Skip to content

Refugee and Immigrant Program Staff Attorney

Posted 3 years ago

The Advocates for Human Rights


Application Deadline: September 15, 2020

Job title:  Staff Attorney
Reports to:  Refugee & Immigrant Program Director
Job type:  Full-time

The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and select global communities.

Position Summary

What is the Refugee & Immigrant Program?

The Refugee & Immigrant Program is the direct legal services program of The Advocates for Human Rights.  The team includes attorneys, human rights professionals, and student interns who work with volunteers to provide free legal representation to low-income clients in immigration cases.  Each year our team assists over 1,000 asylum seekers, human trafficking survivors, unaccompanied children and detained immigrants in the Upper Midwest.  We provide a wide range of services from consultations to full representation. 

Consistent with its mission of building the human rights movement by involving volunteers in human rights work, the Refugee & Immigrant Program team recruits, trains, and supports a pro bono panel of over 300 attorneys handling affirmative and defensive immigration applications as well as appeals.  We also work with social work interns to provide wrap around support to clients who need assistance meeting their basic needs while receiving legal services through our office.

The Advocates participates in coalitions of local and national legal service providers to ensure that refugees and immigrants in the United States have access to legal services, regardless of where they live or whether they are detained in immigration custody.

What are we looking for?

The Advocates for Human Rights is seeking a human rights activist to join our Refugee and Immigrant Program team as a Staff Attorney. 

Who are we seeking to join our team?

We will be honest: these are challenging times to be working in the immigration field.  We are driven by the hope of our clients and inspired by the generosity of our volunteers.  We have found that working with a team of supportive and energetic colleagues who are passionate about our mission is the best way to tackle this difficult work. 

As a Staff Attorney, you are responsible for ensuring that The Advocates delivers legal services in an expert and professional manner by cultivating relationships with volunteers, ensuring that cases are timely placed and that necessary services are delivered in cases awaiting placement, by providing direct counsel and representation to clients as necessary, and by developing the resources necessary to support volunteers representing clients.  You are invested in advocating for our clients to give them a fair chance at safety and security as in the United States.  You are committed to giving our volunteers the tools and support they need to represent our clients effectively. You are a critical thinker and a problem solver.  You are nimble enough to stay on your toes in our fast-pace office atmosphere and cool-headed enough to serve our clients with compassion and care.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Case Intake & Placement
Consult with clients during intake interviews and participate in case deliberation with other members of the Refugee & Immigrant Program.
Supervise interns and staff assisting with case opening and closing procedures.
Timely assign and transmit cases accepted for volunteer placement.
Meet with clients and volunteer attorneys for case orientation meetings.
Assist with client screenings at periodic off-site legal clinics.
Assist with oversight of inquiries to the National Asylum Help Line.

Volunteer Attorney Support, Recruitment & Training
Handle attorney case inquiries, monitor volunteer attorney case progress, review attorney submissions.
Conduct attorney recruitment/training seminars, including development of materials.
Maintain substantive components of our Pro Bono Manuals and on-line legal resources including the Immigrant Advocates Network.
Collaborate with colleagues to plan the annual Asylum Conference, Model Hearing, Upper Midwest Immigration Conference and other CLE’s throughout the year.

Direct Client Representation
Appear at asylum interviews, master calendar hearings as needed to support volunteer attorneys.
Provide representation in those cases inappropriate for volunteer placement and manage cases awaiting placement with a volunteer attorney.
Supervise program assistants and interns in case support.

Organization Duties
Attend and participate in weekly staff meetings.
Represent The Advocates on appropriate coalitions, bar association committees and working groups.
Support program and organization-wide events that occur throughout the year.
Engage with supporters at House Parties and at the annual Human Rights Awards Dinner.
Participate in organization communications efforts, including the monthly Newswire, blogs, Volunteer Attorney Update, and Observer magazine


About You:
You hold a J.D. and have active attorney license in good standing in any state.
You have at least 3 years of experience in immigration law, making you comfortable to step into the courtroom or asylum office, but also embrace the constant challenge of staying current on changes in immigration law.
You have experience with volunteer recruitment and are eager to connect with attorneys who might not yet know they want to volunteer with us.
You have experience providing legal training in the form of Continuing Legal Education and/or mentoring of colleagues, support staff or law students.
You have experience or welcome the opportunity to work with low-income immigrant clients who may be non-native English speakers, have experienced torture or other trauma, and who struggle to access basic needs such as transportation and stable housing.
You have initiative and independence to be self-sufficient in your work but also thrive on collaborative problem-solving and mutual support in order to serve our clients and volunteers.
You are willing to travel to assist detained clients and to assist with outreach and expansion of our work to Greater Minnesota.  You are available for periodic travel around the state to meet with partners, affected communities and potential volunteers. 
You may be fluent in a second language.


Compensation is commensurate with experience. Our generous benefit package includes vacation, medical, dental, long term disability/AD+D/life insurance, and pre-tax retirement plan.

To Apply

Please mail cover letter and resume to:

Staff Attorney Search
The Advocates for Human Rights
330 Second Avenue South, Suite 800
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2447

Or e-mail: (include “Staff Attorney Search” in subject line)

No phone-calls or e-mail inquiries, please.

Application Deadline:  September 15, 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer. The Advocates is committed to cultural diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability or any other legally protected status.

Apply Online