the Florence Project is hiring a
The Florence Project was founded in 1989 to respond to a representation crisis for indigent non-citizens detained at the rural Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Center in Florence, Arizona. Through our programs today, we provide services to thousands of adults, youth, and children detained in Eloy, Florence, Phoenix, and Tucson, Arizona on any given day. In 2001, the Florence Project implemented our Integrated Social Services Program, one of the first of its kind in this field. The Florence Project provides high quality legal and social services and supports initiatives for national changes in immigration law and policy.
Primary Purpose of the Job:
The Legal Assistant works under the direction of the Managing Attorney and, in collaboration with a team of staff attorneys, other legal assistants, and social workers. The Direct Rep Legal Assistant will support attorneys on the direct representation team to provide zealous client services to our clients in immigration detention and facing removal, as well as our clients appointed to FIRRP through the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP). This position will work with the attorneys, under the supervision of the direct rep managing attorney. The team will work together to enhance representation for people in removal proceedings who the U.S. government detains in four immigration detention centers in Eloy and Florence Arizona. The direct representation legal assistant will also represent detained and non-detained clients living in Arizona and facing removal and who have serious mental health concerns or other impairments through NQRP program. The legal assistant will assist in representation matters such as (but not limited to): credible and reasonable fear proceedings, release advocacy of detained clients with EOIR and ICE, removal defense work such as asylum, cancellation of removal, termination, administrative closure, prosecutorial discretion, and adjustment of status applications, and appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit. The legal assistant may also assist in non-defensive matters in front of USCIS, such as U and T nonimmigrant visas, adjustment of status, employment authorization applications. The LA will also provide administrative support in individual cases and for team-wide systems maintenance.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:
The Direct Representation Legal assistant will support attorneys with legal case needs which may include (but is not limited to) the following:
Conduct in-depth client intake interviews. Visit with clients to obtain initial and follow-up information.
Request records needed to represent clients (i.e., medical, criminal, education)
Draft applications for relief to submit to EOIR and USCIS.
Compile evidence in cases such as, supporting evidence, witness letters, country conditions evidence.
Prepare evidentiary filings to submit to EOIR and USCIS.
Assist in case opening and closing procedures: draft case opening and closing letters and document packets, request supporting evidence and other records relevant to the immigration case, complete internal and external case closing administrative tasks.
Translate evidentiary documentation when necessary.
Communicate with clients and clients’ support networks on status of case, next steps, and Keep family members/clients informed of the status of matters and complies with reasonable requests for information.
Upon attorney request, draft legal memorandums, motions, briefs, pre-hearing statements, and other legal documents in support of immigration benefits.
Maintain complete and accurate case notes and client records.
Attend team meetings, and trainings.
Be well versed in immigration law, policies and procedures.
Remain current on implications of criminal and civil law as it applies to immigrants and refugees’ representation.
In accordance with required ethical standards, preserves client confidentiality and avoids conflicts of interest.
Develop and maintain professional relationships with the Immigration Court (EOIR) and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), government, social service, and community organizations.
Communicate and interprets immigration and department policies and programs to the public, including public speaking on such matters as “Know Your Rights” and other matters as requested.
and submit to the court as needed by the attorneys.
Refer clients who are released from ICE custody to appropriate pro bono resources in their destination community when such resources are available and develop a compilation of packets of support.
Provide limited case management support to clients in need of social services by way of referrals to other agencies to meet needs, coordinate transportation to legal appointments
Accompany clients to appointments when necessary.
Support team by completing administrative tasks and assisting with efforts to collect data.
Data Entry, timekeeping, and file management.
Enter required organizational and client information into required databases, maintain data entry requirements by following data program techniques and procedures.
Maintain client confidence and protect operations by keeping information confidential.
Prepare paper filings and copies of court documents for legal staff and clients.
Work with legal staff to organize and maintain client files (both paper and electronic).
Other duties as necessary—which may include but are not limited to: coverage of reception duties, traveling to other facilities to get signatures, translations, assisting with document collection, scanning, photocopying, collating, and faxing information.
Other Duties & Responsibilities:
Preferred Knowledge, Experience, Skills, and Abilities:
Prior work of internship experience working with trauma survivors or individuals with mental health issues is a plus.
Ability to speak other languages including Indigenous Guatemalan languages is a plus
Prior office administrative experience is strongly preferred.
Prior work or internship experience in immigration rights, human rights, criminal justice, or a nonprofit legal services setting is a plus.
Prior advocacy work in immigrant rights, human rights, LGBTQ rights, criminal justice, or experience working with trauma survivors is a plus.
Experience with databases and data tracking (i.e., Legal Server) is a plus.
Working Conditions/Physical Demands:
Salary & Benefits
This is a full-time position. Salary is competitive for our field and geographical area and is commensurate with experience: $43,000-$54,000 Annually. We strive to create and uphold a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff.
We offer excellent benefits, including:
Medical plans including health, dental, vision coverage, subject to plan terms
Short Term Disability
Eligibility for group benefits such as voluntary life insurance, subject to applicable waiting periods
Retirement plan, subject to plan terms
Paid Time Off earned on a biweekly accrual basis- Twenty-five (25) Days of Vacation Time, annually
Five (5) Days of Medical/Sick Time, annually
One (1) Day of Personal Time, monthly
Eight (8) Week Paid Sabbatical, after three years of employment
Company-paid federal holidays, all observed
Eligible for Parental Leave which includes Twelve (12) paid weeks
Mileage reimbursement for travel between offices and places of work.
Relocation Assistance for out of state new hires available for some positions.
This is an immediate opening. Salary is commensurate with experience. The position will remain open until we receive enough qualified applicants. To apply, please submit a cover letter detailing your interest in the position as well as your resume, three professional references. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and candidates are encouraged to apply early. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. The Florence Project values diversity in the workplace and strongly encourages applications from people of color, LGBTQ individuals, persons with disabilities, and members of underrepresented communities.
At FIRRP, we recognize that people come with a wealth of experience and talent beyond just the requirements of a job. If your experience is close to what you see listed in our current job opportunities, please still consider applying. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and excellence, which is very much valued at FIRRP. Therefore, we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to our positions. Please let us know if you require accommodations during the interview process.
This job announcement is for informational purposes only and is subject to change and modification without notice. This job announcement includes a non-exhaustive list of responsibilities, qualifications and requirements of the position, but does not necessarily include all the job functions of the position. This position is eligible for membership in the union Proyecto Solidaridad-FIRRP affiliated with OPEIU Local 251.