Legal Director – Immigrant Justice Program

Charlottesville, Falls Church, Richmond, or Petersburg (VA)

About the Legal Aid Justice Center:

The Legal Aid Justice Center is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling the systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, economic justice, and social justice.

From its offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church, LAJC is a fierce advocate for low-income clients and communities in Virginia. Just in the past year, we permanently repealed Virginia’s driver’s license suspension for court debt scheme, secured an injunction slashing the number of immigrants detained by ICE at the largest detention center in the Mid-Atlantic and passed a law giving Virginia oversight authority, won the nation’s first COVID-specific, statewide, and enforceable workplace safety standards, passed legislation enabling communities to set up civilian oversight for law enforcement, and decriminalized school-based disorderly conduct, which was a leading contributor to the school-to-prison pipeline, especially for Black students.

Founded in 1967, LAJC provides services under four key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice, Economic Justice, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Advocacy. LAJC boldly tackles issues of systemic injustice and aims to raise public and policymaker awareness of some of the most pressing challenges facing low-income Virginia residents. For more information, visit www.justice4all.org.

About the positions:

Legal Aid Justice Center seeks a strategic, collaborative legal advocate to lead a creative and passionate team of attorneys and organizers as Legal Director of its Immigrant Justice Program. Reporting to the Deputy Director for Advocacy, the Legal Director provides strategic vision for and guidance over the program’s direct services and advocacy campaigns.

LAJC’s Immigrant Justice Program works to end mass detention and deportation of immigrants in Virginia, and to break the ties between immigration enforcement and local and state government and law enforcement. We work to ensure that immigrant communities remain intact and protected in Virginia, fight the separation of immigrant families and the exclusion of immigrants from state benefits, and protect young immigrants across the Commonwealth whether in federal custody or in their communities. Recent wins include a coordinated effort to drastically reduce the population of a local immigration detention center down to historically low levels through impact litigation, partnership with long-time organizing efforts and litigating individual habeas corpus petitions; increasing the eligible age for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status children; ending mandatory ICE notifications for misdemeanor arrests; and establishing in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid for undocumented students with pending asylum applications who graduate from Virginia high schools. In addition to individual legal defense of immigrants facing removal proceedings and federal litigation on behalf of detained immigrants, our attorneys and organizers partner with local community members and community groups as well as national advocacy organizations to promote systemic reforms reducing the abuse and exploitation of immigrants, and to advocate for policies that promote integration and protection of immigrant communities.

Job Duties:

  • Devise strategic advocacy campaigns using the variety of tools employed by LAJC’s programs, including impact litigation and individual representation, organizing, policy advocacy, and community education and technical assistance.
  • Create and set the agenda for the program, including annual planning and identifying priorities for both individual representation and campaign work.
  • Mentor and directly supervise staff, including senior attorneys, senior organizers, interns/fellows and pro bono volunteers.
  • Set intake priorities and ensure casehandlers have adequate support to provide excellent representation to LAJC’s clients.
  • Build relationships with directly impacted community members, members of the bench and bar, agency heads and elected officials.
  • Assist with development and fundraising efforts as needed.
  • Represent LAJC in coalitions with other legal, non-profit and community-based advocacy organizations.
  • Serve as a member of LAJC’s management team, which advises senior leadership in setting organizational priorities for all programmatic work and providing stewardship of organizational resources.

Required Qualifications:

While no one candidate will possess all of the requirements listed below, the ideal candidate will have many of the following qualifications: 

  • Minimum 5 years of practice as an attorney, with experience in either removal defense, federal litigation on behalf of immigrants, or immigrants’ rights policy or legislative advocacy
  • Prior management or supervisory experience (in official capacity as supervisor or substantially similar work without official title)
  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) partnering with and advocating in low-income immigrant communities
  • Sincere and demonstrated commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and justice
  • Familiarity with immigration law and policy
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively across lines of identity and difference.
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may include evening and weekend events, as well as occasional travel

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in systemic advocacy, including federal litigation or policy advocacy
  • Experience supporting the development and execution of campaigns and/or community or movement lawyering, grassroots organizing, and coalition building
  • Experience collaborating with community organizers
  • Demonstrated commitment to a community-centered model of social change
  • Prior advocacy experience (work or lived) using an explicit race equity lens
  • Strong oral advocacy, research and writing skills
  • Three or more years of supervisory experience
  • Proficiency in a language spoken by one or more immigrant communities in Virginia

Location:

This role will be based in our Richmond, Charlottesville, Falls Church, or Petersburg offices. Occasional travel between offices will be required. Although a regular presence in the office is required, LAJC offers a remote work policy to support employees in co-creating schedules and arrangements that allow us all to do our best work.

Deadline:

Applications will start being reviewed immediately and on a rolling basis.

Salary:

Salary range is $90,000 to $115,000 based on years of relevant experience and LAJC’s formal salary scale, upward 12% cost-of-living adjustment is available for positions based in Falls Church.

Benefits:

Our mission is compelling, and our team members are passionate about their work, and so we recognize the need to provide generous benefits and encourage rest and a healthy work environment. For example, we provide:

  • Generous paid time off every year, including 3 to 6 weeks of vacation, 12 days of health leave, 6 weeks parental leave, and 14 holidays (not including bonus holidays/rest days allocated as needed)
  • 100% employer paid health, dental, and vision insurance, plus excellent family insurance with annual max of $2,400 premium contribution to LAJC-sponsored health plan
  • 403(b) retirement plan with 4% employer contribution (no required match)
  • Strong commitment to professional development
  • Law school loan repayment assistance and full reimbursement for VA bar and CLE expenses
  • Relocation package

Application Instructions:

Please email a cover letter, resume, three references, and a legal or advocacy writing sample to Elaine Poon, Deputy Director for Advocacy, at hiring@justice4all.org . If you’re able, please submit your application as a single PDF titled “[date submitted in yyyy.mm.dd format][last name][first name][position sought].” Please include “IJP Legal Director” in the email subject. The cover letter should highlight any experience (lived or worked) advocating for justice for people who experience marginalization because of their race or economic status and/or specialized skills, such as data analysis, technology skills, or language fluency. Questions? Contact Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg at simon@justice4all.org.

The Legal Aid Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, and communities to apply. The Legal Aid Justice Center is committed to strengthening the voices of our low-income clients, working in collaboration with community partners, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty. We strive to take on the issues that have broad impact on our client communities and to be responsive to client input. Recognizing the particular impact of racism on our clients and staff, we devote special attention to dismantling racial injustice. All applicants must be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In reviewing applications, we look for evidence that applicants have experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with traditionally marginalized populations. 

Vaccination Requirement: The Legal Aid Justice Center requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption as a qualification of employment. Proof of vaccination or accommodation request must be provided within one day of employment.

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