Staff Attorney (2 - 5 years' experience)

Position Summary

The Youth Law Center (YLC) is excited to announce that we’re seeking a full-time staff attorney to help support our work on behalf of youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Candidates for this position should have approximately 2-5 years’ experience as a practicing attorney and demonstrated ability as an advocate in juvenile justice, child welfare, or another closely-related field.

About YLC’s Advocacy

Attorneys at YLC utilize a variety of traditional and creative advocacy strategies, including policy advocacy; litigation; legislative and administrative/regulatory work; collaborative systems-reform campaigns; public education and media advocacy; legal and non-legal writing; training; and technical assistance. YLC’s advocacy approach is grounded in the belief that those most directly impacted by systems are best positioned to transform them. As advocates, we seek out the spaces and places where we can hear from those young people and their families and offer them the support they need to lift up the vision they have for change. We believe that change comes from deeply listening to young people and the organizations that support them, from helping them to translate their ideas into practice and policy change, and from working in partnership to move forward a new narrative about what’s needed to transform systems.

Our advocacy goals include:

  • Ending incarceration of youth in juvenile justice and reimagining new approaches to youth justice
  • Ending use of congregate care for youth in foster care and juvenile justice and ensuring youth receive excellent parenting
  • Improving access to education, including postsecondary education, for system-involved youth
  • Ensuring healthy transitions to adulthood for system-involved youth
  • Advocating for improved conditions in foster care and juvenile justice

Attorneys on our legal team also engage in strategic collaboration with our non-attorney advocacy staff who work on a variety of systems-reform efforts, including YLC’s national Quality Parenting Initiative, Just Beginnings program, and California Juvenile Justice Higher Education Project.

Who We’re Looking For

We want to hear from early-career advocates with a strong commitment to justice for youth in foster care and juvenile justice, experience with foster care, juvenile justice or a related area, and excitement about a movement-based lawyering approach. More specifically, we’re looking for team members who are able to develop advocacy strategies, communicate effectively within and outside of the YLC team, build partnerships, create high-quality written products, and exercise their advocacy skills in areas including litigation, policy, and training.

People of color and individuals who have lived experience in the child welfare or juvenile justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.

Skills & Experience

The successful candidate for this position will have:            

  • California bar licensure, or licensure in another state and willingness to obtain California licensure
  • At least two years’ experience as a practicing attorney
  • Experience utilizing a variety of advocacy strategies
  • Demonstrated ability as an advocate in juvenile justice, child welfare, or a closely-related field
  • Creativity, passion, and vision to challenge the status quo
  • Ability to think strategically and analytically and identify policy issues
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to facilitate, write persuasively and clearly, communicate effectively with diverse populations, and to build strong partnerships and coalitions
  • Strong listening skills
  • Experience with and ability to work well with diverse groups of people including families and youth and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Deep commitment to elevating the voices of young people impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and the voices of the organizations that work on their behalf
  • Capacity to take initiative on identified goals, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, work independently, and meet deadlines
  • Desire to be flexible, adapt to varied environments, and work as part of a team
  • When public health orders and safety considerations permit, ability to travel regularly for a variety of meetings, events, and other activities

Employment & Benefit Details

  • Status: Full-time, exempt; permanent, depending on continued availability of position funding
  • Salary: The approximate salary range for this position is $66,000 – $78,000 annually, commensurate with experience and other relevant factors. All YLC staff are paid using an equitable pay structure which includes regular, planned increases.
  • Paid Time Off: YLC offers flexible, unlimited paid vacation to its employees as well as generous accrued paid sick time and 11+ paid holidays annually.
  • Benefits: YLC offers a complete a la carte health benefits package (medical HMO & PPO options, dental, and vision), as well as FSA, Commuter Check, and 401k with employer match options. Currently, all health benefits coverage is 100% employer-paid, with no employee or dependent premium contribution.
  • Location: Our office is located at 832 Folsom Street in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. Under normal circumstances, we anticipate this position will work on-site with flexibility to accommodate some work from home. For the right person, this position has the potential to be fully remote (if located within California outside the Bay Area).

To Apply

Please submit an application including all of the following required documents:

  1. Cover letter, explaining your interest in this position, what you believe you bring to YLC’s work, and how your interests and experience are compatible with YLC’s mission and model
  2. Resume
  3. Writing sample
  4. List of at least three professional references.

Please submit all four required documents (either as a single PDF or as separate Word or PDF document attachments) at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for this position.

Applications should be submitted electronically via YLC’s application form by clicking the “Apply” button below.

Timeline: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received, and the position will remain open until filled.

If you have questions about this position or the application process, feel free to contact us at Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to respond to every inquiry. No phone calls about the position, please.

About the Youth Law Center

YLC’s mission is to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive. Our goal is to ensure that, whenever a system must intervene in the life of a child, that child will receive the supports, services, and excellent parenting they need to become a flourishing adult. YLC’s specific, actionable, and sustainable advocacy strategies are shaped by the voices of youth and families most impacted by these systems and are informed by research in child development, psychology, behavioral economics, marketing and branding, and adult learning. The YLC team reflects the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills needed to make our creative approach to advocacy successful. Find out more about us at and

If you are interested, please submit a cover letter, resume, list of three personal references and a writing sample. Youth Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. Your application package may be submitted via the following link:


Or, you may send it via postal mail to:

Youth Law Center
attn: Careers
832 Folsom Street, #700
San Francisco, CA 94107

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