Staff Attorney (Patients' Rights) - Health

Downtown San Jose
$54,888-$87,235; compensation based upon bar admission date and comparable experience
Oct 28, 2019
Nov 27, 2019
Job Function
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

Job Description 

MHAP’s Patients’ Rights Unit protects the civil rights of mental health consumers in Santa Clara County through direct client representation, systemic advocacy, training, and education.  The Patients’ Rights Attorney’s responsibilities include: 1) representing patients in locked psychiatric facilities in administrative hearings to challenge involuntary detention for mental health treatment or to preserve a patients’ right to refuse psychiatric medications; 2) investigating and resolving complaints from or concerning recipients of mental health services regarding abuse, neglect, and improper denials of rights; 3) monitoring mental health facilities and services for compliance with statutory and regulatory patients’ rights provisions; and 4) providing technical assistance, training, and outreach regarding the rights of mental health consumers to mental health providers, law enforcement, consumers, and community members.  The attorney may also have opportunities to work on issues involving public benefits and other civil legal needs.

Primary Duties

  • Represent clients in locked psychiatric facilities in detention and capacity hearings;
  • Provide advocacy and representation to people with complaints about mental health services;
  • Monitor and investigate mental health facilities for legal violations, including improper use of seclusion, restraint, and involuntary medication, improper denials of patients’ statutory rights, and failure to comply with due process requirements for involuntary detention;
  • Address system reform needs of MHAP clients through impact projects;
  • Conduct outreach and community education presentations;
  • Respond to requests for technical assistance from non-profits, providers, and family members;
  • Participate in MHAP intake, information and referral services;
  • Attend community meetings and events that concern or impact MHAP clients;
  • Participate in Law Foundation events, committees and operations;
  • Work in collaboration with supervisory and program staff.

Desired Qualifications

  • California Bar Membership, willingness to take California Bar Exam, or otherwise eligible to practice law in California (individuals awaiting California Bar Exam results are eligible to apply);
  • Direct experience with or general knowledge of services and issues affecting individuals living with mental health disabilities desired.  Past or current consumers of mental health services are encouraged to apply;
  • Commitment to the rights of individuals living with mental health disabilities;
  • Demonstrated experience working with and/or sensitivity to persons living with mental health or developmental disabilities;
  • Ability to identify, investigate, and resolve client problems;
  • Ability to analyze, write, and present ideas and legal concepts clearly and concisely;
  • Ability to negotiate solutions to problems between service providers and clients;
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish or Vietnamese desired;
  • Commitment and ability to work with underrepresented communities, including people living with mental health disabilities or other disabilities, clients of diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and clients who are currently or formerly involved with the criminal justice system;
  • Candidates of diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, persons living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community encouraged to apply;
  • Valid California Driver’s License and regular access to a vehicle to travel throughout Santa Clara County required.


$54,888-$87,235; compensation based upon bar admission date and comparable experience.  All compensation determined by the wage table of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between SEIU Local 521 and LFSV.  Excellent benefits provided, including paid holidays, vacation, health insurance and 401(k).

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