Senior Attorney, Detention Project
The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) advances human rights and due process for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through direct legal services, impact litigation, advocacy and public education. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in Washington, DC, Indiana and San Diego, NIJC’s team of 100 attorneys, paralegals and professionals, along with 2,000 pro bono attorneys, is at the forefront of immigration reform.
This position provides legal representation and counseling to immigrants and asylum-seekers 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 in their bond and removal proceedings, and appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Legal representation may also include work on federal habeas corpus petitions challenging the legality of clients’ detention and detention conditions. The position also provides technical support to pro bono counsel assigned to NIJC cases, both locally and nationally. The Senior Attorney will serve as a mentor to junior staff, as well as the development of new initiatives or projects within the team.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Minimum 3 years’ experience in the area of immigration law, with a strong preference for candidates with a background in removal defense and the intersection of criminal and immigration law, or related fields
- 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 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.
- With the Supervisor and NIJC Pro Bono Manager, prepares cases for recruitment of pro bono counsel, and provides technical support to pro bono counsel assigned to NIJC cases, locally and nationally.
- Travel to detention centers in the Chicago area as well as nationwide is required.
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures. Remains current on implications of criminal and civil law as it applies to the representation of immigrants and asylum seekers.
- 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 through public speaking engagements or trainings.
- 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.
- Other duties may be assigned.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. 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.
- Education and/or Experience: Juris Doctorate Degree required; minimum of three years’ experience in removal defense and/or the intersection of criminal and immigration law.
- 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. Spanish language fluency is preferred but not required, and speakers of other languages are encouraged to apply.
- Mathematical Skills: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.
- Reasoning Ability: Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
- The employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.
- The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.
- Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions, and operates all programs, services, and functions without regard to race, receipt of an order of protection, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, amnesty, physical or mental disability, protected veterans status, genetic information, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, use of FMLA, VESSA, military, and family military rights, 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