Senior Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Detention

Job Type

Full Time




United States



This position can be located in Atlanta, New Orleans or Miami)    



The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Criminal Justice Reform practice group focuses primarily on (1) reforming the juvenile, criminal justice and immigration enforcement systems so they operate fairly and equitably; (2) ensuring the dignity and humanity of those interacting with these systems; and (3) reducing the population of individuals detained and incarcerated in the states where we work.


The United States’ mass incarceration problem extends beyond just incarceration under criminal laws—it also includes the civil incarceration of noncitizens. Each year the United States detains over 350,000 people as part of enforcement of civil immigration laws. Our legal team’s work includes campaigns and litigation to improve conditions of confinement in immigrant prisons (including medical and mental health care, violence, excessive heat, poor sanitation, failure to protect from harm, First Amendment rights, etc.); end solitary confinement; ensure people detained in immigration prisons have access to counsel; and end the privatization of immigrant prisons.


Working under the supervision of the Deputy Legal Director for Criminal Justice Reform, the Senior Supervising Staff Attorney will lead SPLC’s advocacy to combat unconstitutional conditions of confinement, denial of access to counsel, and due process violations for detained immigrants by litigating individual and class action cases raising constitutional and statutory claims in federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. S/he may engage in legislative work and public advocacy. The focus of the position may change as warranted by changes in the law, the circumstances in our region, or the needs of the organization.


  • Lead the development and implementation of SPLC’s immigration detention docket challenging conditions of confinement, access to counsel, and due process violations throughout the South under the supervision of the Deputy Legal Director;
  • Develop new cases and campaigns and lead litigation and public advocacy;
  • Supervise and manage the legal work and related tasks of Senior Staff Attorneys, Staff Attorneys, Law Fellows, Interns, and Outreach Paralegals;
  • Research legal and policy issues related civil and criminal immigration imprisonment;
  • Draft briefs, motions, memos, reports and other documents in support of litigation and policy work;
  • Communicate regularly with SPLC’s clients, co-counsel, and partner organizations;
  • Represent SPLC in various forums, including before community groups;
  • Respond to requests for legal assistance;
  • Supervise outreach activities related to cases and campaigns; and,
  • Other duties as may be assigned to meet SPLC needs.


Education and Related Work Experience:

  • Juris Doctorate Degree;
  • At least seven years federal court civil litigation or comparable legal experience, preferably including litigation of systemic reform cases;
  • Strong academic background;
  • Excellent research and writing skills; and
  • Admission to the bar of one or more of SPLC’s states or willingness to sit for the next bar exam.


Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Excellent and consistent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;
  • Aptitude for and willingness to be a team player;
  • Initiative, vision, and a proven commitment to the struggle for social justice;
  • Ability to prioritize responsibilities and have fun in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment;
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively and efficiently;
  • Strong organizational skills, follow-through and flexibility around changing priorities and deadlines;
  • Ability to work on several campaigns at once in conjunction with Center attorneys;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • Understanding and sensitivity to issues client populations face;
  • Commitment to a non-hierarchical, client-centered approach to advocacy and ability to work on delicate issues in a compassionate and sensitive manner;
  • Experience working with diverse groups of partners;
  • Willingness to learn and use internal computer systems and databases; and,
  • Spanish language ability strongly preferred.


Other Special Considerations

This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.


The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of a person in this position.


To Apply

Please submit your resume, cover letter, a 5 page writing sample and a copy of your law school transcript (unofficial transcript is acceptable).


An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.



Level of Language Proficiency


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required