Homeless Action Center (HAC) is a community-based legal services program founded in 1990 to provide legal services to homeless people in Alameda County.  Over time, HAC’s specialty became public benefits advocacy, with a focus on Social Security disability benefits.  The process of qualifying for disability benefits can be lengthy and difficult.  Employing an empathetic, culturally humble client-centered focus and harm reduction principles, Staff Attorneys work closely with other legal services programs and social services programs to assist clients in meeting their emergency and longer-term needs during this process.  HAC represents over 2,000 clients at a time.  Please refer to

The Staff Attorneys will primarily represent clients in applications and appeals for SSI/Social Security Disability benefits, and/or CAPI benefits.    

Duties include but are not limited to the following:


  • Represent forty clients in all stages of the application process for Social Security disability benefits/CAPI, including initial, reconsideration, administrative hearings, the SSA appeals council, and federal district court:
    • SSI/SSDI/CAPI  representation generally includes the following minimum duties: contact potential clients; interview clients, assess status eligibility and determine the status of any existing or prior claims, complete internal HAC and external SSA and other agency forms; initiate filings/appeals in a timely manner to protect eligibility; pursue, read, and summarize medical records and other evidence; correspond with clients’ physicians and other treatment providers; arrange medical assessments and transportation to medical appointments; submit information electronically; collaborate with SSA and its proxies via phone, email, fax, and mail; develop legal arguments and write persuasive letters; and maintain regular contact with clients. 
    • Should the case proceed to the hearing level, the attorney will represent the client at an Administrative Hearing, which typically includes drafting and submitting a pre-hearing brief, preparing client testimony and an opening statement, answering questions from the judge, conducting a direct exam of the client, and cross-examining medical and vocational experts. 
    • Negative or partially favorable hearing decisions will be assessed for appealability, and attorneys may file for Appeals Council review, and possibly District Court review, and/or file new claims as the situation dictates. 
  • Occasionally assist clients with issues related to receipt of disability benefits, such as overpayments, payee issues, and employment issues.
  • Maintain case files and electronic records following agency guidelines.
  • Calendar all deadlines and other case-related dates in agency case management software (Prevail). Use Prevail reports and other features to manage your caseload.
  • Help clients apply for and retain other public benefits, e.g. MediCal, General Assistance, and CalFresh.
  • Provide legal advice, brief services, and referrals to one’s SSI clients as needed to help them with issues beyond SSI/SSDI and public benefits.


  • Be or become competent in Social Security law.  Stay up-to-date on the subject matter.
  • Be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Adapt to changes and challenges in law, office procedures, resources for clients, and technology.
  • Practice empathy, cultural humility, harm reduction, and trauma-informed lawyering on a day-to-day basis, and learn and practice de-escalation.
  • Develop a familiarity with eligibility criteria for HAC’s services and the scope of HAC’s services.
  • Carry a caseload of 40 SSI/SSDI cases at all levels of the administrative process.
  • Maintain contact with clients, which may include travel and visits to homeless encampments and other places people stay.


  • Perform periodic helpline shifts and drop-in clinic shifts, providing and documenting brief service assistance. 
  • Attend monthly staff meetings and periodic all-staff trainings.
  • Attend regular case reviews with managing attorneys.
  • Assist in office cleaning.
  • Track time and complete monthly timesheets.
  • Maintain your schedule in Outlook, learn and follow procedures for making your in/out of office presence known.
  • Maintain shared information resources such as Sharepoint, outlook contacts, resource binders, and other sources of shared efficiency.


  • Must be an active member, in good standing, in the State Bar of California. Direct Legal Services preferred, especially experience with SSI/SSDI benefits. Those eligible for the Provisional Licensed Attorney program are encouraged to apply.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, particularly advocacy. 
  • Sensitivity to people with disabilities of diverse backgrounds.  Our clients are vulnerable, resilient people who deserve your absolute best work. 
  • Must be compassionate, well-organized, hard-working, reliable, dedicated, flexible, enthusiastic, detail-oriented, justice-oriented, and have the ability to work cooperatively with others in a collegial, yet challenging, environment.
  • Must be comfortable applying harm reduction principles and de-escalating clients.
  • Commitment to cultural humility, client-centered services, and trauma-informed principles.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Contact with clients who may have behavioral and psychiatric problems including shouting, use of profanity, and inappropriate behavioral choices.

  • Supervision: assigned duties according to specified procedures and receives detailed instructions. Work is reviewed frequently. The employee performs a variety of routine work within established policies and procedures, and receives instructions on assignments, new policies, or projects.
  • Our offices have open spaces, and thus can be loud and chaotic.  While we are a working law office, the layout, as well as the nature of our work, can mean that it is louder than a “typical” office space. 
  • We have animals – cats and dogs – in our offices.
  • This position requires interacting with people living in homeless encampments.  Encampments may be especially chaotic and may have debris, drug paraphernalia, rodents, and other possible hazards.
  • Occasional need to interact with clients who may be expressing anger both appropriately and inappropriately.
  • The worker is occasionally exposed to perfume or scents in personal care products used by employees, clients, and visitors.
  • The worker is occasionally exposed to cleaning products.
  • The work environment includes traveling using various modes of transportation.
  • The work environment may include driving an agency vehicle.

The worker is occasionally exposed to cleaning products.

The work environment includes traveling using various modes of transportation.

The work environment may include driving an agency vehicle.


The Homeless Action Center is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and working diligently toward an anti-racist organization and society. HAC’s Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and Social Impact and other dedicated staff have put in a tremendous amount of work towards positively impacting change around diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice. HAC employs DEI principles at all stages of the hiring process, collects and analyzes data on staff demographics and retention, and periodically engages with consultants to assess the organization’s culture, facilitate processes and working groups, and make recommendations with implementation strategies for improvement. HAC’s Executive Director has declared that DEI will be one of the organization’s top priorities and the Management Team, in partnership with staff, continues to strive to increase DEI within HAC.


  • Starting salary commensurate with experience, based on scale; starting salary scale for recently licensed attorneys is $76,559, increasing based on years barred and experience.  Salary scale is examined at least annually.  
  • Employer-paid insurance:  health, vision, and dental, as well as $150,000 basic life insurance policy, long-term disability insurance, and employee assistance program. Coverage includes 100% employer paid medical, dental, and vision insurance for employee and dependent spouse/domestic partner or children; when adding spouse/domestic parnter and children, 100% of child premiums and 50% of the spouse/domestic partner premiums are paid by HAC. Additional optional life insurance, short-term disability, accident, and critical illness plans available.
  • Optional Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for healthcare or dependent care available.
  • Subsidy for Commuter Check program. 
  • Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) in the amount of $200 per month for all staff who have student loans, regardless of salary or loan amount.
  • 403(b) account available with employer contribution of up to 4% of annual salary. 
  • Generous vacation, holiday, and sick time.


Please submit a resume, cover letter, and list of three references IN ONE PDF DOCUMENT to  As part of your cover letter, please address the following question: 

In order to best serve our clients and our community, HAC is committed to creating an equitable and inclusive workplace in which differences are acknowledged and valued.  How has your personal background or experience, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to social justice, racial equity, and diversity among our staff?

HAC is committed to equity in hiring.  We encourage people of color, women, people with disabilities, older people, LGBTQIA people, and members of other historically oppressed groups to apply.  It is HAC’s policy to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to afford equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, medical condition or genetic information, veteran status, national origin, disability, marital, or other protected status.  HAC will conform to the spirit, as well as the letter, of all applicable laws and regulations.

DISCLAIMER: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.