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Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center:

Asylum Pro Bono Project Coordinator

Immigrant Legal Defense Project Paralegal

Litigation Attorney

Litigation Project Coordinator

Pro Bono Supervisor

Senior Attorney- Detention Project

Internships

Fellowships



Asylum Pro Bono Project Coordinator

The Asylum Pro Bono Project Coordinator will work within NIJC’s Asylum Pro Bono Project to ensure asylum seekers have access to counsel in immigration proceedings. The coordinator will support the Pro Bono Supervisor in coordinating the pro bono representation of asylum seekers by conducting asylum intake; responding to the asylum hotline and referrals from NIJC’s Immigration Court Help Desk and other referral sources; preparing cases for pro bono placement and ensuring all case information is entered in NIJC’s client database. The coordinator will work closely with the Pro Bono Supervisor in order to keep abreast of the most current developments in asylum law and pro bono opportunities.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Respond to NIJC’s asylum hotline and internal and external referrals
  • Track individual cases, pro bono placement, and outcomes in NIJC’s database
  • Conduct asylum intake
  • Assist the Pro Bono Supervisor with asylum training preparation, including maintaining attendance lists; entering new pro bono attorneys in NIJC’s database; and following-up with training attendees post-training
  • Support the Pro Bono Supervisor in managing asylum intake, including preparing weekly lists for case review
  • Maintain NIJC’s volunteer interpreter list
  • Compile the pro bono case list summaries from all pro bono projects for biweekly distribution among NIJC’s pro bono network and prepare quarterly pro bono thank you emails
  • Provide referrals for post-asylum ancillary services for NIJC asylum clients
  • Assist the Pro Bono Supervisor and Managing Attorney with asylum case closure and maintaining complete and accurate records of asylum cases in NIJC’s database
  • Maintain NIJC’s database of pro bono attorneys
  • Maintain current knowledge of immigration policies, procedures, and internal structures
  • Prepares applications and evidence in support of application as needed
  • Interpret for Spanish-speaking clients and translate Spanish-language documents
  • Coordinate with other pro bono projects to ensure consistency in pro bono programs
  • Ensure compliance with CLE requirements for trainings
  • Maintain NIJC’s pro bono page on the website
  • Work with undergraduate interns

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Minimum of two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required.   
  • Language Skills: Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences. Excellent oral and written communication skills.  Demonstrated 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: Ability to: 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.

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.
 


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

Qualifications:

  • 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.

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Litigation Attorney

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

Qualifications:

  • 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

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


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.

Qualifications:

  • 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.

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Pro Bono Supervisor

The Pro Bono Supervisor will be responsible for designing and implementing NIJC’s pro bono projects at a local, regional and national level, with a specific focus on NIJC’s asylum pro bono project. The supervisor will provide oversight and management of all NIJC’s pro bono project coordinators and pro bono opportunities, including pro bono attorney trainings and outreach events. The supervisor will develop pro bono protocols and ensure compliance with those protocols. The supervisor will ensure overall communication with the projects to ensure seamless outreach to pro bono attorneys and their firms. The supervisor will work closely with in-house and external experts on the use of technology in the project and collaborate with other pro bono coordinators to provide data regarding pro bono services, including monthly reports on trainings, workshops, recruitment of new pro bono attorneys, case assignments and case adjudications. The pro bono supervisor will work with the relevant managing and supervising attorneys of each project to ensure NIJC’s pro bono programs are operating consistently and effectively. Within NIJC’s asylum pro bono project, the Pro Bono Supervisor will oversee the asylum project intake system, provide technical support to asylum pro bono attorneys, and assist with the development of asylum pro bono materials and trainings.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Review NIJC’s current pro bono projects/protocols, make recommendations for continuous improvement of the pro bono model, and ensure execution of improvements
  • In conjunction with NIJC’s Detention Senior Attorney, lead NIJC’s nationwide pro bono outreach and represent NIJC at pro bono events and meetings
  • Oversee database maintenance for all pro bono projects
  • Generate reports regarding NIJC’s pro bono projects, in conjunction with other pro bono coordinators
  • Train all NIJC pro bono project paralegals, coordinators, and accredited representatives in database use, pro bono recruitment and preparation of the pro bono case list, newsletter, and thank you emails. Exercise editorial control over all pro bono project written materials and provide feedback to paralegals, coordinators, and accredited representatives who submit items for those publications
  • Ensure accuracy and adequacy of any materials for pro bono use
  • Compile pro bono case summaries from other projects for distribution in the monthly pro bono newsletter and prepare quarterly pro bono thank you emails
  • Serve as the initial point-of-contact for asylum pro bono inquiries, and correspond with current and prospective pro bono attorneys and coordinators at law firms and corporations across the country regarding NIJC’s work
  • Liaise with NIJC’s Junior Leadership Board
  • Manage NIJC’s asylum intake system
  • Coordinate and participate in legal trainings and workshops for asylum pro bono attorneys
  • Create and update NIJC asylum pro bono training materials in collaboration with the managing attorney
  • Conduct asylum intakes as necessary
  • Coordinate the referral of all non-detained asylum cases to pro bono attorneys (excluding LGBT project cases) in conjunction with other asylum project staff
  • Respond to questions from asylum pro bono attorneys and refer questions to the managing attorney as appropriate
  • Conduct a bi-annual audit of NIJC’s affirmative asylum cases
  • Oversee the recruitment and supervision of asylum project undergrad interns
  • Participate in legal trainings and review legal materials to remain current on immigration law, policies, and procedures
  • Assist in the representation of in-house asylum clients, as needed

Qualifications:

To perform this job successfully, the ideal candidate must be able to perform each essential duty. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The ideal candidate is a mature professional who can work independently and “goes the extra mile,” particularly in response to tight deadlines and emerging opportunities. The ideal candidate needs to be able to identify/anticipate emerging opportunities or issues. The ideal candidate pays attention to detail, knows how to prioritize his/her work, has strong organizational skills, maintains confidentiality, thrives in a fast-paced and demanding environment, and is open to change.

  • Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Masters’ degree preferred. Minimum of three 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 Spanish. 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: Ability to: convey messages on a variety of issues relating to immigration in a succinct and compelling way and tailored to different audiences; 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 legal entities; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Senior Attorney- Detention Project

This position provides legal representation and immigration service counseling to immigrants and refugees appearing before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with a focus on representation of individuals in DHS custody. The position also provides technical support to pro bono counsel assigned to NIJC cases, both locally and nationally. The senior attorney advocates for clients before other government administrative agencies and before other service agencies, as needed and/or as appropriate.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conducts preliminary intake interview, gathers all relevant facts for presentation at unit meetings. Makes assessment of income eligibility and makes appropriate referrals for those individuals not eligible for organization services. Recommends exceptions to financial guidelines to the supervisor.
  • Develops and implements preliminary case strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure.
  • Prepares the case for hearing, drafting legal papers, engaging in negotiation, presenting evidence, etc. in accord with the Code of Professional Responsibility for the legal profession.
  • Conducts assessment of client on social, psychological and economic functioning and determines appropriate interventions and referrals. Ensures the provision of a wide range of services for clients.
  • Carries a volume of work as required by the department. Has in-depth knowledge of legal and other resources.
  • With the supervisor and NIJC pro bono coordinator, prepares cases for recruitment of pro bono counsel
  • Provides technical support to pro bono counsel assigned to NIJC cases, locally and nationally.
  • May travel to detention centers in the Chicago area as well as nationwide.
  • Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures. Remains current on implications of criminal and civil law as it apples to the representation of immigrants and refugees.
  • Develops and maintains professional relationships with EOIR, DHS, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), government and social service organizations and community organizations as necessary. Interprets immigration and department policies and programs to the public, including public speaking.
  • In accord with the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflict of interest.
  • Maintains complete and accurate client records. Prepares timely statistical reports. Conducts quarterly case audits for presentation and review of the supervisor.
  • Participates in training on immigration procedures as assigned by the supervisor. May conduct training sessions as assigned by the supervisor.
  • Identifies trends and recurring legal and social concerns. Recommends strategies for solutions and other needed advocacy.
  • Adheres to professional standards as outlined by governmental bodies, (and/or other appropriate professional associations), private funding sources, organization plans/policies and unit guidelines. Participates in periodic evaluative reviews and/or in-house and external staff training to ensure that she/he understand and continues to adhere to such standards. Initiates requests for assistance or guidance from supervisor to address new issues or complex concepts affecting adherence to professional standards.

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: Juris Doctorate Degree required; and one year of direct experience in social service counseling and/or legal representation. Minimum three years of experience in the area of immigration law, with a strong preference for candidates with a background in removal defense.
  • Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public. Proficiency in Spanish preferred but not required.

View the full job listing and apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Internships

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.

Click here for more information about available internships and how to apply.

Fellowships

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.

Application Materials:

  1. Cover Letter: Explain your interest in NIJC and any experiences you have working with immigrant populations.
  2. Resume: Identify any language skills that you have. Fluency in Spanish is required for almost all positions with NIJC.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.