the Florence Project is hiring a
This is an internal posting only.
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.
Senior Legal Assistant - Direct Representation Team:
The Senior Legal Assistant, under the direction of the Managing Attorney and in collaboration with a team comprised of staff attorneys, legal assistants, and social workers, will facilitate the provision of legal and social services to detained and released adults in Arizona. The Senior Legal Assistant will be responsible for assisting Attorneys with legal cases, mentoring newly hired Legal Assistants, conducting and coordinating trainings for Legal Assistants, creating and/or updating internal and external legal resources, engaging legal research projects, and providing administrative support. The distribution of tasks is highly dependent upon team priorities at the time, based upon current immigration policies. This position may be based out of either of FIRRP’s Tucson or Phoenix offices but may require frequent travel to the detention facilities and Immigration Courts in Eloy, Florence, Phoenix, and Tucson. This is an internal hiring process, as the organization values opportunities for internal advancement and intrinsic knowledge of the organization.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:
Conduct in-depth intake interviews. Visit with clients to obtain initial and follow-up information.
Provide direct legal services to individuals in removal proceedings in conjunction with legal and social services teams.
Prepare legal memorandums, motions, briefs, pre-hearing statements, and other legal documents in support of immigration benefits.
Gather resources on expert witnesses and country conditions to serve as evidence for asylum seekers.
Refer clients who are released from ICE custody to appropriate pro bono resources in their destination community when such resources are available.
Work with other team members to develop case strategies consistent with immigration law and procedure. Assist in implementing agreed-upon strategy.
Keep clients informed of the status of matters and comply with reasonable requests for information.
Investigate and develop evidence to support clients' fear-based claims, such as drafting client declarations, witness letters and obtaining supporting documents from feared country of return.
Communicate with experts or witnesses as needed.
Responsible for daily case management, scheduling client visits, obtaining and preparing supporting documentation, including country conditions, and legal research.
Responsible for completing assigned tasks in a timely manner and updating Legal Server, including emailing the relevant Staff Attorney.
Track and monitor caseload and filing deadlines. Maintain complete and accurate case notes and client records, both in files and on Legal Server and make sure to timely email and speak to Attorneys for updates on cases.
Conduct follow-up visits as determined by office policy. When conducting follow-up visits, making sure to explain the relevant and necessary information to prepare clients for their court hearings.
Liaison between the Attorney and the client to obtain required documentation and information. Routinely check client case status with the courts.
Assist Attorneys as requested in the legal representation of adult detainees.
Prepare legal filings and submissions (make copies) and submit to the court as needed by the attorneys.
Well-versed in immigration law, policies and procedures. Remain current on implications of criminal and civil law as it applies to the representation of immigrants and refugees.
In accordance with required ethical standards, preserves client confidentiality, and avoids conflicts of interest.
Administrative / Data Entry:
Attend all relevant meetings and necessary trainings.
Effectively navigate all databases used by the organization including Legal Server.
Enter required organizational and client information into databases, maintain data entry requirements by following data program techniques and procedures.
Maintain client confidence and protect operations by keeping information confidential. Generate form response letters to client inquiries where appropriate.
Sort requests and respond appropriately when needed.
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)
Prepare, proofread, and send documents as assigned.
Training and Mentoring:
Provide administrative support to Managing Attorneys in assessing, creating, updating and maintaining LAs structures, rotations and systems.
Together with the managing attorneys, create, coordinate, and conduct trainings for new Legal Assistants.
Mentor Legal Assistants and provide opportunities to shadow to observe various tasks and responsibilities both remotely and in-person at detention facilities.
Chair at least one substantial case with new Legal Assistants which entails guiding them through the legal process, discussing appropriate follow up, checking in on status of case, looking over motions and indexes, providing templates and examples, being available to answer any and all questions, and aiding in merit prep and filing.
Debrief after intakes, hearings, filings etc. to answer LA questions regarding legal information, materials, internal procedures, or any other relevant questions.
Provide ongoing support and mentorship to LAs as needed.
Develop and maintain cooperative relationships with local community partners, including but not limited to private immigration attorneys, public officials, law enforcement officials, and other nonprofits that provide services to the immigrant population.
Develop and maintain professional relationships with the Immigration Court (EOIR) and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Support the Florence Project’s efforts to document cases of due process and civil rights violations in detention centers and collaborate in the preparation of reports and advocacy documents explaining the legal implications and human consequences of these violations.
Proactively communicate with community partners and supervisors at FIRRP, including participating in joint meetings to review caseload, documentation for advocacy efforts, and other emerging considerations.
Support Florence Project outreach and development activities as needed.
Other Duties & Responsibilities:
Participate in developing and implementing special projects or presentations.
Other duties as assigned.
Bachelor's Degree preferred. A combination of relevant experience and education will be considered.
Fluency or advanced proficiency in Spanish required.
At least 1 year of prior work experience in adult immigration detention facilities within the state of Arizona
Demonstrated commitment to advocating for indigent immigrant clients in a respectful and empowering way, zealous support of the Florence Project’s mission, and displays a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Must be comfortable working with people with criminal convictions.
Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with diverse populations.
Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
Highly organized, an innovative thinker, and work in high-volume settings with limited resources.
Accuracy and attention to detail is a must.
Ability to do repetitive tasks for long periods of time.
Excellent problem solving, research, and analytical skills.
Effectively manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
Demonstrate to be a hardworking, flexible, respectful team player that can work effectively in a collaborative, innovative, and client centered work environment. Ability to work independently, be adaptable and reliable in the face of conflict, pressure, crisis or changing priorities.
Exhibits high ethical standards and the ability to maintain confidentiality.
Must be able to pass federal and state background checks.
Travel is required for this position.
Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.
Proven computer skills. Advanced understanding of basic office applications.
Preferred Knowledge, Experience, Skills, and Abilities:
Working Conditions/Physical Demands:
Operate in a professional office environment and requires the ability to sit for long periods of time with intermittent walking, standing, bending, squatting, pulling and pushing.
Ability to use standard office equipment such as scanners, computers, keyboards, phones, shredders, photocopiers, and filing cabinets. Requires the ability to lift up to ten pounds - accommodations may be available.
This position is based out of FIRRP’s offices in either Tucson or Phoenix and requires frequent travel to the detention facilities and Immigration Courts in Eloy, Florence, Phoenix, and Tucson. The Senior Legal Assistant will maintain whatever return to office designation (remote, hybrid, in-office), they have previously been approved for.
Effective September 1, 2021, FIRRP has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. To comply with this policy, active employees must be fully vaccinated by October 15, 2021. Employees seeking an exemption due to a medical condition or sincerely-held religious belief should contact our Human Resources Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salary & Benefits
This is a full-time position. Salary is competitive for our field and geographical area and is commensurate with experience: $46,000-$57,000 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.