Staff Attorney - Removal Defense Unit
ABOUT NORTHWEST IMMIGRANT RIGHTS PROJECT
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 130 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.
Removal Defense Unit (RDU):
NWIRP’s Removal Defense Unit focuses on direct representation of immigrants in removal proceedings, and provides outreach and education throughout the state. Its work involves various forms of relief from removal, including, but not limited to, asylum, cancellation of removal, waivers, humanitarian relief under VAWA and the TVPRA, and termination of proceedings.
NWIRP seeks a full-time bilingual staff attorney to work with individuals in removal proceedings in Seattle, Washington. Applicants must be fluent in English and another language and must be able to start their position as soon as possible. The attorney will provide direct representation in removal proceedings, including at the Seattle and Tacoma Immigration Courts, and before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The attorney will manage a high-volume workload with complex legal issues in immigration and criminal law. The attorney may also be assigned work relating to other immigration matters.
The staff attorney will be placed in the Removal Defense Unit (RDU), and will work out of NWIRP’s Seattle office. Under NWIRP’s current COVID policies, new staff members must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (unless eligible for an exemption). At the time of this posting, NWIRP staff is operating in a hybrid model, and some in-office work will be expected of this position (at least two days per week). A minimum two-year commitment to the position is preferred.
This position is expected to travel to immigration courts in Seattle or Tacoma and USCIS offices in Seattle, Spokane or Yakima in Washington State, and occasionally in Portland, Oregon. A valid driver’s license will be required in order to meet these expectations. The position may involve evening and weekend work hours.
BENEFITS AND COMPENSATION
As of 2023, the beginning annual salary for attorneys with no prior experience and not yet admitted to practice is $75,490.34. The salary step will increase to $78,040.51 upon bar admission 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 $98,302.05; 20 years would equal $113,948.39.
NWIRP is proud to be a unionized employer and this full-time position is covered by NWIRP’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. 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
● Generous paid vacation (16 days during your first year)
● 12 days of paid health leave per 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
● 4 weeks of paid sabbatical after every five years of employment at NWIRP
● Subsidized transit-pass if based out of Seattle
● Employer-paid disability/life/AD&D coverage; Long-term care insurance
● Eligibility to earn compensatory time
● Relocation bonus for eligible new employees, pursuant to CBA
● Opportunities for paid training, workshops, and conferences
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.
COMMITMENT TO INCLUSIVITY, EQUITY AND REPRESENTATION
NWIRP 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. Excepting any undue hardship, NWIRP will provide reasonable accommodations upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. Please contact HR@nwirp.org.
All NWIRP 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 presentations, workshops, legal clinics, and intakes, by phone and in person
● 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 justice system
● Establish, organize, and maintain up-to-date files
● 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
● 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: physical, verbal and emotional abuse, including domestic abuse and child abuse; discrimination; neglect and abandonment of children; violence; and psychological trauma. Occasional work in a detention center environment.
SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS
● Law degree
● Admission to the bar of any state in the U.S.
● Demonstrated commitment to advancing and defending immigrant rights and willingness to support NWIRP’s mission, vision, and values
● Excellent writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
● Ability to provide trauma-informed and culturally-inclusive legal representation
● Commitment to creating a welcoming, professional, and inclusive environment for staff and clients
● Fluency in English and a second language (preferably Spanish but will consider applicants who speak another language)
● Strong 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; familiarity with G-suite tools (Google Docs, Google Sheets and Gmail)
● Prior immigration law and removal experience strongly preferred
● Experience handling a high-volume caseload preferred
● The applicant must have a valid driver’s license as the position involves some travel
Please upload a single file document including your cover letter, resume, and list of 3 references via our careers page: https://secure3.entertimeonline.com/ta/90199.careers?CareersSearch. For your cover letter, please describe: (1) how your lived or work experience makes you a good fit for this role; and (2) challenges that pose barriers to providing legal advocacy to immigrant community members. Full consideration will be given to those who apply by December 7, 2023, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.