Staff Attorney or Senior Attorney (Full-Time, Remote)

Position Summary

The Youth Law Center (YLC) is excited to announce that we are seeking a full-time staff attorney or senior attorney to help drive our work on behalf of youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Candidates for this position should have one to ten (1-10) years of experience as a practicing attorney, and a current California bar license or willingness to obtain California licensure.

The staff attorney or senior attorney will be part of a team of attorneys and advocates working in a variety of substantive areas, such as protecting children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems from abuse and dangerous conditions in out-of-home care; addressing inequities in K-12 and post-secondary education access and success for systems-involved youth; ensuring that government and other agencies provide support and services (e.g., health, mental health, education) to enable system-involved youth to become healthy and productive adults; preventing homelessness among systems-involved transition aged youth; and ensuring youth in both systems have individualized, developmentally appropriate parenting as well as connections to families and to their communities.

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 and access to required services to make that transition
  • Advocating for improved conditions in foster care and juvenile justice systems

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 Postsecondary Education Project.

Who We’re Looking For

We want to hear from attorneys with a strong commitment to justice for youth in foster care and juvenile justice, experience with advocacy in foster care, juvenile justice, education, youth homelessness 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, juvenile justice, or youth homelessness systems are strongly encouraged to apply.

Skills & Experience

The list below represents what we believe to be the most important skills and experience needed for someone to be successful in this position. However, we recognize that women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and other historically economically marginalized people tend to self-select out of applying for positions if they don’t meet 100% of the listed qualifications. We encourage you to apply if you’re enthusiastic about this role, even if you don’t meet every single criterion on this list:

  • Current active California bar license or willingness to obtain California licensure
  • For the Staff Attorney level – One to ten years of experience practicing law utilizing a variety of advocacy strategies
  • For the Senior Attorney level – A minimum of five years of experience as a practicing attorney utilizing a variety of advocacy strategies, ideally with experience coordinating projects and leading small project teams
  • Demonstrated ability as an advocate in juvenile justice, child welfare, education, youth homelessness, or a closely-related field
  • Substantive experience and knowledge of civil legal practices impacting systems-involved youth, including education, public benefits, health access (especially legal entitlements related to behavioral health services), housing, foster care entries and extended care, and others
  • Creativity, passion, and vision to challenge the status quo
  • Ability to think strategically and analytically and identify policy issues
  • Excellent interpersonal, listening, and communication skills, including the ability to facilitate, write persuasively and clearly, communicate effectively with diverse populations, and to build strong partnerships and coalitions
  • Experience with and ability to work well with diverse groups of people including families and youth (especially older youth with lived experience) 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
  • As public health orders and other safety considerations permit, ability to travel regularly for a variety of meetings, events, and other activities

Employment & Benefit Details

  • Status: Full-time, exempt
  • Salary: For the Staff Attorney level, the position range is $74,000 to $101,000 annually. For the Senior Attorney level, the position range is $91,000 to $118,000 annually. Salary at either level will be commensurate with prior experience in relevant positions at a similar level of responsibility. 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: Comprehensive health benefits package (medical, dental, vision, long-term disability, life), plus FSA, Commuter Check, and 401k with employer match options. Health plan premiums are 100% employer-paid for both employees and dependents.
  • Location: This is a remote position with some required travel to locations within California and/or regionally within the candidate’s area of residence.

To Apply

Please submit the following required documents via email to and include the position name (indicating whether you are interested in the Staff Attorney or Senior Attorney level) in the subject line:

  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 required documents as attachments in either PDF or Word format at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for this position. 

Timeline: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as received; position is 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


YLC values a diverse, inclusive workforce and we provide equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees. All qualified applicants for employment will be considered without regard to an individual’s race, color, sex, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, body size, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, family care status, marital status, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal, state or local laws.


Read our DEI statement here.


Originally posted: 8/25/2023