JOB TITLE: Staff Attorney, Special Projects
DEPARTMENT: Refugee Representation
LOCATION: Washington D.C (Remote)
REPORTS TO: Managing Attorney (NY)
JOB CLASSIFICATION: Full-Time; Exempt; Union
PURPOSE OF THE JOB
The Staff Attorney, Special Projects will assist in administering Human Rights First’s pro bono asylum legal representation work through Project: Afghan Legal Assistance (PALA). This role, created in response to the legal representation needs of the Afghan refugee population, will help 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 staff attorney will help identify cases for pro bono and direct representation, assist in administering light-touch and full-scope mentorship of pro bono cases, and generally help to coordinate the legal representation of Afghan individuals in asylum, special immigrant visa, and other immigration forms of relief.
This position will begin in January 2022 and last for two years, contingent upon additional funding.
- Conduct legal screenings and intake interviews with Afghan refugees in the United States arrivals;
- Participate in efforts to assist Afghan refugees at U.S. military bases, including conducting intakes or participating in workshops or know-your-rights presentations, when necessary;
- Assist in identifying cases for pro bono placement and direct representation within Project: Afghan Legal Assistance;
- Ensure that refugees represented by Human Rights First’s pro bono team receive high-quality legal representation by: (1) providing in-depth mentoring to volunteer attorneys; and (2) directly representing clients, when necessary;
- Provide volunteer attorneys with prompt and thorough legal and procedural support on pro bono asylum cases, including conducting trainings, strategizing on individual cases, reviewing draft submissions, and informing volunteers of significant legal developments in asylum law;
- Build and maintain strong relationships with local law firms, corporations, law school clinics, and volunteer attorneys;
- Assist in placing our cases with volunteer attorneys, and promote attorney interest in pro bono representation of asylum seekers;
- Collaborate with other local service providers to strategize on how to best meet the needs of Afghan refugees and improve access to legal representation nationwide;
- Identify, 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 and federal courts;
- Provide legal advice and guidance to in-house legal services coordinators and interns;
- Assist in managing law school and undergraduate internship program, including helping recruit and supervise interns;
- 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.
- Promote Human Rights First’s mission by participating in local community, promotional, and other professional networking events to increase the organization’s profile in the community;
- Assist in efforts to secure and maintain funding for the organization and Refugee Representation team; and
- Other duties as requested based on the team and/or organization’s needs.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND EXPERIENCE
- A law degree (J.D.) conferred by a U.S. law school and active bar membership in any state or the District of Columbia;
- At least three years of direct representation of asylum seekers at all levels of the administrative process;
- Experience with or knowledge of the Special Immigrant Visa process, refugee processing, and humanitarian parole, a plus;
- Fluency in a second language, preferably Dari/Farsi or Pashto, highly desirable;
- Experience representing Afghan asylum-seekers, or demonstrated commitment to providing culturally competent representation to Afghans;
- Commitment to working with volunteer lawyers and experience mentoring other attorneys, especially on immigration law matters;
- Ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously, work under pressure, meet deadlines, and identify and analyze legal issues;
- Ability to communicate patiently, respectfully, and empathetically with individuals from a variety of backgrounds, as well as survivors of trauma or torture;
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
- Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively, particularly in a collegial, team‐ based approach to work;
- Adaptability to embrace and navigate new, dynamic projects;
- Ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization;
- Demonstrated ability to work successfully across organizational lines, to work comfortably in a variety of settings, including legal, academic, and advocacy, and to work confidently with government officials and the media; and
- Ability to occasionally travel to U.S. military bases housing Afghan refugees, whether by car or plane (travel and mileage expenses reimbursed).
- Must reside in the continental United States.
Interested candidates should apply at https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/careers.
Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing staff from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective.