Volunteer

Volunteer and Help Bring Justice to the Marginalized

Thanks for your interest in volunteering with us! We strive to create enriching volunteer experiences for a people with a wide variety of skills and availabilities and specialize in providing opportunities for people looking to do skills-based volunteering. 

Interests



A law or client-focused experience involves working directly with clients or in legal research. A non-law experience can be anything else - including HR, finance, videography, and software development

Let us know if there's any professional skills you'd like to develop with us


Availability




Positions

Based on the your interests here are some volunteer positions that you might qualify for. Check as many of the positions that interest you.

Legal interns do case work and legal research under the supervision of a staff attorney. We believe in deeply challenging our interns and think the experience is formative for anyone interested in direct services.

Client advocates work directly with high-need clients to help provide counseling, connect them with non-legal resources and resolve issues in the attorney-client relationship. This role is particularly suitable for people with on a social work track or with significant experience working with vulnerable populations.

As a legal case manager working in the office, you will have the opportunity to conduct client intake meetings, work directly with clients, and manage your own cases. You will work under the supervision and guidance of our staff attorneys. This job is best for someone that wants to rapidly learn how to creatively represent the marginalized in our society and build up their resume.

As a pro bono partner working in the office, you will have the opportunity to conduct client intake meetings, work directly with clients, and manage your own cases. You will work under the mentorship of our staff. This is a great opportunity to build legal skills in a fast-paced, high-impact setting.

As a pro bono partner working in the office, you will have the opportunity to conduct client intake meetings, work directly with clients, and manage your own cases. You will work under the mentorship of our staff. This is a great opportunity to build legal skills in a fast-paced, high-impact setting.

As an investigator you will work in the office with the paralegals to help gather evidence in cases, such as police reports and medical records. You will work a few hours every week out of the office doing errands at the court house or other places. You may also be asked to take intake notes for the attorneys during intakes.

Language volunteers help us translate document and communicate with clients. A court-level proficiency is not required. All that is required is the ability to have a conversation. Spanish and Cantonese are our highest needs

As an intern, you'll have the ability to work on our finance, talent & culture, marketing,  or other team. Please indicate your preferred team on your cover letter. 

As a researcher, you'll work with our Manager of Technology and Analytics on various research projects. Familiarity with social science research tools and methods are a bonus for this role.

Software developers help with developing our Open Door Case Management product, which is used internally and licensed to other legal aid groups to improve efficiencies and ultimately ensure more people can access justice.

Videographers, editors, and animation artists help tell our client's stories for distribution online and at our annual gala. Our videos can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/opendoorlegal

We use skilled volunteers for a huge array of projects, from developing Salesforce to copy-editing grants to recruiting other skilled volunteers. We typically ask for a 2-3 mo. commitment, working a few hours a week on the project.

Personal Information














Application

Based on the roles you've selected, we'd like you to answer a few additional questions:




Please link your Linkedin profile here

For internship applications, we require you to upload a copy of your resume

For internship applications, we require you to upload a copy of your cover letter

Pro Bono Information

We utilize our own platform to work with external pro bono. We'll send cases that match your preferences and share the entire record once you've onboarded.



Low difficulty cases can be done in one day, in a clinic session, or with under 10 hours of work. High difficulty cases can take months and involve hundreds of hours of work.

Urgent cases require onboarding in less than a week. Not urgent cases can be onboarded in one month



Submit

Thanks for completing our volunteer application! A representative will be in touch within a week to continue the conversation. 


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.

Please make checks payable to Open Door Legal and mail them to:

Open Door Legal
60 Ocean Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

We also accept donations via:

Cryptocurrency

Donor-Advised Fund

Stock

You can view all of the ways to give at https://opendoorlegal.org/donation-information

Please contact laurat@opendoorlegal.org if you have any questions or need any additional information.  Thank you so much for the support!