Making rights real.
We make a difference by holding public officials accountable, influencing policy and transforming legal rights into everyday realities.
Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice.
We spur change through collaboration with grassroots groups representing low-income communities, people of color and immigrants, combined with strategic policy reform, media advocacy and litigation, “making rights real” across California since 1971.
Watch “A Law Firm Like No Other” a short documentary about Public Advocates produced by the Visionaries television series.
We’ve been called “the small but noisy law firm.”
We take that as a compliment, as long as noisy means standing up for our clients, being willing to ruffle a few feathers and achieving results way out of proportion to the size of our staff or budget.
Public Advocates has been on the front lines of the struggle for social justice for nearly 50 years, focusing our distinctive blend of policy, legal advocacy and community partnership on the root causes and effects of poverty and discrimination and expanding rights and opportunities for low-income people, people of color and immigrants.
Communities that were once excluded and marginalized are energized by their collective power to shape public decisions and achieve justice. As a result of that engagement, all Californians can have the building blocks to thrive and to create vibrant communities – excellent public schools, affordable housing, reliable public transportation, quality health care, good job opportunities, and economic security.
Our Theory of Change
We believe that by engaging in strategic partnerships, policy advocacy and litigation, we will increase the capacity of grassroots organizations to shape public policy and make their voices heard. This way we can also positively influence public opinion, the media, policymakers and courts to hold business and government accountable. We do this to promote the expansion of civil rights and resource equity and create a mobilized community base to ensure that all Californians have the fundamental rights and equitable allocation of resources they need to build vibrant communities. We choose to address areas such as education, housing, transportation and health that are fundamental to enabling individuals and communities to fulfill their potential, and we choose to challenge systemic problems in ways that will achieve maximum impact.
Our Organizational Diversity Vision
Public Advocates reflects the rich diversity of California and is committed to creating a work environment and society free of all forms of oppression. We respect each person in the organization as unique and empower each other to contribute and lead. Our workplace honors our individual and collective identities and fosters the ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations and engage in courageous conversation about power, privilege and identity. Our cultural competence enables us to form long-term and honest relationships with our community allies, working as partners to achieve shared public policy and community empowerment goals.