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Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center:

Associate Director of Policy

Legal Director

National Legal Counsel

Senior Policy Attorney

Staff Attorney

Internships

Fellowships

 

Associate Director of Policy

NIJC is seeking an associate director of policy to assist in developing and spearheading strategic advocacy efforts on immigration-related issues, primarily at the federal level. This position is based in Washington, D.C.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Support the Director of Policy in developing and implementing diverse grassroots, local, state, and federal advocacy strategies on immigrant rights issues, with a focus on issues that impact asylum seekers, detainees, and immigrants deprived of full due process protections.
  • Coordinate closely with communications, litigation, detention, and other NIJC teams to advance strategic reform goals on immigration detention and due process issues.
  • Work in formal and informal coalitions of legal aid and advocacy organizations to advocate for policy reform; draft and edit statements, reports, and other jointly-produced products.
  • Draft advocacy and educational materials on emerging policy issues.
  • Assist in drafting comments for NIJC in response to agency notice-and-comment rulemaking; preparing petitions for rulemaking; preparing comments on agency-proposed policy, guidance, programs, and other initiatives not subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking.
  • Represent NIJC and its priorities at external meetings.
  • Participate in grant proposal development, editing, review and submission.
  • Help plan and direct the online components of broad-based campaigns across the new media platform, including web, email, and social networks.
  • Other research and writing assistance as requested by the Director of Policy or the Executive Director.
  • Maintain and develop relationships with members of Congress, the White House, and other governmental agencies.

Competencies:

  • Interpersonal Skills – Builds relationships with staff and external stakeholders; maintains confidentiality; listens and remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and obtains clarification; responds concisely and presents positions in a compelling manner; demonstrates group presentation skills; participates in meetings.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; edits work for spelling and grammar; varies writing style according to audience; presents numerical data effectively.
  • Collaboration - balances team and individual responsibilities; exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; gives and welcomes feedback; contributes to building a positive team spirit; solicits and applies program participant feedback, as well as feedback from collaborating agencies; puts success of team above own interests; able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; supports everyone's efforts to succeed; demonstrated skill working in a team environment, understanding when and how to effectively incorporate a team approach.
  • Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.
  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; keeps commitments; inspires the trust of others; works with integrity and ethically; upholds organizational values.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; supports organization's goals and values; supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; takes initiatives; uses time efficiently; sets goals and objectives; organizes or schedules other people and their tasks in a way that ensures coverage at all times; develops realistic action plans.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats coworkers and participants with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.
  • Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; manages competing demands; changes approach or method to best fit the situation; able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events; willing to address urgent needs outside of regular business hours.

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: Minimum of three years of related professional experience, Juris Doctorate or Masters degree in Public Policy or related field of study required.
  • Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret regulations, legislation, including immigration laws and regulations, legal memos, case law and related materials.
  • Reasoning, Other Skills and Abilities: Experience making public presentations and preparing and delivering testimony to committees of the government. Experience creating persuasive written documents for external consumption. Experience analyzing the complex policy arena and crafting appropriate responses.

Apply for the Associate Director of Resource Development on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Legal Director

The legal director will be a member of NIJC’s senior management team. In this capacity, the legal director will be responsible for managing NIJC’s legal programs, providing strategic leadership, vision, management and evaluation of NIJC’s programs on a local, regional and national level. The director will ensure current and future programs are consistent with NIJC’s strategic plan and goals. The ideal candidate is an individual with legal expertise and the ability to coordinate legal strategies across projects, as well as the ability to build teams, effectively communicate, collaborate and support a vision for the most efficient and effective operation of NIJC’s legal programs area are key to success in this role.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Strategy, Leadership, and Management
    • Provide strategic leadership and implementation of NIJC’s mission.
    • Support the executive director and the legal teams, facilitate communication between projects and senior management, and develop and implement performance evaluation mechanisms while maintaining a global view of NIJC’s programming to ensure alignment with our mission
    • In consultation with senior staff and local and national partners, identify key legal issues and NIJC’s role in advancing those issues through impact litigation
    • Liaise with and coordinate among all NIJC legal projects
    • Provide leadership in the delivery of legal services to ensure NIJC’s continued growth and success; identify conferences, professional associations and networking opportunities to enhance NIJC’s reputation and opportunities for collaboration
    • Identify the need for and develop new legal program initiatives
  • Operations
    • Responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of programs, including allocating resources in accordance with strategic priorities that will enable NIJC to remain a leader in its field
    • Evaluate NIJC’s legal services and litigation, identify new ways of executing priorities, recommend changes to drive business process improvement, using an innovative approach
    • Identify links and opportunities between litigation and legal services, create connections and use a collaborative approach to build teams and grow NIJC’s offerings
    • Ensure quality and excellence in NIJC legal programs
    • Assess NIJC’s pro bono processes, identify issues and propose solutions to same; implement best practices to ensure NIJC’s continued success
    • Lead the documentation and management of NIJC’s processes
    • Identify technologies that can improve NIJC’s legal programs, providing recommendations for adjustments to improve service delivery
    • Provide leadership and direction for prioritizing programming and resources in accordance with NIJC’s long term goals
    • Identify and evaluate opportunities to deliver recommendations on what NIJC needs to prioritize
    • Work with chief operating officer to assess effectiveness of IT systems and databases to ensure those systems are cost-effective and adequately support NIJC infrastructure
    • Work with legal teams and NIJC’s policy and communications teams to implement NIJC’s priorities
    • Write and present reports to the executive director
    • Present to NIJC Leadership Board on legal issues
  • Performance Management
    • Ensure each team is meeting key performance indicators, measurement and evaluation. Develop and monitor performance metrics to ensure NIJC’s successful growth. Develop metrics to track progress.
    • Engender trust and passion for change among NIJC’s legal teams by demonstrating leadership and communicating a vision that leads to organizational excellence
    • Build a positive culture across teams that allows for the introduction of new processes or services and the winding down of services that are no longer responsive to the needs of the community and/or NIJC priorities
    • Identify training opportunities for team members
  • External Relations and Advocacy
    • Lead and represent NIJC on a national level to help build NIJC’s reputation. Identify areas for collaboration and opportunities for new or improved programing.
    • Contribute to the drafting of concept notes, proposals and reports
    • Serve as a spokesperson and champion for NIJC’s legal programs, promoting NIJC, making tough decisions to maintain NIJC’s position as a leader in the immigrant rights movement

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience:
    • Proven experience as an attorney, with a track record of success in legal services leadership
    • Immigration law experience required, refugee experience a plus
    • At least 15 years of success in the legal profession, operations, strategy planning and development including working with an executive director and senior management team to achieve goals
    • Excellent analytical skills, proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
    • JD required (may or may not be practicing)

Competencies:

  • Deep knowledge of the law, particularly immigration, civil rights, human rights law
  • Understanding of the pro bono culture and experience working with pro bono attorneys
  • Experience managing a legal program, including business processes, performance evaluation, and strategic planning
  • Experience achieving results within a climate of change, where external forces remain uncertain and where stakeholders may have conflicting objectives
  • Exceptional communicator, ability to work with a diverse, talented group of legal professionals, building trust, collaboration and a culture that welcomes change
  • Demonstrated strength in managing and resolving conflict
  • Subscribes to NIJC values, advancing due process and human rights protections for immigrants and refugees
  • Experience balancing long-term strategic vision with short-term implementation taking into account funding limitations
  • Experience seeing the big picture, planning for growth and having a vision to achieve operational efficiency along the way, while attending to details of implementation
  • Strong financial acumen and ability to assess projects
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills. and experience in grant writing and reporting
  • Demonstrated skill in maintaining the balance between running a successful operation and being an NGO

Apply for the legal director on Heartland Alliance's job board.

 


National Legal Counsel

The National Legal Counsel (NLC) will be a senior position that works across the NIJC’s legal services, litigation, policy and communications teams to provide a unique approach to human rights advancement at a time when immigrant communities are increasingly under attack. In this capacity, the NLC will help strengthen NIJC’s systemic reform agenda through the delivery of strategic immigration legal services on a national and, when appropriate, local level. In consultation with NIJC project supervisors, the NLC will ensure the provision of legal representation in key immigration cases that carry impact on a national scale with regard to NIJC’s priority issue areas including harsh immigration detention and enforcement policies as well as access to asylum. The NLC will be responsible for consulting with NIJC supervisors to incorporate policy and communications components into direct case work so as to strategically advance NIJC’s policy reform agenda. Some of the work will require rapid response and travel to respond to the issues facing the immigrant community. The NLC will be directly supervised by the Director of Policy, and will also work closely with directors of the litigation and legal services teams.

Job duties include:

  • Coordinate with policy and management teams to identify communications/ policy/litigation priorities where targeted representation is critical to advancing goals
  • Identify and build relationships with key partners in key geographic locations to refer potential cases
  • Identify through screening and intake strategic cases for impact – nationally and locally – and assess clients' willingness to share their stories with the media, public, legislators, etc.
  • Manage legal representation of impact cases either through direct representation or placement and mentorship of pro bono partners, including representation in the immigration courts, USCIS, Board of Immigration Appeals and, when appropriate, federal court. Develop and implement protocol to ensure that policy and communications goals are pursued at each stage of representation.
  • In consultation with NIJC supervisors, develop and pursue advocacy efforts that document human rights abuses witnessed through direct representation cases, including utilizing grievance mechanisms available through international agencies and domestic watchdog agencies. Coordinate closely with communications team to elevate.
  • Coordinate with national pro bono firms and recruit pro bono partners for cases as appropriate
  • Evaluate the project and develop long-term strategic plan for national representation work
  • Maintain a commitment to elevating the voices of persons impacted by harmful immigration detention and enforcement policies through creative approaches to communications and policy work and intensive coordination with NIJC’s Washington, DC and Chicago-based communications and policy teams

Competencies include:

  • Deep knowledge of immigration law and procedure
  • Understanding of the pro bono culture and experience working with pro bono attorneys
  • Experience managing an immigration legal services program
  • Experience achieving results within a climate of change, where external forces remain uncertain and where stakeholders may have conflicting objectives
  • Exceptional communicator, ability to work with a diverse, talented group of legal professionals, building trust, collaboration and a culture that welcomes change
  • Demonstrated strength in managing and resolving conflict
  • Subscribes to NIJC values of advancing due process and human rights protections for immigrants and refugees
  • Experience balancing long-term strategic vision with short-term implementation
  • Experience seeing the big picture and advancing reform while providing individual legal representation
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated skill in maintaining the balance between legal representation and advocacy

Education and experience:

  • Proven experience as an attorney, with a track record of success in legal services leadership
  • Immigration law experience required, refugee experience a plus.
  • At least 10 years of successful representation of immigrants and refugees and advocacy and communications teams to achieve goals.
  • Excellent analytical skills, proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • JD required

Apply for the national legal counsel on Heartland Alliance's job board.

 


Senior Policy Attorney

NIJC seeks a Senior Policy Attorney, based in Washington, D.C., to challenge human rights and due process violations through direct legal representation. The Senior Attorney will partner with NIJC’s legal team and its national partners to identify immigration defense cases to litigate in the immigration courts to support NIJC’s advocacy. Focus will be on egregious cases of human rights and due process violations, with a focus on cases implicating separation of family or community. We are looking for an experienced attorney eager to develop and pursue a creative approach to legal representation that includes the documentation of human rights abuses, utilization of grievance mechanisms available through international agencies and domestic watchdog agencies, and communications work.

The Senior Policy Attorney will provide a unique approach to human rights advancement at a time when immigrant communities are increasingly under attack. In this capacity, the Senior Attorney will help strengthen NIJC’s systemic reform agenda through the delivery of strategic immigration legal services on a national and, when appropriate, local level. In consultation with NIJC project supervisors, the Senior Attorney will ensure the provision of legal representation in key immigration cases that carry impact on a national scale with regard to NIJC’s priority issue areas including harsh immigration detention and enforcement policies as well as access to asylum. The Senior Attorney will strive to incorporate policy and communications components into direct case work so as to strategically advance NIJC’s policy reform agenda. Some of the work will require rapid response and travel to respond to the issues facing the immigrant community. This position is based in NIJC's Washington, D.C., office and will be directly supervised by the Director of Policy.

Job duties include:

  • Coordinate with policy and management teams to identify communications/ policy/litigation priorities where targeted representation is critical to advancing goals
  • Identify and build relationships with key partners in key geographic locations to refer potential cases
  • Identify through screening and in-take strategic cases for impact – nationally and locally – and assess client’s willingness to share their stories with the media, public, legislators, etc.
  • Manage legal representation of impact cases either through direct representation or placement and mentorship of pro bono partners, including representation in the immigration courts, USCIS, and Board of Immigration Appeals. Develop and implement protocol to ensure that policy and communications goals are pursued at each stage of representation.
  • Develop and pursue advocacy efforts that document human rights abuses witnessed through direct representation cases, including utilizing grievance mechanisms available through international agencies and domestic watchdog agencies. Coordinate closely with communications team to elevate.
  • Maintain a commitment to elevating the voices of persons impacted by harmful immigration detention and enforcement policies through creative approaches to communications and policy work and intensive coordination with NIJC’s Washington, D.C. and Chicago-based communications and policy teams.

Competencies include:

  • Deep knowledge of immigration law and procedure
  • Experience achieving results within a climate of change, where external forces remain uncertain and where stakeholders may have conflicting objectives
  • Exceptional communicator, ability to work with a diverse, talented group of legal professionals, building trust, collaboration and a culture that welcomes change
  • Demonstrated strength in managing and resolving conflict
  • Subscribes to NIJC values, advancing due process and human rights protections for immigrants and refugees
  • Experience balancing long-term strategic vision with short-term implementation
  • Experience seeing the big picture and advancing reform while providing individual legal representation
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated skill in maintaining the balance between legal representation and advocacy

Education/Experience:

  • Proven experience as an attorney, with a track record of success in legal services leadership
  • Immigration law experience required, refugee experience a plus
  • At least 5 years of successful representation of immigrants and refugees and advocacy and communications teams to achieve goals
  • Excellent analytical skills, proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • JD required

Apply for the senior policy attorney on Heartland Alliance's job board.

 


Staff Attorney

This position provides legal representation and immigration service counseling to immigrants and refugees appearing before the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The staff attorney advocates for clients before other government administrative agencies and before other service agencies, as needed and/or as appropriate. This Staff Attorney position will work to respond to issues of family separation, attacks on asylum, and mass detention. The position can be located in Chicago, IL or Goshen, Indiana.

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.Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develops and implements preliminary case strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in consultation with supervisor.
  • 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. Provides a wide range of court advocacy services.
  • 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 the USCIS, government, and social service organizations and community organizations. 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.
  • Participates in developing and implementing special projects. May have the primary responsibility for a project involving presentation of a particular ethnic group, immigration problem or advocacy issues on a systematic level.
  • Identifies trends and recurring legal and social concerns. Recommends strategies for solutions and other needed advocacy.
  • Interprets and translates for department and other organization staff as needed.
  • 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.
  • 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. Ability to read, speak and write in at least one non-English language.

Apply for the staff attorney 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 internship applications for the fall.

Click here for more information about internships.


Fellowships

NIJC is accepting applications for post-graduate legal fellowships. Fellowship applications are due by August 1, 2018. 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. NIJC also welcomes applicants who will be seeking post-graduate fellowship funding through their own law schools. Please contact us 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.
     

All positions are based out of NIJC's Chicago loop office unless otherwise indicated in the job description.

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. Heartland Alliance's 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.