Legal Assistant - Direct Representation Team

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 approximately 7,000 men, women, 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 people are empowered and have access to justice. We provide high quality legal services and support initiatives for national changes in immigration law and policy.
 
POSITION DESCRIPTION: LEGAL ASSISTANT – DIRECT REPRESENTATION TEAM 

 The Florence Project is seeking an individual to join its staff as Legal Assistant to support the Direct Representation Team team. This team provides direct representation and social services support to detained and non-detained adult men and women, including those with serious mental health conditions, in immigration removal proceedings.  The Legal Assistant will work with a variety of clients including, but not limited to, those who have been found mentally incompetent by an immigration judge and who are appointed a Qualified Representative by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Duties include but are not limited to the following:
 
  • Conduct in-depth client intake interviews
  • Visit with clients to obtain initial and follow-up information
  • Assist with drafting and reviewing applications for relief from removal and bond packages
  • Investigate and develop evidence to support clients' fear-based and family-based claims, such as drafting client declarations, witness letters, and obtaining supporting documents from feared country of return 
  • Conduct translations from Spanish to English 
  • Draft and submit requests for records from government agencies, courts, and medical providers (e.g., FOIA)
  • Conduct case and legal research (e.g., country conditions)
  • Communicate with experts or witnesses as needed
  • Prepare legal filings and submissions and submit to the court and opposing counsel as needed by the attorneys, in accordance with current court practices
  • Refer clients who are released from ICE custody to appropriate pro bono resources in their destination community, when such resources are available
  • Data entry of team work hours, travel time, case status, and custody status 
  • File management
  • Ensure timely reporting of data to funding source 
  • Conduct follow up for transferred and closed cases
  • Assist with safe release planning and execution of plan, including coordinating travel, housing and the provision of clothing, food, and medication
  • Provide case management services as needed
 
This position requires frequent time in detention facilities and immigration courts located in Florence and Eloy, AZ. The position will work from our Phoenix office, with regular travel to Florence and Eloy and occasional travel to Tucson. As of the date of this posting, the majority of staff at the Florence Project are required to work remotely due to the pandemic.
 
QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Fluency or professional proficiency in Spanish
  • Demonstrated commitment to immigrant rights, social justice, or human rights issues 
  • The position includes extensive client contact with men and women who have survived violence; applicants must have a comfort-level or prior experience working with torture survivors, victims of sexual violence/gender-based violence, child abuse survivors, highly traumatized people, and people suffering from PTSD      
  • Must be comfortable working in a detained setting and with people with criminal convictions
  • Must be highly organized and an innovative thinker 
  • Ability to work in a high volume setting with limited resources
  • Must be a hard-working team player with a sense of humor who is flexible, patient, respectful, and comfortable in a busy nonprofit setting
  • Ability to collaborate and build relationships with legal and non-legal stakeholders
  • Bachelor’s degree is preferred 
  • Ability to work remotely during the pandemic
  • Ability to travel regularly with reliable transportation, especially between offices and secondary work locations
  • Must be able to clear basic background checks and obtain security clearance to enter detention facilities
 
SALARY AND BENEFITS

This is a full-time, hourly, non-exempt position. Salaries are competitive for our non-profit network and public interest legal jobs in Arizona. Cost of living in Arizona is very reasonable. We strive to create and uphold a positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment for all staff. We offer excellent benefits, including:

  • Medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and short term disability insurance, with full premiums paid by the Florence Project, and partial health insurance premiums paid for dependents. 
  • After one year of employment, employees are eligible for an employer matching retirement plan. 
  • One personal day paid each month. 
  • Twenty five days of vacation per year. 
  • Five days of sick/medical leave annually. 
  • Six weeks of paid parental leave (up to twelve weeks total, with option to use personal, vacation, and sick paid time off for unpaid portion) 
  • Relocation Assistance for new hires living out of state 
  • Bereavement leave. 
  • All federal holidays observed. 
  • After three years of employment, employees are eligible for an eight week paid sabbatical. 
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel between offices and places of work. 
 
APPLICATION PROCESS

This is an immediate opening. To apply, please complete the application below and upload a cover letter detailing your interest in the position, and resume with three professional references. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Only applicants 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, individuals with disabilities and members of underrepresented communities. 
 
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 include all the essential job functions of the position.

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