Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center:
Detention Project Pro Bono Coordinator
The pro bono coordinator for NIJC's detention project will work with diverse national partners to ensure immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have access to counsel in immigration proceedings. The objectives of the project are to: 1) coordinate effective representation of vulnerable immigrant populations, including victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, unaccompanied immigrant children, and LGBT and HIV-Positive refugees and asylum seekers; 2) increase the broad-based impact of NIJC’s legal services by coordinating regular training opportunities for pro bono attorneys; 3) respond and document national asylum hotline calls; 4) respond and document the needs of partner organizations, including conducting issue-based training on legal relief available to immigrants; and 5) manage NIJC’s nationwide pro bono outreach.
The coordinator will be responsible for serving as the NIJC representative with pro bono attorneys and law firms around the country, NIJC staff, and other immigrant and human rights organizations to ensure access to justice for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The coordinator will be expected to lead organizational outreach: identify potential partner organizations, build the capacity for each of these organizations to address refugee protection issues, and develop strong networks among peer organizations on a national level. The coordinator will work closely with supervising attorneys from NIJC’s programs in order to keep abreast of the most current developments in refugee and immigration law.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Manage and respond to NIJC 1-800 line from refugees and asylum seekers
- Oversee database to track individual cases and outcome
- Analyze human rights violations and develop materials for national advocacy efforts
- Manage the publication and distribution of NIJC’s pro bono training materials and online educational webinars
- Maintain current knowledge of immigration policies, procedures, and internal structures
- Serve as conduit of current information for law firms and non-governmental organizations
- Manage educational trainings and presentations at law firms, non-governmental organizations, and government offices
- Lead NIJC’s pro bono outreach at nationwide pro bono events
- Supervise asylum project interns
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Masters’ degree preferred. Minimum of two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required. May give credit towards years of experience if attained a degree higher than a Bachelor’s Degree.
- Language Skills: Fluency in English and another language is required; French- and Spanish-speakers are preferred. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.
- Other Skills: Knowledge of: principles and practices of communications and public information techniques through different mediums, including print, television, and internet; writing and editing techniques for a variety of audiences. Ability to: assimilate and convey messages on a variety of issues relating to due process violations and immigration detention in a succinct and compelling way and tailored to different audiences; write effective copy, press releases, design and layout electronic and print newsletters and website pages; work independently with limited supervision; be goal-oriented and multi-task; have a diplomatic presence; develop and maintain good working relationships with a wide variety of peer organizations; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
Immigrant Legal Defense Project Paralegal
The paralegal provides general support through intake, research, case review, documentation preparation and other related tasks to support general operations and the work of staff and pro bono attorneys. The Immigration Legal Defense Project provides to low-income families general immigration legal services, including family-based immigration, adjustment, naturalization, and deportation defense.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts intake, as assigned
- Conducts legal and factual research
- Assesses cases to determine eligibility
- Conducts interviews with clients and witnesses
- Drafts applications, affidavits, letters and/or legal pleadings and prepares supporting documentation
- Prepares materials for submission to Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Court, or other entities as appropriate
- Reviews, analyzes and presents cases to supervisor
- Conducts educational presentations
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures
- Maintains complete, thorough, accurate and current records in an organized fashion in accordance with legal standards, rules and ethics
- Ensures the accuracy, substance and timeliness of statistical and narrative reports, projects, schedules and other relevant work products
- In accord with organizational policies and the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflicts of interest
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor's degree with demonstrated experience working with immigrants, refugees and/or asylum seekers. At least one year of experience working with these populations preferred.
- Language Skills: Fluency in another language may be required. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences.
- Other Qualifications: Excellent writing, editing, organizational and computer skills required. Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform well under strict deadlines.
NIJC seeks an attorney with litigation experience, including complex federal litigation, for a full-time litigation position. We invite applications from attorneys who have a demonstrated commitment to immigrant and civil rights, and who are interested in and capable of playing a lead role in complex innovative litigation and policy advocacy. Under the supervision of the director, the litigation attorney will work to develop and implement advocacy strategies in identified areas. Litigation tasks include legal research, drafting of pleadings and briefs, discovery, motion practice, and trials and appeals in both state and federal courts. The litigator will collaborate with the NIJC direct service, policy and communications teams, and will work with pro bono attorneys.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Identify litigation issues and collaborate with NIJC’s emergency response, policy, and litigation teams
- Develop litigation strategies
- Conduct legal research and draft pleadings and briefs
- Collaborate with community-based organizations to identify plaintiffs
- Lead litigation efforts
- Work with pro bono partners
- At least two years of litigation experience in federal court, preferably in the immigration field
- Self-motivated and committed to civil liberties advocacy
- Ability to participate in all stages of complex litigation and to formulate and implement sophisticated legal strategies
- Excellent writing and analytical skills
- Ability to supervise junior lawyers and to collaborate with cooperating counsel
- Ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other staff members, and diverse community organizations and coalitions
- Ability to communicate effectively in legal and non-legal settings with a wide range of individuals and organizations
- Must be fluent in English and Spanish strongly preferred
Litigation Project Coordinator
The litigation project coordinator helps implement and support NIJC’s nationwide advocacy and litigation efforts in response to heightened immigration enforcement. As part of this program, the coordinator, along with NIJC attorneys, will work with NIJC clients and diverse national partners to challenge human rights violations and wrongful immigration enforcement initiatives to promote fairness in our nation’s immigration system. The overall objectives of the position are to: 1) coordinate effective documentation of international and domestic human rights violations; 2) strengthen the systemic impact of NIJC’s casework through identification of trends and emerging human rights issues; 3) respond and document national calls from immigrants in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody; 4) coordinate advocacy efforts in immigration proceedings and federal court; and 5) respond and document the needs of partner organizations, including conducting issue-based training on legal relief available to detainees, detention conditions and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE policies; and facilitate meetings. Travel may be required to carry out the program objectives.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Work alongside the program’s attorneys to support in all filings with various government agencies.
- Communicate with clients and their families to explain federal litigation, gather necessary documentation, and prepare relevant underlying applications for relief.
- Investigate immigrant detainee complaints regarding detention conditions and respond accordingly. Present findings orally and/or through written memos.
- Gather data to analyze human rights violations, and potentially work in cross departmental teams to develop materials for national advocacy efforts.
- Maintain databases and dockets, and collect data to strengthen grant reporting, fundraising, and media campaigns. Work with the development team in the preparation of grant reports.
- Maintain the internal filing systems to increase efficiency within the department, review case files in preparation for closing all litigation related matters in the database.
- Create and implement internal administrative protocols to maintain the organization of the department.
- Gather the agenda for, and lead, weekly departmental meetings.
- Provide support to the pro bono component of the project; maintain pro bono attorney and firm assignments and activities in the database, write thank you letters and case summaries for possible case placement.
- Monitor websites to gather current information regarding country condition abroad and legal developments around the United States.
- Troubleshoot across departments as issues arise.
- Develop content for, and maintain, the litigation section of the website.
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required. This position may require experience with vulnerable populations.
- Language Skills: Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Ability to effectively interview clients and engage in fact-gathering for advocacy or litigation in a fast-paced environment.
- Technical Skills: Ability to design and maintain program website with minimal training; fluency in Microsoft Office especially Word and Excel; ability to maintain and organize large quantities of information in an electronic database
- Attention to detail and accuracy: Ability to competently and effectively communicate orally and in writing for a variety of audiences; ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently
- Demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights/human rights
- Volunteer Management: Ability to train interns, to assist with projects, supervise work, and assign additional tasks on an as needed basis
- Understanding the Importance of Client Confidentiality: In accordance with organizational policies and ethical standards required of the legal profession and the code of professional responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies, and avoids conflicts of interest.
NIJC offers internships to law students and undergraduate students to work in a variety of its different legal services programs. The internships present an excellent opportunity to learn more about U.S. immigration law and policies while making a difference in the lives of low-income and impoverished individuals who are in need of legal representation. NIJC is now accepting applications for Winter-Spring 2016 part-time internships.
NIJC is currently accepting applications for post-graduate legal fellowships. NIJC is open to any funding source identified by a candidate, but expects to, at a minimum, identify a candidate for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship application, and a Skadden Fellowship or a Soros Fellowship with NIJC's Counter-Trafficking Project. NIJC also welcomes applicants who will be seeking post-graduate fellowship funding through their own law schools. Please contact Emma Koch if you are interested in a fellowship. No phone calls please.
- Cover Letter: Explain your interest in NIJC and any experiences you have working with immigrant populations.
- Resume: Identify any language skills that you have. Fluency in Spanish is required for almost all positions with NIJC.
- Writing Sample: Provide a 5-10 page excerpt from a document you have produced in law school or in a legal position that is your own work.
- Brief Project Proposal: Most post-graduate legal fellowships require applicants to propose a specific project. Please give a brief description of the kind of work you would like to do. Your proposal should explain why that work is important and how you think it would complement NIJC’s existing work. NIJC will work with the selected candidate to ensure a strong proposal. Candidates are welcome to propose work with any of NIJC’s existing projects, but we are most interested in individuals who are interested in working with immigrant victims of trafficking, detained immigrants, and/or asylum seekers.
- Other: If you would like NIJC to host you for a fellowship other than any of the ones listed above, please provide a description of the fellowship and its requirements with your application. In addition to the above information, finalists will be asked to provide references and transcripts, and will be selected for various rounds of interviews.
NIJC is a program of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights that champions the human rights and improves the lives of men, women, and children who are threatened by poverty or danger. For more than 100 years we have been providing solutions- both through services and policy- that move individuals from crisis to stability and on to success. Our work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security serves more than 100,000 people annually, helping them build better lives. Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at (312) 660-1431.