressing inequalities in bargaining power, opposing those who take advantage of the vulnerable, and holding wrongdoers accountable. 


We are a diverse team of dedicated and nationally-recognized attorneys and support staff who strive to lift up our clients and each other with excellence, dedication, tenacity, compassion and kindness.


JOB SUMMARY


The Consumer Rights & Economic Justice Fellow will assist low-income consumers across a range of debt collection & student loan matters. The CREJ Fellow will provide direct legal services, community education, and engage in systemic advocacy. This is a full-time position that will primarily involve defending low income clients in debt collection cases, assisting student loan borrowers access relief, meeting with clients and community partners, engaging in policy advocacy, making court appearances as needed, and performing related administrative and grant reporting tasks. The CREJ Fellow will be responsible for carrying out this work in collaboration with the Supervising Staff Attorney and other members of the CREJ team. Extensive training will be provided.


Reporting to the Supervising Staff Attorney, the CREJ Fellow will:

  • Carry a caseload of debt collection & student loan direct services cases; 
  • Participate in the full breadth of debt collection defense litigation activities, including drafting and filing answers, carrying out discovery, filing and responding to motions and appearing at hearings with supervision;
  • Attend debt collection clinics assisting debtors defend themselves against debt collectors;
  • Develop student loan educational materials and give community presentations and workshops in collaboration with the CREJ team; 
  • Under the guidance of the Supervising Staff Attorney, participate in systemic advocacy efforts, which may include policy advocacy and/or impact litigation;
  • Assist with preparation of quarterly grant reports;
  • Participate in external meetings with legal services and community-based organizations as needed, in order to be responsive to community needs;
  • Attend trainings & conferences;
  • Other duties as assigned
Requirements

ESSENTIAL JOB SKILLS AND ABILITIES

  • Awaiting results from the February 2024 California Bar Exam, or registered for the July 2024 California State Bar Exam; 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; 
  • Desire to learn as well as share knowledge with other team members;
  • Ability to work well independently and as part of a team;
  • Experience and/or desire to work with individuals of diverse cultural, racial, geographic, and economic backgrounds;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Strong organizational, and time management skills;
  • Spanish-language fluency desirable;
  • Commitment to economic, racial, social justice and the mission of Public Counsel.


JOB TYPE AND BENEFITS

  • Job Type: Full-Time, Exempt
  • Non-Bargaining 
  • Position to be staffed on a temporary basis for 12 months from date of hire. This position will end after 12 months from date of hire, unless otherwise extended. 

Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including:

  • Salary for Attorney with 0-1 years of experience is $75,000
  • Medical coverage with an option for 100% employer-paid employee and dependent child(ren)’s premiums; buy-up options are available for other HMO and PPO coverage 
  • Dental and vision coverage 
  • Option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account

Generous paid time off (per year):

  • 15 accrued vacation days that increase to 20 days after 3 years of employment
  • 12 accrued sick days that may be used for physical and mental health needs
  • 2 personal observance days 
  • 11 paid holidays plus 2 one-week office closures (during the summer and winter)
  • Up to 60 hours of compensatory time per calendar year (for exempt staff only)

Additional benefits:

  • 37.5 hour work week for all full-time employees 
  • Free on-site parking or public transportation reimbursement 
  • $45 per pay period for employees who use non-English language skills to perform work duties
  • Up to 6 months of parental leave 
  • Organizational and team wellness activities to build team cohesion and camaraderie
  • Professional development support and opportunities 

  

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. 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. Some positions require additional in-office days. 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.