Social Worker-Immigrants' Rights Project



Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.

Public Counsel operates eight legal projects: Children’s Rights, Community Development, Consumer Rights & Economic Justice, Homelessness Prevention, Immigrants’ Rights, Veterans’ Rights, the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights, and our impact litigation project, Opportunity Under Law. 

Public Counsel has a full-time staff of over 150. We are committed to building a diverse staff and encourage applications from people of color, people with disabilities, and people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexualities.



Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP), envisions a world where all (Im)migrants live with dignity, power, and opportunity. Staffed by approximately 25 attorneys, support staff, and social workers, IRP provides direct legal representation to non-citizens seeking asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, VAWA, T and U visas, and other relief in immigration court. In addition to direct representation, IRP engages in advocacy at the local and national levels, represents detained immigrants, recruits, trains, and mentors hundreds of pro bono attorneys each year, handles appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and California Court of Appeal, and conducts impact litigation. For 30 years, IRP has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of immigrants in Los Angeles. 

Within IRP, the Anti-Detention Team provides representation to individuals in detention and upon release in their removal and bond proceedings. The Anti-Detention Team’s mission is to fight for the collective liberation of people harmed by U.S. immigration detention and deportation machines through client-centered legal advocacy. Our team values providing excellent representation that is client-centered, collaborative, creative, and trauma-informed. We strive to work collaboratively with our clients and their families to ensure that they are informed and empowered to make decisions about their case. 

Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) seeks a full-time social worker to join the Anti-Detention Team, which currently consists of two Paralegals, two Staff Attorneys, a Supervising Staff Attorney, and a social work intern. The social worker will be a part of the legal advocacy team and collaborate with legal staff in order to provide holistic and trauma informed advocacy to individuals inside and outside of immigration detention. This is a new position for the team and will require a blend of micro and mezzo social work practice by supporting clients as they move through their legal process and connecting clients to the services that they need in order to thrive.



Reporting to the Supervising Attorney and Director of Social Work, the new Social Worker will:

  • Collaborate with attorneys and other members of IRP to help clients maneuver the immigration system using trauma informed principles and client centered approaches;
  • Provide socio-emotional support to clients to fully engage in their legal case, including providing crisis intervention and support to clients, as needed;
  • Conduct psycho-social assessments of clients, including assessing client strengths, needs and goals;
  • Develop and implement individualized support plans to address clients' social, emotional, and practical needs as they relate to their legal representation;
  • Link clients to appropriate services, such as public benefits, educational, medical, housing and mental health services;
  • Advocate for clients with various stakeholders, including government agencies, social service providers, and community resources;
  • Accompany clients to court appearances, including criminal and delinquency hearings, meetings, and appointments as needed;
  • Support clients upon release from immigration detention or prison, and/or who are being deported with re-entry and post-deportation services and case planning; 
  • Coordinate our pro bono support from therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, and assist with developing client declarations and participating in psychological evaluations;
  • Provide letters to the court in support of individual cases explaining the scope of our services;
  • Maintain collaboration and communication with the rest of the legal team to ensure an interdisciplinary legal advocacy approach;
  • Participate in internal case reviews/team meetings and provide regular updates on social work intervention practices;
  • Timely and accurately document all activities in our internal database system;
  • Maintain client confidentiality and adhere to attorney-client privilege obligations;
  • Increase the Anti-Detention Team’s capacity to provide trauma informed and holistic legal advocacy by providing consultations and peer support to legal team members;
  • Engage in administrative work and organizational initiatives that may advance the team’s mission to be an abolitionist, client centered, and community lawyering practice;
  • Provide in-house training and resources across IRP and Public Counsel around best practices for trauma informed advocacy;
  • Serve as a Field Instructor/Preceptor to MSW students as needed; and
  • Other duties as assigned. 




  • Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
  • Experience working with the immigrant community or survivors of trauma (either work experience or lived experience); non-profit experience a plus;
  • Understanding of the immigration system and/or legal system and experience advocating for clients within hostile systems;
  • Strong verbal, written, and phone skills in both English and Spanish, or another second language;
  • Experience working with clients from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, including those in detention and with criminal history and/or complex trauma;
  • Excellent case management skills and experience navigating various systems and social services/benefits/resources in Los Angeles County;
  • Driver’s license and ability/willingness to travel to meet with the client or conduct assessments, provided COVID and other safety precautions are met.
  • Commitment to Public Counsel’s mission to advance economic and racial justice.
  • A foundation in trauma informed, client centered and anti-racist work;
  • Ability   to work independently and prioritize multiple tasks/demands; 
  • Commitment to working well as a member of an interdisciplinary team; ability to effectively and respectfully communicate with other team members; 
  • Ability to set and maintain boundaries;
  • Strong and clear communication skills with clients with different legal statuses and positionalities;
  • Understanding of systemic injustices, their impacts on the immigrant community and interest in advocating for justice using an   abolitionist and liberation-oriented framework;
  • Ability to embed clinical skills such as active listening, rapport building and empathy within a mezzo/macro environment;
  • Commitment to practicing self-awareness, introspection and cultural humility;



  • Job Type: Full-Time/Exempt
  • Bargaining
  • Probationary Period: 9 Months
  • Position is created with designated funds and is currently funded for 12 months from hire date. Funding is potentially renewable. 
  • Yearly Salary Range: $71,000-$90,800 commensurate with 0-11 years of experience
  • Public Counsel offers a competitive benefits package including:
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage with both HMO and PPO options; 
  • The option to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account; 
  • A 403(b) retirement plan with elective contribution and a discretionary employer contribution after a year of employment; and 
  • Employer-paid life insurance and disability plans.
  • Generous paid time off and compensatory time up to 60 hours per calendar year
  • Parking and transit benefits
  • * Clinical hours supervision is not available



Please respond to the following question in your cover letter:

  1. Which aspects of our mission resonated most strongly with your values and professional goals? 
  2. What lived or professional experiences have equipped you with the skills necessary to effectively serve the immigrant community within an interdisciplinary legal advocacy team?


Public Counsel requires vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees, including new hires. Pursuant to federal and state laws, Public Counsel will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

Public Counsel is generally office-based, but remote work has been permitted during the pandemic. All employees with Public Counsel are required to work in the office at least one day per week, at the discretion of the head of department. Some positions require additional in-office days. This policy is subject to redesign by leadership. Public Counsel will work in a manner consistent with public health and local and state emergency orders. 



Public Counsel is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate against employees or prospective employees on the basis of union membership or activity, race, religious creed, religious observance, ethnicity, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or predisposition, military service, military and veteran status, pregnancy, child birth and related medical conditions, marital and family status, national origin, ancestry, age, medical conditions as defined by state or federal law, or disability, or any other basis prohibited by law.

All qualified applicants with criminal histories will be considered in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.

Our leadership team is dedicated to this policy with respect to recruitment, hiring, placement, promotion, transfer, training, compensation, benefits, employee activities discipline, discharge and general treatment during employment.