Staff Attorney/Community Lawyer – San Francisco, CA
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney based in San Francisco. This is an exempt position that reports to a Supervising Attorney.
The ILRC is a national nonprofit legal support center headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Austin, TX; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX; the San Joaquin Valley of California, and Washington, DC. Our mission is to work with, educate, and enhance the capacity of immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector, in order to build a democratic society that values diversity, dignity, and the rights of all people. Founded in 1979, the ILRC is regarded as one of the foremost experts on engaging immigrants and developing their leadership, providing expertise on complex issues of immigration law, procedure, and policy, and engaging in advocacy and educational initiatives on policies that affect immigrants. We are a team-based organization that makes decisions in a collaborative fashion that allows for significant staff input.
Our staff protects and defends the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities by expanding the immigration expertise of attorneys, nonprofit staff, public defenders, and others assisting immigrant communities as well as collaborating directly with the immigrant community on education, outreach, and community organizing. Our areas of expertise include family-based immigration; citizenship and naturalization; the immigration consequences of criminal convictions; immigration enforcement; remedies for immigrant survivors of crime; asylum; and options for immigrant youth. (More on our areas of expertise can be found here.) This position will work to build the capacity of community-based organizations and legal workers in several of these issue areas and engage in community outreach and organizing efforts.
We are seeking an experienced attorney to fill this position. This is a full-time exempt position that reports to a supervising attorney and focuses on supporting various ILRC projects. The ILRC currently has a hybrid work model that permits remote work, though eventually plans to require three in-office days per week for those working out of our San Francisco office.
Job Responsibilities: The Staff Attorney will contribute to several concurrent programs. Duties may include:
Representing the ILRC in various local and statewide enforcement coalitions which aim to disentangle law enforcement from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), including leading or co-leading certain coalitions;
Supporting California decarceration campaigns including the California Dignity Not Detention coalition, the Close DJJ (Division of Juvenile Justice) The Right Way coalition, and the Budget to Save Lives coalition, among others;
Connecting criminal and youth justice legal system reform and immigration organizers and attorneys to learn about each other’s local organizing efforts, identifying mutual points of advocacy, and facilitating effective collaboration;
Providing individualized campaign strategy technical assistance to local campaigns at the intersection of criminal/youth justice and immigration systems;
Working with local and state partners to develop a broader narrative around criminalization, prosecution, and deportation in California;
Providing training and creating written resources for members of the immigrant community on a variety of immigration law and policy topics, including Know Your Rights, the detention and deportation system, and various California state laws;
Supporting the fundraising efforts of the ILRC for work around the intersection of criminal/youth justice and immigration law;
Providing training to members of the immigrant community on a variety of technical immigration law topics;
Attending legal workshops to screen community members for forms of relief and/or assist with immigration applications;
Providing legal technical assistance to local and state campaigns at the intersection of criminal/youth justice and immigration law;
Participating in regional collaboratives and task forces to represent the ILRC and provide relevant information on immigrants’ rights, immigration law, and policy updates;
Writing and updating manuals, practice advisories, online resources, and training and educational materials for attorneys, paralegals, community organizers, members of the immigrant community, and others; and
When the ILRC determines it is safe to do so, traveling for trainings, meetings, and other events throughout California, and, at times, throughout the United States.
Qualifications: The successful applicant is required to have:
At least two years’ experience as an attorney doing immigration or criminal defense legal work;
Experience working with a wide array of groups, including individuals directly impacted by immigration or criminal legal systems;
Excellent communication skills and strong attention to detail;
Commitment to immigrant rights and understanding of issues related to criminalization;
Commitment to abolitionist values;
Strong writing skills and ability to convey complex policy issues to diverse audiences;
A strong work ethic, including the following qualities: organized, flexible, reliable, and dependable, with the ability to be an independent worker and to manage several projects simultaneously while thriving in a team-based collaborative decision-making environment;
Exceptional time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines;
Excellent public speaking skills;
It is a plus if the applicant has additional relevant experience or knowledge about the following:
Spanish or Asian language proficiency within the range of conversational to fluent;
Basic understanding of immigration law, primarily removal defense or crimmigration (e.g., immigration consequences of criminal offenses);
Working in, leading, or forming coalitions;
Experience in criminal defense or criminal justice policy.
A current Bar membership in good standing for any state in the United States or the District of Columbia.
Pay is extremely competitive for the field and commensurate with experience according to the ILRC salary scale for Attorneys. The starting pay for this position is from $82,931.52 (for those two years out of law school). An attorney hired for this position who has been out of law school for more than two years will have a higher salary based on their law school graduation year. For instance, an attorney with five years out of law school would have a salary of $91,909.95. The ILRC offers excellent benefits, medical/dental/vision insurance, a flexible spending account for medical and dependent care, vacation, and sick leave. The ILRC also sponsors a retirement plan option upon fulfillment of eligibility.
The position will remain open until filled. To ensure consideration, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for and interest in the position, a resume, and the names of three references.
Online applications are preferred. As an alternative, you can mail your application to:
Staff Attorney/Community Lawyer Hiring Committee
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
1458 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
No phone calls please.
As a condition of employment at the ILRC, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The ILRC is an equal opportunity employer and does not make hiring or employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion or religious beliefs, ethnic or national origin, nationality, sex, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, disability age, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable local, state or federal laws.
Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance and other similar state laws and local ordinances, ILRC will also consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest or conviction records.
The increasingly complex legal and social challenges faced by immigrants in the 1970s created a growing need for expert assistance and training in immigration law and policy. Bill Ong Hing, a well-known immigrant rights attorney, recognized this need and founded the Golden Gate Immigration Clinic in 1979, which later became the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). The ILRC seeks to improve immigration law and policy, expand the capacity of legal service providers, and advance immigrant rights.
The ILRC trains attorneys, paralegals, and community-based advocates who work with immigrants around the country. We inform the media, elected officials, and public to shape effective and just immigration policy and law. Our staff works with grassroots immigrant organizations to promote civic engagement and social change.