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Staff Attorney, Refugee & Immigrant Program



Application Deadline: January 15, 2022

Job title: Staff Attorney
Reports to: Refugee & Immigrant Program Director
Job type: Full-time

Application Link:

The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and select global communities.

Position Summary

What is the Refugee & Immigrant Program?

The Refugee & Immigrant Program is the direct legal services program of The Advocates for Human Rights. The team includes attorneys, human rights professionals, and student interns who work with volunteers to provide free legal representation to low-income clients in immigration cases. Each year our team assists over 1,000 asylum seekers, human trafficking survivors, unaccompanied children and detained immigrants in the Upper Midwest. We provide a wide range of services from consultations to full representation.

Consistent with its mission of building the human rights movement by involving volunteers in human rights work, the Refugee & Immigrant Program team recruits, trains, and supports a pro bono panel of over 500 attorneys handling affirmative and defensive immigration applications as well as appeals. We also work with social work interns to provide wrap around support to clients who need assistance meeting their basic needs while receiving legal services through our office.

The Advocates participates in coalitions of local and national legal service providers to ensure that refugees and immigrants in the United States have access to legal services, regardless of where they live or whether they are detained in immigration custody.

What are we looking for?

The Advocates for Human Rights is seeking a human rights activist to join our Refugee and Immigrant Program team as a Staff Attorney. This position will continue to build our capacity to provide legal assistance to the Afghan Evacuee community in the Upper Midwest.

Who are we seeking to join our team?

We are driven by the hope of our clients and inspired by the generosity of our volunteers. We believe that working with a team of supportive and energetic colleagues who are passionate about our mission is the best way to engage in this difficult work.

As a Staff Attorney, you are responsible for ensuring that The Advocates delivers legal services in an expert and professional manner by cultivating relationships with volunteers and partnering with clients to meet their legal needs. You are eager to dive into research and conversations with local national partners to stay current on the latest policies and practices related to immigration options for Afghan evacuees. You are a creative problem solver and enjoy the constant challenge of improving the delivery of our legal services through consultation and brief services clinics. You are excited about translating what you know into accessible training and materials to engage volunteers to provide direct legal services to those who need it. You are invested in advocating for our clients to give them a fair chance at safety and security as in the United States. You are committed to giving our volunteers the tools and support they need to represent our clients effectively. You are nimble enough to stay on your toes in our fast-paced office atmosphere and cool-headed enough to serve our clients with compassion and care.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Afghan Legal Clinics

  • Collaborate with the Program Director and Program Coordinator to manage the logistics of the legal clinics in order to optimize access and efficiency for clients.
  • Prepare and update welcome packets for Afghan evacuees with know your rights materials, legal clinic information, referral lists and pro se resources.
  • Consult with Program Director to create consultation guidelines for volunteers to manage client expectations based on case types and other criteria.
  • Provide training and support to volunteer attorneys who provide legal consultations to Afghan evacuees at the transitional hotel and at other sites throughout Minnesota.
  • Review consultation notes and draft detailed closing letters to clients with the most up-to-date resources and referrals related to their case.
  • Coordinate with local immigration attorneys and organizations to provide warm referrals for clients when appropriate.

Afghan Case Intake & Placement

  • Participate in national coalitions to discuss best practices for legal assistance for Afghan evacuees and asylum seekers.
  • Review consultation notes and work with Program Director to select cases eligible for brief services or full representation.
  • Review intakes from Afghan asylum seekers to select cases eligible for full representation.
  • Supervise interns and staff assisting with case opening and closing procedures.
  • Timely assign and transmit cases accepted for volunteer placement.
  • Meet with clients and volunteer attorneys for case orientation meetings.
  • Respond to inquiries from local partners with case referrals.

Volunteer Attorney Support, Recruitment & Training

  • Participate in trainings and research to become a local expert on Afghan Special Immigrant Visas and Afghan asylum claims.
  • Conduct attorney recruitment/training seminars, including development of materials.
  • Coordinate with local national partners to participate in legal volunteer training.
  • Handle attorney case inquiries, monitor volunteer attorney case progress, review attorney submissions.
  • Maintain substantive components of our Pro Bono Manuals and on-line legal resources including the Immigrant Advocates Network.

Direct Client Representation

  • Provide representation in those cases inappropriate for volunteer placement and manage cases awaiting placement with a volunteer attorney.
  • Appear at USCIS interviews, master calendar hearings as needed to support volunteer attorneys.
  • Supervise program assistants and interns in case support.

Organization Duties

  • Attend and participate in weekly staff meetings.
  • Represent The Advocates on appropriate coalitions, bar association committees and working groups.
  • Support program and organization-wide events that occur throughout the year.
  • Engage with supporters at House Parties and at the annual Human Rights Awards Dinner.
  • Participate in organization communications efforts, including the monthly Newswire, blogs, Volunteer Attorney Update, and Observer magazine

Qualifications: About You

  • You hold a J.D. and have an active attorney license in good standing in any state.
  • You have at least 3 years of experience in immigration law, making you comfortable to step into the courtroom or asylum office, but also embrace the constant challenge of staying current on changes in immigration law.
  • You have experience with volunteer recruitment and are eager to connect with attorneys who might not yet know they want to volunteer with us.
  • You have experience providing legal training in the form of Continuing Legal Education and/or mentoring of colleagues, support staff or law students.
  • You have experience or welcome the opportunity to work with low-income immigrant clients who may be non-native English speakers, have experienced torture or other trauma, and who struggle to access basic needs such as transportation and stable housing.
  • You have the initiative and independence to be self-sufficient in your work but also thrive on collaborative problem-solving and mutual support in order to serve our clients and volunteers.
  • You are flexible to work in-office, virtually and at clinic sites in order to meet program needs.
  • You are available for periodic travel around the state to meet with partners, affected communities and potential volunteers.
  • You may be fluent in a second language.


Compensation is commensurate with experience and consistent with similarly sized nonprofits in the Twin Cities Area. Our generous benefit package includes vacation, medical, dental, long term disability/AD+D/life insurance, and pre-tax retirement plan.

To Apply

Please use the following link to submit your application, letter of interest, and resume:

No phone-calls or e-mail inquiries, please.

Application Deadline: January 15, 2021

The Advocates for Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer. The Advocates is committed to cultural diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability or any other legally protected status.