Religious Immigration Services (RIS) Staff Attorney

Job Type

Full Time



Start Date


Application Deadline



8757 Georgia Avenue
Suite 850
Silver Spring
United States


Summary Description: The Staff Attorney has responsibility for providing direct legal immigration services to dioceses and religious institutes sponsoring foreign born religious workers; upholding a high level of legal responsibility in analyzing and applying complex immigration law and policy; developing, maintaining, and managing attorney client relationships; assisting the section to develop priorities and strategies to fulfill its mission; and maintaining expertise on religious immigration law which imparts not only clients, but also CLINIC affiliates, non-clients, and other attorneys.

Primary Responsibilities:

Legal Representation

  • Represent a minimum of 120 individual cases before Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Administrative Appeals Office
  • Advise dioceses and religious institutes on immigration options for individuals they are sponsoring
  • Exercise independent legal judgment and discretion in clients’ work
  • Maintain a broad knowledge and understanding of U.S. immigration law
  • Help dioceses and religious institutes to develop immigration priorities which will impact an individual’s immigration status and the organization’s ability to minister to Catholic populations
  • Maintain regular contact with consular officers and DHS liaisons
  • Advise clients on long-term planning on immigration status, permanent residence, and naturalization
  • Research immigration law and regulations
  • Analyze complex legal issues with long-term implications
  • Analyze individual’s immigration documents and organization’s qualifying documents
  • Review client’s immigration history and backgroud
  • Develop strategies tailored to individual cases which impact major life decisions
  • Communicate and consult daily on immigration matters with clients and potential clients
  • Respond daily to email, phone calls, faxes, etc. from clients
  • Prepare and provide site visits to dioceses and religious institutes to assist them on complex immigration law and options, and to help them establish appropriate internal procedures regarding foreign-born religious workers

Case Management

  • Manage cases from the initial non-immigrant stage through permanent residence and naturalization
  • Maintain expertise in managing caseload through the Section’s Case Management Software (CMS)
  • Update CMS on a daily basis with case notes, reminders, call-ups, and new documents
  • Regular review of all active files to ensure compliance with immigration law, current information and documents, and to determine immediate or future action
  • Prepare monthly reports on pending cases, completed cases, current caseload, requests for evidence, appeals, and delayed cases due to USCIS backlogs
  • Participate in weekly case management meetings
  • Advise clients on record keeping and strategic planning for immigration purposes
  • Maintain client confidentiality in providing dual representation for dioceses/religious communities, and religious workers


  • Work closely with CLINIC’s Advocacy Section to develop priorities and strategies for advocacy, providing Advocacy Section with compelling stories of religious worker cases
  • Provide support to USCCB on religious immigration issues as needed
  • Work with Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to assist with individual advocacy of specific cases
  • Contact members of Congress on individual constituent cases
  • Respond to government regulations affecting religious worker cases
  • Willingness to understand, respect and contribute to CLINIC’s vision, values, and beliefs
  • Fulfill CLINIC’s expectations that all staff:
  • Serve with integrity
  • Develop innovative solutions
  • Promote learning – for themselves, for their colleagues, and for our network
  • Cultivate constructive relationships
  • Model stewardship

Training and Technical Assistance

  • Prepare and provide trainings for staff of dioceses and religious institutes, through seminars, workshops, and webinars
  • Work with Training and Legal Support Section in developing training programs for attorneys and staff of CLINIC affiliates
  • Prepare and or contribute to a quarterly newsletter and pamphlets on religious immigration issues to inform clients on religious immigration issues
  • Staff a weekly helpline to respond to religious immigration questions from non-clients
  • Respond to inquiries from the Training and Legal Support Section on religious immigration questions
  • Provide information to the Capacity Building Section about affiliate needs for support and remedial interventions
  • Act in a formal “lead” or “senior” role over other positions that essentially perform the same work

Outreach and Development of Organizational Clients

  • Participate in working groups on religious immigration issues with national Catholic partner agencies, non-Catholic agencies, and American Immigration Lawyers’ Association
  • Promote on-site consultations for religious institutes, dioceses and seminaries to review their policies and procedures on religious immigration cases
  • As assigned, accept opportunities to speak at conferences held by the Legal Resource Center for Religious, National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, National Religious Vocation Conference, and International Priest Institute at Oblate School of Theology and other religious institutes, dioceses and seminaries
  • As assigned, writes articles and participates in seminars on religious immigration issues sponsored by other organizations
  • Conduct outreach to other organization for invitations to write articles, participate in seminars and to speak on religious immigration issues
  • Through the Helpline, offer legal services for a fee to qualifying organizations  
  • Market the Section’s legal services to dioceses and religious communities
  • Represent the perspective of the Section’s Convening Team

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Juris Doctor Degree
  • One to three years of immigration law practice
  • Member in good standing of the bar of the highest court in any state or the District of Columbia
  • In-depth knowledge of immigration law
  • Strong legal analytical skills
  • Able to successfully make recommendations that affect the entire Section and, on occasion, the entire organization
  • Ability to travel on occasion for trainings, site visits, and conferences
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Able to multi-task and manage priorities
  • Experience using online Case Management Software
  • Strong organization skills

Work Environment:

  • This position may require extended periods of standing, sitting, as well as some repetitive movements, bending and repetitive lifting of significant weight.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the key components and primary responsibilities.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include health, dental, vision, and life insurance, retirement plan, and generous leave benefits. CLINIC is an Equal Opportunity Employer; women, minorities, immigrants are encouraged to apply.

Level of Language Proficiency

Spanish, but not required.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Applicants should submit a resume, cover letter, writing sample, and salary requirements. Candidates are encouraged to apply on or before November 30, 2018; however, the position will remain open until filled.  FAX: (301) 565-4824, and no phone calls please. Visit our webpage at to review other job openings. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.