Job Title: Managing Attorney, Special Projects
Department: Refugee Representation
Location: Washington, DC
Reports To: Director, Refugee Representation
JOB CLASSIFICATION: Full-Time; Exempt; Non-Union
The managing attorney will lead the special projects team. This role, created in response to the legal representation needs of the Afghan refugee population, will lead the team to coordinate a wide-scale legal representation effort across the U.S. for recent Afghan refugee arrivals.
The Special Projects team within Human Rights First is coordinating, with partner organizations, the legal representation efforts for recent Afghan refugee arrivals. This coalition will ensure that individual asylum seekers are connected with pro bono attorneys around the country. Human Rights First will connect individuals with legal service providers, develop training and know-your-rights materials, and assist with limited scope technical assistance to attorneys who volunteer through the project. Additionally, Human Rights First will accept a smaller number of Afghan asylum seekers into our program for full scope direct representation or placement with our pro bono partners.
The managing attorney will coordinate with various external stakeholders (coalition partners, legal service providers, law firms, resettlement agencies, and others) to develop an innovative model of legal representation to Afghan refugees, or other rapid response efforts as needed in the future, depending on policy changes. The managing attorney will ensure that the special projects team’s values, vision, strategies, projects, and activities align with the Refugee Representation team and organization’s overall mission.
This position is available immediately and the ideal candidate will start asap.
- Lead the special project team’s day-to-day operations and serve as a Refugee Representation team leader, which includes modeling leadership, contributing to the development and implementation of team-wide strategic and operational plans, and helping implement team-wide policies and procedures;
- Work with the director and other members of Refugee Representation’s leadership team to continuously develop and refine the vision and strategic direction for ongoing operations; and
- Supervise staff by providing mentoring, coaching and professional development opportunities; oversee team selection and supervision of volunteers and interns; develop and retain a high-performing staff.
Case Selection, Placement, and Management
- Ensure that clients accepted into Human Rights First’s pro bono representation program receive high-quality legal representation from Refugee Representation staff and pro bono attorneys by providing comprehensive legal training, guidance, advice, and updates on asylum and immigration law to pro bono attorneys and internal staff;
- Review and supervise case management and quality control systems for pro bono cases;
- Identify cases appropriate for pro bono and in-house representation;
- Participate in efforts to assist Afghan refugees at U.S. military bases, including conducting intakes, when necessary;
- Spot, analyze, and respond to legal or procedural changes that affect asylum seekers, including statutory changes, proposed regulations, and decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals or federal courts;
- Oversee the recruitment of, and assignment of cases to, pro bono attorneys;
- Provide support to pro bono attorneys and Refugee Representation staff in other offices as needed, and work with the entire Refugee Representation team to ensure inter-office support and team collaboration; and
- Sustain a modest caseload of mentored and direct representation cases.
Operational Planning and Management
- Ensure effective systems to qualitatively and quantitatively track progress and regularly evaluate program components;
- Develop a referral system for asylum cases across the country, helping coordinate with legal service providers to meet the needs of Afghan refugees;
- Develop a “light touch” mentorship model, including but not limited to attorney of the day technical assistance and partnerships with experienced immigration attorneys (including at AILA) to mentor individual cases;
- Oversee and assist with development of training materials for volunteer attorneys, including the online Pro Bono Attorney Library, and other manuals, memoranda, videos, or other training media; and
- Partner with the director of Refugee Representation and Human Resources team to source and staff open positions.
- Participate in national advocacy efforts relating to asylum seekers and refugees through engagement with the media and participation in meetings with government officials; and
- Collaborate with the Refugee Protection team to identify asylum seekers to engage in advocacy efforts, including speaking with media or congressional representatives, participating in communications campaigns, or providing case information for Human Rights First reports.
Fundraising and Resource Development
- Assist in efforts to secure and maintain funding for the organization and Refugee Representation team;
- Collaborate with the director and other teams, as necessary, to write and submit grant proposals, and maintain necessary records for grant reporting and audits;
- Play a leading role in expanding and maintaining strong relationships with local law firms, law school clinics, volunteer attorneys, refugee resettlement agencies, and legal service organizations;
- Promote the organization’s mission by participating in local community events, promotional events, legal conferences, and other professional networking events to elevate the organization’s community profile; and
- Other duties as requested based on department and/or organizational need.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND EXPERIENCE
- A law degree (J.D.) conferred by a United States law school and active bar membership in any state or the District of Columbia;
- At least seven years of experience in representing asylum applicants at all levels of the administrative process;
- Excellent organizational management with the ability to coach staff; develop and manage high-performing teams; and set and achieve strategic objectives;
- Experience supervising staff, preferably on immigration law matters;
- Excellent and engaging written and oral communicator with ability to communicate patiently, respectfully, and empathetically with individuals and diverse audiences of varying backgrounds, including survivors of trauma or torture;
- Ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously; work under pressure and meet deadlines; devise, entertain, and embrace creative solutions; and identify and analyze legal issues; and
- Fluency in a second language, preferably Dari / Farsi, highly desirable.