Who We Are:
The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition is the only non-profit organization in the Washington, D.C. area focused exclusively on providing free legal assistance to child and adult immigrants detained by the government in the Capital Region.
Description of Position:
CAIR Coalition’s Detained Adult Program is hiring a Staff Attorney to safeguard the rights of immigrants who have been detained and found mentally incompetent by an Immigration Judge. Incompetency is a legal standard that the Immigration Judge determines, often after the court reviews indicia that the person would be unable to represent themselves in a full proceeding generally due to trauma or a disability. CAIR Coalition serves as appointed counsel for detained persons and immigrants released from detention through the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) who are determined to be mentally incompetent in immigration court.
This position primarily provides direct representation to detained adult men and women with mental health conditions and/or intellectual disabilities in immigration removal proceedings. Once appointed, the staff attorney will meet with and represent clients on a range of cases from asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, and even dignified repatriation. Representation encompasses both the trial and appellate levels and includes working with mental health professionals and other experts necessary for clients’ cases. The attorney will also be expected to take on occasional cases and projects outside of those appointed through NQRP when appropriate, for example, in cases where serious mental illness is a factor but did not give rise to NQRP appointment
The Staff Attorney will furthermore work with the Detained Adult Program’s case manager to ensure basic social services for the client, including post-release planning for detained persons and connections to community services such as housing, medical care, and other benefits for clients who have been released. The Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with the case manager to identify appropriate services and effectuate access thereto.
While in-person client visits are not yet required given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are permitted with proper PPE and we are aiming to fully restore them as soon as it is safe to do so. Given the importance of in-person appearances for client rapport building and effective trial advocacy, this is a local position and the attorney must be based in the Washington D.C. or Baltimore metro area. However, CAIR Coalition embraces hybrid/remote work and flexible working hours on days that do not involve court appearances or in-person client meetings.
Our Work Environment:
CAIR Coalition’s Detained Adult Program (DAP) is a highly collaborative work environment. We work in smaller focused teams around various direct representation and legal orientation projects, but all DAP colleagues are interconnected through, for example, case workshopping, appeals management, advocacy initiatives, and staff-run committees such as our Equity & Inclusion Committee.
DAP staff have been a source of expertise in the highly complex and ever-changing immigration system. We have persisted through administration changes, policy shifts, and attacks on the rights and freedoms of immigrants through collaborations that arise to address challenges or to brainstorm and implement affirmative strategies.
A Senior Attorney will supervise the Staff Attorney along with mentoring from the NQRP Managing Attorney and advisement from additional Detained Adult Program Staff for complex and novel issues. The Staff Attorney will also have case-specific opportunities to supervise legal assistants, fellows and/or interns.
General Duties and Responsibilities:
What Else You Should Know
Commensurate with experience working in legal services. The starting salary is $60,000.
This position may require travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with all CAIR Coalition safety protocols.
Baltimore, MD or Washington, DC
While local applicants are preferred, we will also consider qualified non-local applicants to work remotely through September 2022.
This is a full-time in-person position. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CAIR Coalition staff are currently working remotely. It is anticipated that staff will work from their respective offices in 2022, with a hybrid work model continuing to be an option. The specific date is subject to change.
CAIR Coalition’s benefits package includes (a) 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); (b) life insurance valued at $50,000, as well as long and short term disability; (d) the option to set up a Flexible Spending Account (beginning January 1, 2021); and (d) the option to set up a 403(b) account (the equivalent of a 401(k) account for nonprofits) 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.
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Complete the application in its entirety. Be sure to upload a cover letter, resume, and writing sample focused on an immigration related legal issue.
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, 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.
1) Juris Doctorate degree required;
2) Must be licensed to practice law in a U.S. state or be willing to sit for the next scheduled bar exam;
3) A valid driver’s license;
4) Proficiency in Spanish is required;
5) Experience working with detained immigrants or other incarcerated populations is preferred;
6) History of working with individuals with mental illness preferred, but our organization also provides training;
7) Strong case management due to a high volume, legal research, and legal writing skills required;
8) Demonstrated ability and willingness to zealously pursue new and untested legal theories;
9) Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work under pressure required.