Join our team and transform San Francisco

We believe that when everyone has access to the law, poverty will be dramatically reduced. That’s why we’re pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to legal services.

We believe that with enough passion, anything is possible.

Our culture

The key to our team’s effectiveness is a positive atmosphere. That’s why values are such a tremendous part of our work. Our passion, grit, dynamism, teamwork, and care for our clients help us achieve the impossible. We care about accountability.

Learn more about our team.

Our impact

Thanks to our driven team, we have such successful case outcomes. In fact, for every dollar we spend on our services, we generate $21 in benefit for our clients and their community. That makes us one of the most cost-effective social services out there.

Read about our SROI.

What it’s like to work here

Molly Woodbury, Community Affairs Associate

“Open Door Legal is by far the best place I’ve worked. I have never been in such a passionate and fun environment. I love that I can talk about the anti-displacement work my coworkers do one minute and then argue over what legally constitutes a mimosa. Everyone here is incredibly smart, talented, and hardworking and I feel honored to be here.”

Alex Lemberg, Housing Attorney

“I can’t imagine working anywhere other than Open Door Legal. On one hand, I get to work with the most incredible clients, whose stories drive and inspire me each and every day. I get to help people who wouldn’t have access to the legal system otherwise accomplish a huge variety of goals. On the other hand, I get to work with the most committed, creative, and brilliant colleagues I could ask for.”

Whitney Tu, Director of Talent and Culture

“I’ve always wanted to work in an office where people not only whole-heartedly believed in the mission, but in one another. That is true at ODL. There is a very clear-eyed, shared view of the future: universal access to legal services. Each of us is a better person because of our work together.”

Meet our staff

View our entire team here.

Dyne

Blake

Lena

Join our staff

Become a volunteer

CITATIONS

1. American University, Key Studies and Data About How Legal Aid Improves Housing Outcomes https://www.american.edu/spa/jpo/toolkit/upload/housing-7-30-19.pdf

2. George Washington Law School, In Pursuit of Justice? Case Outcomes and the Delivery of Unbundled Legal Services https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi

Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.