The Florence Project (Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, or FIRRP) 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 and children detained in Eloy, Florence, Phoenix, and Tucson, Arizona, on any given day. The Florence Project is nationally known for its legal and social services that ensure that detained immigrants are empowered and have access to justice. The Florence Project provides high-quality legal services and supports initiatives for national changes in immigration law and policy, and currently has 180 staff members and offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Florence, Arizona.
Primary Purpose of the Job:
The Staff Attorney will work on a team to educate, empower, and provide legal assistance to individuals in removal proceedings detained at the Eloy and Florence detention centers. The position is also responsible for conducting group “Know Your Rights” presentations, intakes, individual orientations, follow-ups, Pro se Assistance, outreach activities, and supervising interns.
The Staff Attorney will also provide direct legal representation to participants when required.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:
- Conduct intake interviews and provide group in-person “Know Your Rights” presentations to unrepresented individuals with upcoming master calendar hearings pursuant to the Eloy rights presentation schedule at the detention centers in Eloy and Florence, AZ.
- Educate participants on how to represent themselves and prepare Pro se materials.
- Conduct formal intakes and open follow-up files for detainees the Eloy team will be representing. The attorney who first meets with a detainee and opens a file for them is generally the attorney that is thereafter responsible for follow-up with that person.
- Follow-up Pro Se Assistance including but not limited to:
- Conduct legal research to determine eligibility.
- Write pro se motions and briefs on legal issues before the immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals, and/or USCIS.
- Review court files.
- Organize supporting evidence.
- Review relief applications and prepare detainees for court when necessary, in cases where the team is providing follow up support.
- Consistently follow up with detainees receiving Pro se assistance in person, over the phone, or according to case or participant needs.
- Referrals - Refer appropriate cases to legal assistants for merits prep and workshops.
- Handle most forms of relief, including but not limited to cancellation of removal for LPRs and non LPRs, asylum/withholding/CAT cases, adjustment of status for refugees and other non-citizens, citizenship, T and U visas, and VAWA claims.
- Refer cases to Pro-Bono and/or the Direct Representation teams for direct legal representation according to the established procedures.
- Refer cases to social services for support and follow up work when encountering detainees with mental health issues, child custody issues, suicidal ideation, serious health issues, and/or when requiring help with coping mechanisms due to detention center conditions.
- Provide direct legal representation to individual detainees at their pre-hearings, master calendar hearings, bond hearings and individual hearings. and/or on appeal to the BIA. Representation should only be considered if Pro se support duties are being accomplished and these duties and other cases will not be compromised. Prior to taking a case, consult with the Legal Director, Program Manager or Managing Attorney to make sure resources will not be unduly stretched.
- Supervise Interns - Work with other staff attorneys to ensure interns have meaningful substantive duties, projects, goals, and adequate supervision. The Eloy team traditionally will supervise a part time law student intern working on a variety of cases during the school year and a full-time intern over the summer.
- Professional Development/Training - Attend the annual Legal Orientation Program conference hosted by the Vera Institute and/or one on-site training program at another LOP site. Attend other CLEs and training on an ad hoc basis. Other staff attorneys and the legal director can recommend useful CLEs or trainings.
- Attend all team meetings trainings.
- Remain current in immigration law, and on implications of criminal and civil law.
- Complies with required ethical standards, preserve client confidentiality, and avoids conflict of interest.
- Maintain complete and accurate case notes and client records.
- Prepare timely statistical reports.
- Conduct quarterly case audits for presentation and review.
- Participate in training on immigration procedures and conduct training sessions as assigned.
- Provide the names of individuals you will visit a day in advance to the Legal Assistant to ensure presentation and visitation lists are complete and faxed to the Eloy detention center by 1pm the day before a Know Your Rights presentation or visitation.
- Enter all individual orientations from your Know Your Rights presentation into PMA system on an ongoing basis for monthly reports to the Vera Institute.
- For tracking purposes, update case entries as necessary and flag individuals that you suspect could be survivors of torture or suffer from a mental disability.
- Draft and provide brief summaries of monthly casework for Eloy’s monthly team Board Report. This is due the first Friday of the month.
- Participate in ad hoc team meetings called by the team, Legal Director, Executive Director, Pro-Bono Coordinator or Social Services Coordinator. FIRRP aims to have quarterly team meetings with the Executive Director and Legal Director to go over any major issues.
- Assist Executive Director on an ad hoc basis in gathering case and programmatic information when needed for activities such as grant reports or proposals, calls with funders, or appeal letters. The Executive Director handles the monthly Vera Institute LOP calls and is the principal contact and host for funder site visits or onsite training programs.
- Attend and actively participate in weekly FIRRP meetings; including staff meetings and joint case review meetings as scheduled.
- Track hours working with torture survivors for DTS grants.
- Track mileage for FIRRP reimbursement.
- Complete time off forms for upcoming comp, vacation and sick days and give to the office manager. All forms are due the first Friday of the month.
Outreach and Advocacy:
- Attend occasional meetings with stakeholders including but not limited to Eloy EOIR, ICE officials, and/or CCA officials to discuss ongoing issues.
- When requested by the Executive Directors, speak on behalf of FIRRP in various settings including panels, conferences, conference calls, to visiting students, to visiting funders, or to community groups.
- Participate in internal or external advocacy or outreach objectives relevant to FIRRP’s mission.
- Develop and maintain cooperative relationships with local and national 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), government and social service organizations, and community organizations.
- Communicate with the Legal Director about possible advocacy initiatives and legal trainings for the community.
- Support Florence Project outreach and development activities as needed.
- Perform other administrative duties as needed.
Other Duties & Responsibilities:
- Participate in organizational fundraising and outreach efforts as requested.
- Participate in developing and implementing special projects or presentations.
- Other duties as assigned.
- J.D. and admission to any state bar.
- Must be licensed to practice law in any state or jurisdiction (or willing to take Arizona bar exam), or eligible to waive into practice in Arizona (have two years of good standing in another state bar or have received a score of 273 or greater on the Universal Bar Exam).
- Demonstrate commitment to advocating for indigent immigrant clients in a respectful and empowering way.
- Demonstrate a zealous support of the Florence Project’s mission.
- Must be comfortable working with people with criminal convictions.
- Strong litigation experience and/or oral advocacy skills.
- Strong legal research.
- 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.
- 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.
- Exhibit high ethical standards and the ability to maintain confidentiality.
- Must be able to pass federal and state background checks.
- Fluency or advanced proficiency in Spanish required.
- 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.
- Two years of prior experience practicing before the Arizona Juvenile Courts, the Immigration Courts, or USCIS is strongly preferred.
- Prior experience working with trauma survivors or individuals with mental health issues is a plus.
- 2+ years of minimum experience providing direct representation to immigrants removal proceedings, and extensive knowledge of immigration law, specifically deportation defense, asylum, and criminal-immigration law issues is strongly preferred.
- 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:
- This position can be based in either the Florence Project’s Central Phoenix Office, or the Tucson office, with occasional travel to the Eloy and Florence facilities, Tucson and Phoenix
- 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.
- Travel regularly between offices, and secondary work locations.
- Travel and frequent time in detention facilities and immigration courts located in Florence, Eloy, Phoenix, and Tucson.
- 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 email@example.com.
Salary & Benefits:
This is a full-time position. Salary is competitive for our field and geographical area. Salaries will be calculated based on relevant experience and our established comprehensive wage scale: $66,851.20 - $90,407.30 DOE.
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
Fifteen (15) Organization-paid holidays, all observed
Eligible for Parental Leave which includes Twelve (13) 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.