Associate Director (Detention Project)
at Heartland Alliance

Date Posted: 7/13/2020

Job Description


The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is looking for an energetic, visionary lawyer with significant removal defense and supervisory experience to maintain, lead, and shape a nationally influential removal defense program. With offices in Chicago, Indiana, Washington, D.C. and San Diego, California, NIJC combines direct representation with impact litigation and policy advocacy and public education to advance justice for immigrants and refugees.

The Associate Director of Legal Services (Detention) will be part of NIJC’s management team and will be responsible for the design, evaluation, and overall supervision and management of NIJC’s provision of legal services to adult immigrants in detention. The Associate Director will report to NIJC’s Legal Director and lead a team providing legal services to detained immigrants. These services include direct representation of detained immigrants in removal defense proceedings; appellate work before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the federal Circuit Courts of Appeal; empowering immigrants, through legal orientation presentations and pro se workshops, to advocate for themselves; and Know Your Rights presentations. As a member of NIJC’s management team, the Associate Director will also participate in NIJC-wide strategic planning and collaborate with other NIJC teams (including litigation and policy) to help formulate strategies to reduce or eliminate detention and encourage the management of migration through civil, not criminal, processes. The Associate Director will contribute to strengthening NIJC’s pro bono network, particularly as it applies to NIJC’s detained clients.  The Associate Director will also help identify funding sources, review grant proposals, and track, maintain, and report on current grants. The Associate Director will maintain a small caseload.    

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Ensures the delivery of high quality legal services in the most effective and efficient manner

  • Identifies emerging issues (actual and anticipated, internal and external) and develops prompt and proactive responses to those issues

  • Manages the detention team in Chicago and possibly in other offices to identify trends and develop systems to manage those trends

  • Supervises lawyers and paralegals providing legal representation

  • Provides limited legal representation to individuals in immigration matters

  • Develops professional development plans for detention team members

  • Manages the detention team including interviewing, hiring and training new employees; planning, assigning and directing work; appraising employee performance; addressing complaints and resolving problems for employees and program participants

  • Participates in NIJC-wide strategic planning and budget development and assists in identifying new funding sources and developing grant proposals and reports

  • Works with program staff and NIJC’s information systems team to ensure ongoing compliance and that data and database functions meet grant writing and reporting needs

  • Assumes responsibility for statistical data reports and analyses for NIJC projects

  • Develops relationships with legal service providers, immigrant services providers, and advocacy organizations and represents NIJC with these organizations

  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

•     Education and/or Experience:  A Juris Doctor and a minimum of five years of immigration law experience and two years of supervisory experience. Experience working in the non-profit field preferred.

•     Language Skills:  Bi-lingual (Spanish/English). Ability to read, write, analyze and interpret immigration law, professional journals, and governmental regulations. Ability to draft and edit legal briefs, reports, correspondence, and procedure manuals.  Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from funders, managers, clients, media, and the public.

•     Mathematical Skills: Ability to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference.  Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios and proportions to practical situations.

•     Reasoning Ability:  Ability to solve practical problems and deal with multiple variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.  Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram or schedule form.

Competencies:  To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

•     Interpersonal skills:  Focuses on resolving conflict; maintains confidentiality; listens and remains open to others’ ideas; and introduces new initiatives strategically and tactfully.

•     Oral Communication: Speaks clearly and persuasively; listens actively and gets clarification; responds well to questions; has group presentation skills; participates in meetings.

•     Written Communication: Writes clearly and informatively; edits work for spelling and grammar; varies writing style to meet needs; presents data effectively; able to read and interpret written information.

•     Managing People:  Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; takes responsibility for subordinates’ activities; applies program participants’ feedback, as well as feedback from collaborating agencies; fosters quality focus in others; improves processes and services; continually works to improve supervisory skills.

•     Quality Management: Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.

•     Ethics: Treats people with respect; keeps commitments; inspires the trust of others; works with integrity and ethically; upholds organizational values.

•     Organizational Support: – Follows policies and procedures; completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; supports organization’s goals and values; benefits organization through outside activities; supports affirmative action and respects diversity.

•     Planning/Organizing: Sets priorities and plans work activities; uses time efficiently; plans for additional resources; sets goals and objectives; organizes or schedules other people and their tasks in a way that ensures coverage at all times; develops realist action plans.

•     Professionalism:  Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats co-workers and participants with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.

•     Adaptability:  Adapts to changes in the work environment; manages competing demands; changes approach or method to best fit the situation, able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

•   Frequently required to sit, stand, and walk.

Work Environment:  The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

        •  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions, and operates all programs, services, and functions without regard to race, receipt of an order of protection, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, amnesty, physical or mental disability, protected veterans status, genetic information, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, use of FMLA, VESSA, military, and family military rights, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September 3 1987.

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Job Type: Management
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 7/13/2020

About Us

It’s more than a job, it’s a purpose.

Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our multicultural staff are passionate about our mission and make Heartland Alliance a dynamic and exciting place to develop your career.

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