Family Violence Appellate Project Is Hiring a Housing and Employment Justice Staff Attorney

Staff Attorney Job Opening – Housing and Employment Justice for Domestic Violence Survivors

Family Violence Appellate Project (FVAP) is honored to have won a 3-year grant from the State Bar Trust Fund to execute a new statewide program: Achieving Community Stability Through Housing and Employment Justice for Domestic Violence Survivors.  FVAP is seeking one full-time Staff Attorney to lead this program and join our small but exceptional and dynamic staff in our Oakland, California office.  

FVAP is the only organization in California dedicated to appealing cases on behalf of survivors of domestic violence.  We are committed to social justice and are dedicated to shaping California law to prioritize the safety of survivors and their children by representing clients in the California Courts of Appeal, submitting amicus curiae briefs in cases of statewide importance, monitoring unpublished cases daily and requesting publication of important domestic violence cases, and engaging in legislative and systems change advocacy efforts. 

We are also committed to supporting the statewide network of domestic violence and legal aid service providers by providing trainings, technical assistance, and written informational materials, and by facilitating information exchange among statewide stakeholders supporting survivors.  Our new program aims to combat homelessness and economic instability experienced by survivors of abuse and their children by creating focused materials and engaging in policy advocacy and appellate litigation to enable domestic violence advocates to educate and support their clients to enforce their housing and employment rights.  If you are interested in being part of this exciting social justice movement and resource for domestic violence survivors and advocates across California, this is the place for you!  You can learn more at

We value diverse experiences and backgrounds.  FVAP’s clientele is extremely diverse, and we serve individuals and advocates throughout the state, including rural, suburban, and urban populations.  The ideal candidate will bring skills and experiences enabling you to serve these diverse populations adeptly.  Any candidate must be willing to pitch in wherever needed to support a small nonprofit.  The immediate supervisor is the Director of Programs.

Skills & Abilities:  A successful Staff Attorney has exceptionally strong critical thinking, legal, analytical, and writing skills and is able to perform professionally in a fast-paced environment.  This will necessitate multi-tasking, prioritizing tasks, and changing focus when circumstances demand.  You are able to communicate effectively with many different stakeholders, including FVAP’s team members, law student clerks, volunteer law firm attorneys, experienced domestic violence advocates and other community members who are not attorneys, and prospective clients from all different backgrounds.  You are able and willing to supervise and manage people at all levels, including law student clerks and senior law firm partners who provide us pro bono assistance.  You are detail-oriented and capable of developing a new dynamic program, including tracking and complying with multiple deadlines. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Duties include the following (other duties may be assigned):

  • Spearheading design and implementation of the new Achieving Community Stability program to meet program objectives and deliverables.  We anticipate activities will include:
  • Extensive outreach to understand the housing- and employment law-related needs of DV survivors, especially in underserved and marginalized communities;
  • Researching and drafting written informational materials to provide to statewide stakeholders, including adapting those materials to the unique needs of different geographic, cultural and linguistic communities;
  • Providing trainings to legal services agencies, domestic violence agencies, and other statewide stakeholders;
  • Working with local providers to determine when appellate clarification of the law is needed, consulting with FVAP’s legal team on case selection and strategy for appeals, and litigating appeals;
  • Providing technical assistance to attorneys, other services providers, and pro se litigants on legal and procedural issues related to trial-level or appellate cases;
  • Analyzing social science literature in the fields of domestic violence, housing and homelessness, and employment rights;
  • Identifying areas where policy advocacy is needed to support or expand the rights of survivors in housing and employment, and working with local coalitions to enact policies or ordinances;
  • Supervising law student interns, including giving written feedback on their work;
  • Representing FVAP in the community to service providers, community partners, pro bono law firms, and others;
  • Assisting with grant reporting and data collection for this program;
  • Assisting with administrative and fundraising tasks as needed, including checking and responding to office mail, email, fax, and voice mail; assisting with preparation of materials for board meetings; keeping client databases current; attending fundraising events; and other office tasks.
  • Some travel will be required.

Physical and Environmental ConditionsPerformance of duties and tasks uses standard office equipment, including telephone equipment and computers.  Work is performed inside with exposure to heating and air-conditioning.  Occasional driving or other methods of travel will be required.  The Staff Attorney may be able to work remotely some days, subject to organizational needs.

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  • J.D. from accredited university and licensed, active member of California Bar;
  • Experiences that will enable you to provide superb outreach, technical assistance, and training to a diverse client population and diverse communities of domestic violence service providers;
  • Working knowledge of housing law and/or employment law;
  • Ability to analyze and apply California and federal domestic violence law, housing law, employment law, and appellate procedure;
  • Ability to produce polished written work product, including appellate briefs, and training and technical assistance materials, with little direction or intervention;
  • Excellent communication, writing, editing, and organizational skills;
  • Willingness and interest in effectively supporting and supervising others;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • Ability to adapt to and work in the fast-paced environment of a small nonprofit;
  • Willingness to pitch in and help out as needed; and
  • A commitment to working on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and their children.

 Preferred Qualifications and Experience:

  • Prior civil litigation experience in housing law, employment law, and/or domestic violence law;
  • Appellate litigation and/or legislative and policy advocacy experience;
  • An understanding of the dynamics of, and the legal, social, and personal issues raised by, domestic violence;
  • Experience developing polished written materials that understandably convey complex legal issues to a lay audience;
  • Experience presenting trainings or speaking in front of a crowd;
  • Experience working with clients in crisis and low-income clients;
  • Bilingual in Spanish or another language a plus; and
  • Diversity of personal and professional experience.


Classification:  This position is exempt, full-time, and at-will.

Compensation:  Starting salary depends on experience and will be commensurate with comparable nonprofit salaries in Alameda County; the range is expected to be between $55,000-$65,000/year.  FVAP offers a generous benefits package, including subsidized health, dental, vision, and life insurance; 401(k) retirement plan with 3% employer match after 1 year; FSA plan for commuting, parking, health, and dependent care expenses; 3 weeks paid time off/year, with longevity increases; 12 paid holidays/year; and paid attorney bar dues and continuing legal education.

To Apply:   The position will be open until filled.  Resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning December 4, 2017.  Candidates are encouraged to apply early in the process.  The preferred start date is January 15, 2018.  To apply, please email or mail a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three professional references to: 

Erin Smith, Executive Director

Family Violence Appellate Project, 1814 Franklin St. Suite 805, Oakland, CA 94612

Your cover letter should speak to: 1) why you are interested in working at FVAP; 2) how your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our work and perform the required and any preferred qualifications, and; 3) how your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our commitment to diversity and cultural responsiveness amongst our staff.  Feel free to think broadly about your response to these questions, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences.

To promote social justice and best serve our clients, FVAP is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse staff and providing culturally competent services.  Individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations, and gender identities, as well as differently abled persons, survivors of domestic violence, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups, bilingual and bicultural candidates, and those who are the first in their family to complete college or graduate school, are encouraged to apply.

FVAP is located in Oakland, California.  We are convenient to multiple bus lines and BART.

Thank you for your interest in FVAP!