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Staff Attorney - Detained Immigrant Advocates Unit


Founded in 1984, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is a nationally-recognized legal services organization on the front lines of defending and advancing the rights of immigrants. Each year, NWIRP provides direct legal representation and assistance in immigration matters to thousands of people with low incomes who come from over 150 countries and speak over 60 different languages. NWIRP challenges unjust policies through high-impact lawsuits and advocates for laws and policies that respect the rights of immigrants. NWIRP is also a trusted provider of immigration-related community education for immigrant communities and social service providers. NWIRP has a staff of over 150 and an annual budget of over $20 million. NWIRP serves the community through four offices in Washington State (Granger, Seattle, Tacoma and Wenatchee), but the impact of our work is felt nationwide.

Detained Immigrant Advocates Unit in Tacoma, WA
The Detained Immigrant Advocates Unit (DIA Unit) is one of two units in NWIRP’s Tacoma office providing direct legal services to people detained in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA, a regional immigration detention facility where immigration officials detain up to 1,575 community members.


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) seeks a full-time bilingual staff attorneyto provide direct representation and community outreach and education to immigrant community members in Washington State. The applicants must be fluent in English and another language (Spanish is a preferred language in addition to English, but we will consider other bilingual candidates). The selected candidate must be able to start the position as soon as possible.

As a staff attorney, you will provide individual consultations, direct representation, and community outreach and education to immigrant community members seeking immigration protections before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the immigration courts in Tacoma and Seattle, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The staff attorney will be managing a high‐volume workload with complex legal issues in immigration and criminal law. The staff attorney may also be assigned work relating to other immigration matters.

The staff attorney will be placed in the Detained Immigrant Advocates Unit, and will work out of NWIRP’s Tacoma office. Under NWIRP’s current COVID policies, new staff members must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (unless eligible for an exemption). Staff may choose to wear a face mask in the workplace, but it is not currently required. At the time of this posting, NWIRP is operating in a hybrid model, and some in-office work will be expected of this position (at least two full days per week). A minimum two-year commitment to this position is preferred.

This position is expected to travel to immigration courts in Seattle or Tacoma and occasionally to USCIS offices in Seattle, Spokane, Yakima, and Portland. A valid driver’s license will be required in order to meet these expectations. The position may involve evening and weekend work hours.


The beginning annual salary for licensed attorneys with no prior experience is $78,132.50 and is higher for attorneys with specific types of experience. For example, for someone with 10 years of qualifying experience, the annual salary would be $101,742.62; 20 years would equal $117,936.58.

NWIRP is proud to be a unionized employer and this full-time position is covered by NWIRP’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). NWIRP offers a generous benefits package, including:

● Fully paid health, vision & dental plans for employee-level coverage with employer-funded HRA and HSA options

● FSA and Dependent Care accounts

● Employer contribution of 3% of salary to 403(b) retirement plan

● Paid health-related leave (12 days per year)

● Generous paid vacation (16 days during your first year)

● 12 weeks of paid parental leave after 6 months of employment, plus the ability to extend with state paid leave

● 14 paid holidays with the ability to float 5 holidays

● Employer-paid disability/life/AD&D coverage; Long-term care insurance

● 4 weeks of paid sabbatical after every five years of employment at NWIRP

● Eligibility to earn compensatory time

● $3000 relocation bonus for eligible new employees

● Opportunities for paid professional development

Staff attorneys who have a minimum of three years of active practice of law and two years of NWIRP tenure have opportunities for promotion to Supervising Attorney.

NWIRP is also an eligible employer under the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is an equal opportunity employer committed to having a diverse staff, board, and volunteer base reflective of the communities we serve and that enhances our ability to create a vibrant environment where all members of the NWIRP community thrive. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants (including people who were formerly detained, undocumented, or who have navigated the immigration legal system), women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds and language abilities.

NWIRP is committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment. NWIRP does not discriminate on the basis of class, race, color, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, political ideology, age, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability. NWIRP will provide reasonable accommodations upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. Please contact


All staff attorneys are expected to:

● Provide direct representation to individuals in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court, on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals or before the federal courts, and before the Department of Homeland Security;

● Provide direct representation to persons submitting affirmative applications with USCIS and the Department of State;

● Conduct intakes, by phone and in person, and interview clients to gather or clarify information;

● Conduct case analysis to determine eligibility for immigration protections/status under the immigration laws;

● Maintain a working knowledge of significant policies, laws, practices, and trends in immigration law, particularly as it impacts low-income immigrants and those impacted by the criminal legal system;

● Establish, organize, and maintain files up to date;

● Perform administrative tasks related to grant reporting such as timekeeping, submitting timesheets, tracking training, and other duties in a timely manner;

● Participate in NWIRP’s outreach, community education, and development efforts; and

● Perform other tasks and responsibilities assigned by supervisory staff depending upon NWIRP’s needs.

Physical demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand and walk; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; talk and hear; utilize a phone, computer, keyboard, pen, and paper. Occasional work on night and weekend hours. Travel may be required. Travel reimbursements apply.

Emotional demands: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to discuss topics including, but not limited, to discrimination; child abuse, neglect, abandonment; domestic abuse; violence, and psychological trauma. Working in a detention center environment.


● Law degree;

● Admission to the practice of law in a U.S. State (or having passed a State Bar and are awaiting admission);

● Demonstrated commitment to advancing and defending the rights of immigrants and willingness to support NWIRP’s mission, vision, and values;

● Fluent in English and a second language (see specific needs above) (additional languages are encouraged);

● Familiarity working with interpreters;

● Demonstrated interest in advocating for people in detained settings;

● Prior immigration law and removal defense experience, strongly preferred;

● Special consideration will be given to attorneys with at least two years of prior relevant legal experience;

● Commitment to creating a welcoming and professional inclusive environment for staff and clients;

● Excellent written and oral communication skills, and ability to organize information in a clear and concise manner, including strong problem solving, research, and analytical skills;

● Ability to provide trauma-informed and culturally inclusive legal representation;

● Prior experience working with survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault is preferred;

● Previous work with remote legal assistanceis preferred;

● Have a strong sense of judgment and decision-making;

● Strong organizational skills;

● Ability to work independently as well as in a team environment;

● Proficiency in use of web-based software, Microsoft Office applications, including Word and Excel, and web peer-to-peer communication platforms; Familiar with G-suite tools like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Gmail; and

● The applicant must have a valid driver’s license as the position involves some travel.


Supervising Attorney


You will need to upload a single file document including your cover letter, resume, and list of 3 references via our careers page: For your cover letter, please describe 1) how your lived or work experience make you a good fit for this role; and 2) what are some challenges you are aware of that pose barriers to providing legal advocacy to immigrant client populations in immigration detention. Full consideration will be given to those who apply by January 10, 2024, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the positions are filled.

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