Careers

 

Open positions at the National Immigrant Justice Center

Asylum Project Paralegal

Immigrant Children's Protection Project Paralegal

Immigrant Children's Protection Project Attorney

Outreach Coordinator

LGBT Pro Bono Project Coordinator

Assistant

Internships

Fellowships


Paralegal (Asylum Project)

This position 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 Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Project for Protection of Asylum Seekers, which provides free legal representation to people fleeing persecution and torture in their native countries.

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.
  • Ensures the accuracy, substance and timeliness of statistical and narrative reports, projects, schedules and other relevant work products.
  • In accord with organizational policies and the ethical standards required of the legal profession, the Code of Professional Responsibility, preserves client confidentiality, accounts for client monies and avoids conflicts of interest.

Qualifications:

  • 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.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.



Paralegal (Immigrant Children's Protection Project)

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.

Qualifications:

  • 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.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.
 


Staff Attorney (Immigrant Children's Protection Project)

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.

Competencies:

  • 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.

Qualifications:

  • 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.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.


Outreach Coordinator

The Outreach Coordinator is responsible for serving as the NIJC representative with community-based, faith-based and ethnic organizations, domestic violence shelters, schools, governmental agencies, including public libraries and legal aid programs working with immigrants to educate and engage their constituents and/or clients on access to immigration legal services. The Coordinator will be expected to lead organizational outreach: identify potential partner organizations, develop materials to share with the organizations’ staff and materials for clients/constituents, and create networks for collaboration in the delivery of legal services to low-income immigrants. The Coordinator will work closely with in-house and external experts on the use of technology in the delivery of legal services, as well as with supervising attorneys from NIJC’s programs in order to keep abreast of the most current developments in immigration law.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Identify underserved immigrant communities and develop comprehensive outreach strategy to ensure immigrants have access to accurate legal information
  • Identify and collaborate with strategic partners for effective outreach to immigrant communities
  • Conduct outreach to immigrants and/or immigrant communities and to organizations working in these communities
  • Develop an expertise in technological tools that will assist in the delivery of legal services, including NIJC’s online intake tool, and provide training on those tools
  • Maintain database to track outreach and outcome
  • Manage the publication and distribution of NIJC’s materials and online educational webinars
  • Maintain current knowledge of immigration policies, procedures, and internal structures
  • Serve as conduit of current information for community-based, faith-based and ethnic organizations and government agencies, including schools and public libraries
  • Manage educational trainings and presentations at law firms
  • Lead NIJC’s outreach on the delivery of legal services
  • Conduct intakes on a regular basis
  • Assess cases for eligibility for immigration relief
  • Prepare applications and evidence to support applications, including affidavits
  • Provide representation before USCIS

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Master's degree preferred. Minimum of two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required. May give credit towards years of experience if attained a degree higher than a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Language Skills: Fluency in English and Spanish or French. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.
  • Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
  • Other Skills: Knowledge of: principles and practices of communications and public information techniques through different mediums, including print, television, and internet; writing and editing techniques for a variety of audiences. Ability to: assimilate and convey messages on a variety of issues relating to due process violations and immigration detention in a succinct and compelling way and tailored to different audiences; write effective copy, press releases, design and layout electronic and print newsletters and website pages; work independently with limited supervision; be goal-oriented and multi-task; have a diplomatic presence; develop and maintain good working relationships with a wide variety of peer organizations; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.
 


Pro Bono Project Coordinator (LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative)

The Pro Bono Project Coordinator will work with diverse national partners to ensure immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have access to counsel in immigration proceedings. The objectives of the project are to: 1) coordinate effective representation of vulnerable immigrant populations, including victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, unaccompanied immigrant children, and LGBT and HIV-Positive refugees and asylum seekers; 2) increase the broad-based impact of NIJC’ legal services program by coordinating regular pro bono training opportunities; 3) respond and document national asylum hotline calls; 4) respond and document the needs of partner organizations, including conducting issue-based training on legal relief available to immigrants; and 5) manage NIJC’s nationwide pro bono outreach.

The Coordinator will be responsible for serving as the NIJC representative with pro bono attorneys and law firms around the country, NIJC staff and other immigrant and human rights organizations to ensure access to justice for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The Coordinator will be expected to lead organizational outreach: identify potential partner organizations, build the capacity for each of these organizations to address refugee protection issues, and develop strong networks among peer organizations on a national level. The Coordinator will work closely with supervising attorneys from NIJC’s programs in order to keep abreast of the most current developments in refugee and immigration law.

This position is with NIJC's LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, which provides comprehensive representation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender immigrants and asylum seekers as well as those living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to providing these services, the LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative runs an Asylum Documentation Project, which provides information and technical assistance to LGBT asylum seekers who are detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) throughout the country. Through this project, NIJC provides LGBT immigrant detainees with (1) basic orientation to the various forms of immigration relief, (2) information about the treatment of LGBT people in the individual’s home country, (3) information about appealing a decision, and (4) instructions about how to file a grievance concerning detention conditions.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage and respond to NIJC 800 line from refugees and asylum seekers
  • Oversee database to track individual cases and outcome
  • Analyze human rights violations and develop materials for national advocacy efforts
  • Manage the publication and distribution of NIJC’s pro bono training materials and online educational webinars
  • Maintain current knowledge of immigration policies, procedures, and internal structures
  • Serve as conduit of current information for law firms and non-governmental organizations
  • Manage educational trainings and presentations at law firms, non-governmental organizations, and government offices
  • Lead NIJC’s pro bono outreach at nationwide pro bono events
  • Supervise asylum project interns

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree required. Masters’ degree preferred. Minimum of two years of experience in human rights field, legal and/or communications work required. May give credit towards years of experience if attained a degree higher than a Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Language Skills: Fluency in English and another language is required; French- and Spanish-speakers are preferred. Ability to communicate articulately with internal and external audiences. Excellent oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated competency in public speaking and strong interpersonal skills required.
  • Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.
  • Other Skills: Knowledge of principles and practices of communications and public information techniques through different mediums, including print, television, and internet; writing and editing techniques for a variety of audiences. Ability to assimilate and convey messages on a variety of issues relating to due process violations and immigration detention in a succinct and compelling way and tailored to different audiences; write effective copy, press releases, design and layout electronic and print newsletters and website pages; work independently with limited supervision; be goal-oriented and multi-task; have a diplomatic presence; develop and maintain good working relationships with a wide variety of peer organizations; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.
 


Assistant

The Assistant provides administrative and operational support to the NIJC Executive Director. Provides back up support and assistance to executive coordinator as needed.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Performs routine clerical/support tasks for executive staff including but not limited to: word processing, filing, ordering supplies, scanning and photocopying, distribution of mail, answering telephones and maintaining records.
  • Answers incoming calls, takes messages, welcomes visitors, and responds to routine inquiries for the department or program in accord with established Organizational standards (i.e. First Impressions Standards) and program guidelines.
  • Schedules meetings and responds to requests within this position's responsibilities.
  • Maintains confidentiality of all documents and other information. Prepares purchase orders, handles documents and ensures the appropriate filing and distribution of information as assigned.
  • Assists the Executive Coordinator with scheduling and other decisions related to clerical and support functions.
  • Performs routine administrative tasks including but not limited to expense reimbursements, scheduling, word processing, filing, photocopying and data entry.
  • Ensures the cleanliness and comfort of reception area and reports maintenance, equipment or facility issues to appropriate staff.
  • Sorts and distributes incoming mail and deliveries, processes outgoing mail, and handles requests for messenger and delivery services.
  • Ensures timely and accurate filing of program records and files and maintains confidentiality.
  • Responsible for the ordering, receiving and distribution of office supplies and monitors inventory levels.
  • Initiates requests for assistance or guidance from Supervisor to address new issues or complex concepts affecting adherence to professional standards.

Qualifications:

  • Education and/or Experience: High school diploma or equivalent and one year of related office or administrative experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Other Qualifications: Basic computer proficiency, including knowledge of word processing software.
  • Language Skills: Fluency in a second language may be required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including phone etiquette. Ability to read and interpret documents such operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine correspondence.
  • Mathematical Skills: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals.
  • Reasoning Ability: Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.

Click here for full job description and how to apply on Heartland Alliance's job board.
 


Internships

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.

Click here for more information about available internships and how to apply.
 

Fellowships

NIJC is not currently accepting applications for post-graduate legal fellowships, but we expect to begin accepting applications for Fall 2016 soon. Please check back soon for application deadlines and submission instructions. 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 possibly a Skadden Fellowship or a Soros Fellowship.

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NIJC is a program of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights that champions the human rights and improves the lives of men, women, and children who are threatened by poverty or danger. For more than 100 years we have been providing solutions- both through services and policy- that move individuals from crisis to stability and on to success. Our work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security serves more than 100,000 people annually, helping them build better lives. Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at (312) 660-1431.
 
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