National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60604
Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center
The paralegal provides general support to NIJC's Immigrant Children's Protection Project through intake, research, case review, documentation preparation and other related tasks to support general operations and the work of staff and pro bono attorneys.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts intake.
- 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: Bachelors 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.
The Pro Bono Project Coordinator will work with diverse national partners to ensure immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have access to counsel in immigration proceedings. This position will work specifically with NIJC's LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative. 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’ legal services program by coordinating regular pro bono training opportunities; 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 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.
- Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
- 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.
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 possibly a Skadden Fellowship or a Soros Fellowship.
- Cover Letter: Please explain why you are interested in working with NIJC and any experiences you have working with immigrant populations.
- Resume: Be sure to identify any language skills that you have. Fluency in Spanish is required for nearly all positions with NIJC.
- Writing Sample: Please 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, with minimal editing by someone else.
- 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. Do not worry if this proposal is incomplete; 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 detained immigrants and/or asylum seekers.
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.
Documents should be emailed to NIJC. No phone calls please.
NIJC offers internships to law students and undergraduates to work in 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 will soon be accepting applications for 2015 fall internships for the following programs:
- The Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Project for Protection of Asylum Seekers
- Detained Immigrant Protection Project
- Immigrant Legal Defense
- Immigrant Children’s Protection Project
- Counter-Trafficking Project
- LGBT Immigrants Rights Project
- Federal Immigration Policy Internship
- National Litigation Project
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.