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Senior Litigation Attorney

Req ID: 7640
Location: California
# of Openings: 1
FT/PT: Full time
Employment Type: Regular
Salary Schedule: Grade 107
Job Notes:


National Immigrant Justice Center

Senior Litigation Attorney – San Diego


Program Description:

The National Immigrant Justice Center ( NIJC) provides direct legal services to, and advocates for, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Since its founding more than three decades ago, NIJC has been unique in blending individual client advocacy with broad-based systemic change. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with a presence in Washington, DC; Goshen and Indianapolis, Indiana; and San Diego, California. For this role, NIJC seeks a senior litigation attorney for its San Diego office.


Position Summary:

NIJC seeks an attorney with federal-court litigation experience and prior knowledge of immigration law for a full-time position that will advance NIJC’s mission in its San Diego office.  This position will pursue litigation and policy issues, particularly those that stem from border related enforcement practices. We seek applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to immigrant and civil rights, and who would be interested in, and capable of, contributing to innovative litigation and advocacy in the federal courts, both at the district court and in the courts of appeal.


An approximate division of work is as follows:

  • Maintain an ongoing partnership with the San Diego Federal Defenders. The attorney will provide regular consultations and periodic trainings to federal defenders. (20% of the role.)


  • Pursue federal court litigation. Specific litigation will focus on border enforcement practices, the detention of immigrants, and the criminalization of immigration. (60% of the role.)


  • Coordinate within NIJC and across organizations. NIJC’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, Policy Team, and Family Integrity Project do work that is closely tied to border related enforcement practices. The attorney will coordinate with teammates engaged in those efforts, collaborate with other border organizations, and will engage with pro bono attorneys. (20% of the role.)


Essential Duties and Responsibilities :

  • Pursue existing litigation issues, identify new litigation issues, and develop legal strategy
  • Provide legal representation and/or lead or participate in litigation efforts through all phases of litigation, including motions practice, discovery, trial, brief writing, and oral argument (as appropriate)
  • Conduct legal research and draft pleadings and briefs
  • Provide consultations and trainings to Federal Defenders to enable them to best advise clients who will likely be transferred to immigration detention following a criminal conviction
  • Pursue impact related legal representation that is referred to NIJC from the Federal Defenders
  • Collaborate with community-based organizations to identify cases/plaintiffs
  • Recruit and work with pro bono partners
  • Collaborate across NIJC with projects working on border related issues
  • Communicate via the media regarding legal advocacy and policy efforts
  • Identify trends and emerging issues
  • Other duties as assigned



  • Education and/or Experience: A law degree (JD), license to practice law. At least four years practicing law is required, at least six years is preferred. Preferred experience in immigration and/or civil rights law. Candidates with at least two years of litigation experience preferred.
  • Language Skills: Spanish fluency preferred. However, speakers of other languages are encouraged to apply. Monolingual English speakers will also be considered.
  • Self-motivated and committed to civil liberties advocacy
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills
  • Ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers (including pro bono attorneys), 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
  • Ability to represent individuals in complex cases and to formulate and implement sophisticated legal strategies


Physical Demands:

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, and sit.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds.


Work Environment: 

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.


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