Staff Attorney, Detained Adult Program- Legal Orientation Program (LOP)

Who We Are:

CAIR Coalition fights every day alongside immigrant children and adults who are detained and facing deportation. We provide legal and social services to immigrants in the Capital Region and beyond.

The Detained Adult Program (DAP) works with hundreds of adults who are detained by ICE each year, providing information, support, and legal representation. We provide trauma-sensitive, person-centered services, and deeply value the autonomy of the people we work with in detention as they navigate the fundamentally inhumane immigration system. 

Role Description:

A staff attorney in the Detained Adult Program’s Legal Orientation Program (LOP) focuses on the provision of direct legal services to immigrant adults held in facilities in Virginia who are unrepresented and cannot afford private counsel. These services include: (i) delivering Know Your Rights presentations and workshops, (ii) conducting intakes with all unrepresented persons, (iii) triaging and screening cases for pro bono placement with internal teams at CAIR Coalition and external partners, and liaising with these partners, (iv) mentoring external pro bono attorneys, and (v) providing pro se assistance to individuals CAIR Coalition is unable to match with pro bono counsel.

In this work, LOP attorneys are responsible for identifying trends and emerging issues faced by the people we work with in detention and coordinating responses. Attorneys in this program also occasionally directly represent detained clients in their immigration proceedings, however this is not the focus of the role.

General Duties and Responsibilities [1]:

Direct Services to Detained Unrepresented People ~85%:

  • Plan and lead visits to government detention facilities throughout Virginia (approximately 2-4 full days per month, including 2-day overnight visits), including oversight and supervision of staff and volunteers during visits and assistance in preparation and breakdown from visits.
  • Perform Know-Your-Rights presentations and pro se workshops in Spanish, English, and (with interpretation) other languages to help detained individuals navigate the immigration court system. Coordinate efforts to ensure every newly arrived person at the detention center has the opportunity to attend presentations. Assist in adapting presentations and workshops to respond to changes in the law and legal needs of the people we work with in detention.
  • Conduct individual intakes with immigrants at the detention facilities to evaluate and provide the necessary information and assistance needed to understand their cases. Work with the team to ensure that every unrepresented person at the detention center has the opportunity to complete an intake.
  • Participate in and/or lead team sessions to review new intakes to triage for follow up services. Screen for eligibility for all forms of relief and/or release from detention, including asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention against Torture, cancellation of removal, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U and T visas, and termination as well as appeals, bond and habeas petitions. Analyze immigration consequences of criminal convictions or allegations. Develop tailored messages providing further legal information that detained individuals need to navigate their cases pro se.
  • Conduct further follow up tasks to evaluate eligibility for relief and pro bono placement, including performing legal research, securing criminal/juvenile delinquency records, obtaining additional information from family and community members, and writing case summaries. Make appropriate referrals to in-house programs for legal representation. Liaise with external partners at law schools, non-profit organizations, and firms in coordination with pro bono coordinating attorney for the purpose of securing and furthering access to legal services for detained individuals.
  • Provide one-on-one pro se education and assistance to certain individuals who remain unrepresented, including family outreach, country conditions research, gathering evidence, and preparing the individual to navigate their hearing pro se. Provide resources, assistance, and information to individuals from a wide array of backgrounds and needs, including people who speak a range of languages (with interpreters available for languages other than Spanish), have varying degrees of literacy, and experience mental disability or illness. 
  • Identify and track trends and emerging issues faced by the people we work with in detention affecting their immigration cases. Coordinate with others in the organization to help detained people respond to and access better information on issues. Make appropriate referrals and provide necessary insight to in-house and external teams working on responding to the emergent issues identified.
  • Provide supervision on legal matters and other support to paralegals and junior staff in the program.

Mentoring and Representation ~15%:

  • Manage a caseload of pro bono mentorship cases to ensure competent, zealous representation and timely completion and submission of all filings by external partners. Provide expert mentoring to outside attorneys representing detained immigrants on a pro bono basis by orienting teams to cases, providing necessary client access information and assisting in troubleshooting accessibility concerns, providing feedback on filings, answering complex legal questions, and assisting with mooting and trial preparation.
  • Occasionally represent in a small number of in-house cases for detained clients that can include merits (trial) representation, bond, negative fear interview reviews, appeals and/or habeas petitions.
  • Prepare and guide pro bono teams through putting together post release and social service plans, in coordination with social services staff.
  • Research, engage, and prepare experts on health, behavioral health, and country conditions and pro bono teams working with these experts. 

Organizational Services:

  • Actively engage in CAIR Coalition’s training and advocacy efforts, as needed.
  • Take part in stakeholder relationship activities, including in-person and telephonic meetings with community groups, governmental bodies and representatives (including ICE, jail and court officials), and other legal service providers.
  • Interface with the community of support for clients and unrepresented people.
  • Engage with internal CAIR Coalition committees and working groups to lend a voice to the growth and strategy of the organization. 
  • Coordinate with all internal CAIR Coalition Programs (e.g., Impact Lab, National Qualified Representative Program, Safe Cities/Universal Representation Programs) to ensure all programs are kept abreast of detention developments, clients, and referrals.
  • Ensure the inputting and accuracy of data and case information into shared databases in a timely fashion.
  • Undertake own administrative functions, including for case and follow up work (e.g., preparation of all aspects of filings). CAIR Coalition attorneys do not have dedicated paralegals for assistance on cases and non-attorney staff time is dedicated to client-facing tasks (e.g., jail visits, pro se assistance). 
  • Assist other program staff in completion of their workload during high-work/low-bandwidth periods.

 [1] This list is illustrative and not intended to be a complete classification of all job functions or tasks.

Our Work Environment:

CAIR Coalition’s Detained Adult Program is a highly collaborative work environment. Each team lead works directly with a focused team, but all colleagues are interconnected through, case workshopping or staff-run committees.

DAP staff has been a source of expertise in the highly complex and ever-changing immigration system. They have persisted through administration changes, policy shifts, and attacks on the rights and freedoms of immigrants through project-focused cohorts that arise to address challenges or to brainstorm and implement affirmative strategies. 

We center impacted people in our advocacy and media. We embrace the movement in our work while also staying focused on the practicalities we trained for, as well as where we are most useful in this movement. We grow our reach and skill set when resources permit and there is passion. We do not limit our push or dreams for this world based on the limits we know but try to imagine how to navigate around them. 

We value our brain trust and are constantly finding ways to ensure that we maintain and grow, in ways that acknowledge those with expertise but also sets up new advocates for success.

What Else You Should Know:

Position Type

Exempt, full-time

Supervisory Responsibility

Opportunity to supervise paralegal

Reports To

Senior Attorney


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


$61,500- $82,000 commensurate with experience


This position will be based from the Washington, D.C. office.


 All CAIR Coalition staff, interns, and volunteers are working a hybrid-work model (in-person and virtual/remote) as long as they are in compliance with CAIR Coalition's COVID-19 policies. Due to the duties and responsibilities of certain positions, certain staff members will be required to live within 30 miles of their assigned primary office.

COVID-19 Vaccination:

All employees are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. To be fully vaccinated means having completed the full dosages required for the type of vaccine obtained as designated by the CDC. If boosters are subsequently recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) then employees will be required to receive the booster within thirty (30) days of their eligibility to access the boosters. 


  • CAIR coalition’s benefits package includes:
  • Free gym access located in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, MD (dependent on employee's primary office); 
  • Flexible working hours after successful completion of trainings and with approval of supervisor; 
  • Pre-tax commuter benefits for those living in the DMV; 
  • Subsidized health, dental insurance, and vision subsidized health, dental insurance, and vision insurance (CAIR Coalition pays a very high rate of the insurance package, for which we can provide additional information);
  • An annual data reimbursement of $240 
  • life insurance valued at $50,000, as well as long and short term disability;
  • the option to set up a Flexible Spending Account; and
  • the option to set up a 403(b) account (the equivalent of a 401(k) account for non-profits) which the organization has the option, for all employees on an annual basis, to match at a certain percentage after one year of continuous employment. 

Paid time off includes:

  • 23 personal days per calendar year 
  • Up to 20 days of sick time per calendar year 
  • 7 hours of volunteer time
  • Federal holidays 
  • Winter break closure 
  • 12 weeks of parental leave

How to Apply:

Submit your resume, a cover letter that explains your interest in this role, and a writing sample with your Paylocity application. 

EEO Statement:

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition is an equal opportunity employer. In accordance with anti-discrimination law, it is the purpose of this policy to effectuate these principles and mandates. CAIR Coalition prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type and affords equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, homeless status, or any other characteristic protected by law. CAIR Coalition conforms to the spirit as well as to the letter of all applicable laws and regulations. 


Anti-Racism Statement: 


Competencies Required:

Legal Proficiency

The employee demonstrates a developing understanding of legal concepts at a level that allows them to provide services to clients with moderate supervision. The employee clearly and skillfully employs the law in written and oral presentations with limited supervision and input from supervisors. The employee contributes substantively to case assessment discussion. The employee is working towards self-sufficiency in client hearings, interviews, and legal research and writing.

Client and Programmatic Proficiency

The employee satisfactorily handles all required in-jail and in-office programmatic obligations (KYRs, intake, follow-up, case summaries, case development, etc.) with limited supervision. The employee manages their in-house and pro bono mentoring caseload to allow for proper prioritization and thoughtful use of time and resources.


The employee ensures that all administrative aspects of their position, attendant to the provision of services to clients, are carried out without managerial intervention, including timekeeping, file upkeep, database upkeep, etc.

Qualifications Required:

  • JD and relevant experience in immigration law or comparable field. 
  • Must be licensed to practice law or have recently taken the bar exam.
  • Oral and written Spanish working proficiency required, fluency preferred. 
  • It is expected that the candidate will need to travel for work-related business. As a result, the candidate must possess a valid driver's license and be comfortable operating a vehicle upon hiring. This role requires travel, but qualified individuals with disabilities may be accommodated in a reasonable manner under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Salary Description
$61,500- $82,000 commensurate with experience