National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60604
Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center
Director of Policy
The Director of Policy helps develop, implement, and execute policy priorities. The Director is responsible for advancing NIJC’s strategic advocacy efforts, primarily at the federal level. In addition, the Director of Policy coordinates the policy reform elements of NIJC’s Detention, Democracy, and Due Process (D3P) Project, a national campaign to reform the immigration enforcement and detention system. The Director of Policy will advance these goals in collaboration with NIJC’s legal and communications staff, as well as with immigrant and human rights organizations, advocates, legislators, representatives from administrative agencies, other policy makers, and the media. Specific accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual Success Objectives, within the framework outlined below. The position reports to NIJC’s Executive Director and works closely with the Executive Director to ensure that NIJC’s advocacy goals are achieved. This position is based in Washington, D.C. or Chicago.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Lead NIJC’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and serve as one of the organization’s primary voices/representatives in Washington, D.C.
- Coordinate with NIJC’s communications, litigation, detention, and legal services staff to devise strategic approaches to advance reform goals. These may include litigation, petitions for rulemaking, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties complaints, international human rights mechanisms, and other avenues for advocacy.
- Analyze, with input from NIJC legal staff, pending legislation and amendments; prepare analysis and suggested modifications; prepare talking points; and work with staff to identify client stories to support policy positions.
- Develop and maintain relationships with members of Congress and members of the administration and federal agencies consistent with achieving NIJC’s advocacy goals.
- Develop questions and provide information to policymakers and legislators engaged in Congressional hearings and other agency oversight; track and research executive branch nominations related to immigration policy and/or enforcement; recommend hearing and oversight questions to policy makers and legislators.
- Conduct educational briefings for Congressional staff on issues relevant to NIJC’s priority concerns related to immigration reform, due process, and protection mechanisms.
- Write and deliver remarks/speeches on immigration issues at conferences and other events; participate in panel discussions.
- Work in formal and informal coalitions of legal aid and advocacy organizations to advocate for policy reform; draft and edit statements, reports, and other jointly-produced products.
- Educate policy makers, the media, and the public on pending legislation and administrative forms of relief.
- Analyze and draft comments in response to agency notice-and-comment rulemaking; prepare comments on agency-proposed policies, guidance, programs, and other initiatives not subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking.
- Write advocacy and educational materials on emerging policy issues, and work with NIJC staff, Leadership Board members, pro bono attorneys, project partners, clients, and other stakeholders to build their capacity to respond to such issues effectively.
- Represent NIJC with regional and national partners, colleague agencies, and national networks on immigration policy matters.
- Work with litigation team and participate in discussions on litigation goals and strategies, with a particular focus on how other forms of advocacy may complement litigation plan.
- In coordination with the Executive Director and the leadership team:
- Create strategic policy priorities on issues related to immigration enforcement and detention practices; due process protections; and issues related to refugees, asylum seekers, children, LGBTI immigrants, and survivors of domestic violence and trafficking.
- Develop and implement diverse grassroots, local, state, and federal advocacy strategies on immigrant rights issues.
- Write and edit grant reports and project proposals and contribute to cultivating and maintaining individual and organizational donors.
- Provide direct supervision and support to the Associate Director of Policy as well as other staff, interns and volunteers as assigned.
- React to feedback productively and perform other job-related duties as assigned, including providing backup support to NIJC’s other programs and their clients.
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 “goes the extra mile,” particularly in response to tight deadlines and emerging opportunities;
- is a strong public speaker who can represent NIJC well and can confidently articulate the organization’s policy goals;
- identifies/anticipates emerging opportunities or issues; and
- 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: J.D. or relevant master’s degree; minimum of five years of related professional experience.
- Language Skills: Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and exceptional interpersonal skills.
- Other Skills: Experience working with elected officials and/or legislative and administrative agencies required. Experience with immigrant or refugee issues and experience working with federal budgets and congressional appropriations a plus. Ability to lead teams and mentor staff and other individuals.
- Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows and include a willingness to learn new software.
This position provides provides general paralegal support through intake, research, case review, documentation preparation and other related tasks to support general operations and the work of staff and pro bono attorneys. This posting is for a position with the Immigrant Children's Protection Project, which represents and advocates for detained and non-detained immigrant children who face the possibility of deportation to a dangerous homeland. NIJC works with a strong network of pro bono attorneys to ensure that every child who comes before the Chicago immigration court has access to legal counsel.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts intake, as assigned.
- Conducts legal and factual research.
- Assesses cases to determine eligibility.
- Conducts interviews with clients and witnesses.
- Drafts applications, affidavits, letters and/or legal pleadings and prepares supporting documentation.
- Prepares materials for submission to Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Court, or other entities as appropriate.
- Reviews, analyzes and presents cases to supervisor.
- Conducts educational presentations.
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures.
- Maintains complete, thorough, accurate and current records in an organized fashion in accordance with legal standards, rules and ethics.
- Education and/or Experience: Bachelors degree with demonstrated experience working with immigrants, refugees and/or asylum seekers. At least one year of experience working with these populations preferred.
- Language Skills: Fluency in another language may be required. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences.
- Other Qualifications: Excellent writing, editing, organizational and computer skills required. Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and perform well under strict deadlines.
The staff attorney provides legal representation and immigration service counseling to immigrants and refugees appearing before the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and other government administrative or service agencies, as needed and/or as appropriate. This posting is for a position with the Immigrant Children’s Protection Project, which represents and advocates for detained and non-detained immigrant children who face the possibility of deportation to a dangerous homeland. The Children’s Project works with a strong network of pro bono attorneys to ensure that every child who comes before the Chicago immigration court has access to legal counsel.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Conducts preliminary intake interview, gathers all relevant facts for presentation at Unit meetings. Makes assessment of income eligibility and makes appropriate referrals for those individuals not eligible for Organization services. Recommends exceptions to financial guidelines to the Supervisor.
- Develops and implements preliminary case strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in terms of immigration law and procedure. Develops further strategy in consultation with supervisor.
- Prepares the case for hearing, drafting legal papers, engaging in negotiation, presenting evidence, etc. in accord with the Code of Professional Responsibility for the legal profession.
- Conducts assessment of client on social, psychological and economic functioning and determines appropriate interventions and referrals. Ensures the provision of a wide range of services for clients.
- Carries a volume of work as required by the department. Has in-depth knowledge of legal and other resources. Provides a wide range of court advocacy services.
- Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures. Remains current on implications of criminal and civil law as it apples to the representation of immigrants and refugees.
- Develops and maintains professional relationships with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), government and social service organizations and community organizations. Interprets immigration and department policies and programs to the public, including public speaking.
- In accord with the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflict of interest.
- Maintains complete and accurate client records. Prepares timely statistical reports. Conducts quarterly case audits for presentation and review of the Supervisor.
- Participates in training on immigration procedures as assigned by the Supervisor. May conduct training sessions as assigned by the Supervisor.
- Participates in developing and implementing special projects. May have the primary responsibility for a project involving presentation of a particular ethnic group, immigration problem or advocacy issues on a systematic level.
- Identifies trends and recurring legal and social concerns. Recommends strategies for solutions and other needed advocacy.
- Interprets and translates for department and other Organization staff as needed.
- Adheres to professional standards as outlined by governmental bodies, (and/or other appropriate professional associations), private funding sources, Organization plans/policies and Unit guidelines. Participates in periodic evaluative reviews and/or in-house and external staff training to ensure that she/he understand and continues to adhere to such standards. Initiates requests for assistance or guidance from Supervisor to address new issues or complex concepts affecting adherence to professional standards.
- Analytical - Synthesizes complex or diverse information; Collects and researches data; Uses intuition and experience to complement data; Designs work flows and procedures.
- Design - Generates creative solutions; Translates concepts and information into images; Uses feedback to modify designs; Applies design principles; Demonstrates attention to detail.
- Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
- Project Management - Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Manages project team activities.
- Technical Skills - Assesses own strengths and weaknesses; Pursues training and development opportunities; Strives to continuously build knowledge and skills; Shares expertise with others.
- Customer Service - Manages difficult or emotional customer situations; Responds promptly to customer needs; Solicits customer feedback to improve service; Responds to requests for service and assistance; Meets commitments.
- Interpersonal Skills - Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; Maintains confidentiality; Listens to others without interrupting; Keeps emotions under control; Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.
- Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
- Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.
- Teamwork - Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; Gives and welcomes feedback; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Puts success of team above own interests; Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; Supports everyone's efforts to succeed.
- Visionary Leadership - Displays passion and optimism; Inspires respect and trust; Mobilizes others to fulfill the vision; Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates
- Change Management - Develops workable implementation plans; Communicates changes effectively; Builds commitment and overcomes resistance; Prepares and supports those affected by change; Monitors transition and evaluates results.
- Delegation - Delegates work assignments; Matches the responsibility to the person; Sets expectations and monitors delegated activities; Provides recognition for results.
- Leadership - Exhibits confidence in self and others; Inspires and motivates others to perform well; Effectively influences actions and opinions of others; Accepts feedback from others; Gives appropriate recognition to others.
- Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.
- Business Acumen - Understands business implications of decisions; Demonstrates knowledge of market and competition; Aligns work with strategic goals.
- Cost Consciousness - Works within approved budget; Develops and implements cost saving measures; Conserves organizational resources.
- Diversity - Demonstrates knowledge of EEO policy; Shows respect and sensitivity for cultural differences; Educates others on the value of diversity; Promotes a harassment-free environment; Builds a diverse workforce.
- Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
- Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
- Strategic Thinking - Develops strategies to achieve organizational goals; Understands organization's strengths & weaknesses; Analyzes market and competition; Identifies external threats and opportunities; Adapts strategy to changing conditions.
- Judgment - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
- Motivation - Sets and achieves challenging goals; Demonstrates persistence and overcomes obstacles; Measures self against standard of excellence; Takes calculated risks to accomplish goals.
- Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Uses time efficiently; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Organizes or schedules other people and their tasks; Develops realistic action plans.
- Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
- Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.
- Quantity - Meets productivity standards; Completes work in timely manner; Strives to increase productivity; Works quickly.
- Safety and Security - Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly.
- Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events.
- Attendance/Punctuality - Is consistently at work and on time; Ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent; Arrives at meetings and appointments on time.
- Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to long hours of work when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
- Initiative - Volunteers readily; Undertakes self-development activities; Seeks increased responsibilities; Takes independent actions and calculated risks; Looks for and takes advantage of opportunities; Asks for and offers help when needed.
- Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
- Education and/or Experience: Juris Doctorate Degree required; and one year of direct experience in social service counseling and/or legal representation.
- Language Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public. Ability to read, speak and write in at least one non-English language.
- Mathematical Skills: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.
- Reasoning Ability: Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
NIJC offers internships to law students and undergraduate students to work in a variety of its different legal services programs. The internships present an excellent opportunity to learn more about U.S. immigration law and policies while making a difference in the lives of low-income and impoverished individuals who are in need of legal representation. NIJC is now accepting applications for Fall 2016 part-time internships.
NIJC is currently accepting applications for post-graduate legal fellowships. NIJC is open to any funding source identified by a candidate, but expects to, at a minimum, identify a candidate for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship application, and a Skadden Fellowship or a Soros Fellowship with NIJC's Counter-Trafficking Project. NIJC also welcomes applicants who will be seeking post-graduate fellowship funding through their own law schools.
- Cover Letter: Explain your interest in NIJC and any experiences you have working with immigrant populations.
- Resume: Identify any language skills that you have. Fluency in Spanish is required for almost all positions with NIJC.
- Writing Sample: Provide a 5-10 page excerpt from a document you have produced in law school or in a legal position that is your own work.
- Brief Project Proposal: Most post-graduate legal fellowships require applicants to propose a specific project. Please give a brief description of the kind of work you would like to do. Your proposal should explain why that work is important and how you think it would complement NIJC’s existing work. NIJC will work with the selected candidate to ensure a strong proposal. Candidates are welcome to propose work with any of NIJC’s existing projects, but we are most interested in individuals who are interested in working with immigrant victims of trafficking, detained immigrants, and/or asylum seekers.
- Other: If you would like NIJC to host you for a fellowship other than any of the ones listed above, please provide a description of the fellowship and its requirements with your application. In addition to the above information, finalists will be asked to provide references and transcripts, and will be selected for various rounds of interviews.
Interested candidates should submit the following information to NIJC by June 30, 2016. Documents should be sent to Tarrajna Walsh. No phone calls please.