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Asylum Pro Bono Project Coordinator

Req ID: 8008
Location: Chicago - Loop
# of Openings: 1
FT/PT: Full time
Employment Type: Regular
Salary Schedule:
Job Notes:


National Immigrant Justice Center
Pro Bono Coordinator, Asylum 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 Asylum Pro Bono Coordinator will be the initial point-of-contact for individuals seeking asylum representation through the Project and for volunteer attorneys who wish to provide pro bono representation to asylum seekers through NIJC.  The Coordinator conducts and coordinates asylum intakes; prepares asylum cases in conjunction with project staff; supports pro bono attorneys handling asylum matters; and assists with the development of asylum pro bono materials and trainings.  Individual accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual Success Objectives, within the framework outlined below.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate NIJC’s non-detained asylum intakes, responds to internal and external referrals, and conducts asylum intakes
  • Make recommendations to the project attorneys regarding case assessments and feasibility of pro bono placement
  • Serve as the initial point-of-contact for pro bono inquiries from current and prospective pro bono attorneys and coordinators at law firms and corporations across the country regarding NIJC’s work
  • Provide referrals for post-asylum ancillary services for NIJC asylum clients
  • Generate reports regarding NIJC’s asylum pro bono work
  • Track individual asylum cases, pro bono placement, and outcomes in NIJC’s database
  • Coordinate legal trainings and workshops for asylum pro bono attorneys
  • Create and update NIJC asylum pro bono training materials in collaboration with the Asylum Project staff
  • Compile pro bono summaries for distribution in the monthly pro bono newsletter
  • Collaborate with the pro bono manager to conduct outreach and recruitment of potential pro bono attorneys
  • Coordinate the referral of asylum cases to pro bono attorneys
  • Respond to questions from asylum pro bono attorneys and refer questions to the project attorneys as appropriate
  • Participate in a bi-annual audit of the Asylum Project’s pro bono cases
  • Participate in legal trainings and review legal materials to remain current on immigration law, policies, and procedures
  • Interpret for Spanish-speaking clients and translate Spanish-language documents as needed
  • Assist in the representation of in-house asylum clients
  • Reacts to change productively and handles other essentials duties as assigned.


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 take initiative 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 two 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: assimilate and 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.

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.

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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