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Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Legal Defense Project

Req ID: 7779
Location: Chicago - Loop
# of Openings: 1
FT/PT: Full time
Employment Type: Regular
Salary Schedule:
Job Notes:


National Immigrant Justice Center

Supervising Attorney – Immigrant Legal Defense Project


Program Description:

The National Immigrant Justice Center ( NIJC), a program of Heartland Alliance, 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 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.



The Supervising Attorney supervises a legal team and provides legal representation and counseling to non-detained immigrants appearing before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), and if appropriate, before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The person in this role will supervise the Counter-Trafficking Project, providing direct representation to survivors of trafficking, and provide training, technical support and legal review to volunteer attorneys for new and pending cases in the project.  This person will also supervise an in-house legal team, ensure quality legal counsel and representation, provide case support, and oversee the day-to-day operations, as well as the ongoing training and professional development of supervisees.  As a member of NIJC’s supervisory team, the supervisor will on occasion collaborate with NIJC’s other legal services projects, pro bono partners, litigation, policy and communications teams. Individual accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual Success Objectives.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Supervises legal services and oversees paralegals, attorneys, interns and support staff providing legal services; including the development of case strategy, preparation, and representation before governmental agencies.
  • Provides training, technical support and legal review to volunteer attorneys for cases assigned to the Counter Trafficking Project.
  • Ensures accurate data entry by paralegals, attorneys, and interns.
  • Oversees and reviews legal intakes; makes legal assessments and determinations regarding representation.
  • Ensures timely case preparation, including case opening process, preparing filings, trial preparation, appeals, case closures, and other case management practices.
  • Works with supervisory team to build a strong team and oversee the team’s projects.
  • Provides recommendations based on case trends to inform project-based strategic decisions.
  • Maintains and develops strategic partnerships with key stakeholders.
  • Conducts factual and legal research.
  • Provides legal representation to immigrants in immigration proceedings, including before an immigration officer, an immigration judge, and before the Board of Immigration Appeals as appropriate.
  • Drafts correspondence and documents, including applications, briefs and reports.
  • Improves delivery of legal services, including use of technology to improve efficiency.
  • Trains lawyers and non-lawyers in the field of immigration law, especially in the areas of T visas and related forms of relief.
  • Conducts legal presentations regarding law and case(s) to NIJC staff and members of the immigrant community.
  • Maintains accurate, thorough and timely records.
  • Identifies trends and emerging issues and responses to issues.
  • Maintains current knowledge regarding immigration law and policies and procedures.
  • Advances an anti-racist organization that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Reacts to change productively and handles other essentials duties as 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:  A law degree (JD), license to practice law and at least 3 years’ experience in the legal field, preferably in the field of immigration law. Previous supervisory experience preferred but not required.
  • Language Skills: Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.  Additional non-English language skills are preferred.
  • Computer Skills:  Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
  • Driving: May be required to have a current, valid IL Driver’s License.  May be required to drive their own vehicle and/or an Organization vehicle to and from sites.
  • 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.


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; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 5 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.


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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