Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a global leader in the protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. Launched in 2008, KIND champions a world in which every child’s rights and well-being are protected throughout their journey to safety. KIND has accepted over 23,000 referrals of children seeking legal representation in their immigration proceedings. KIND has welcomed more than 41,000 attendees to trainings since its founding, cultivating partnerships with over 670 law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations across the country.
KIND’s social services program ensures that migrant and refugee children – who have often endured trauma – receive counseling, educational support, medical care and other comprehensive services.
To address the root causes of child migration from Central America and strengthen protection of unaccompanied children, KIND advocates for policy changes and educates lawmakers, the media, and the broader public on the conditions that drive these children to flee their home countries. KIND supports children returning to their home countries by connecting them to essential support services and sponsors gender-based violence prevention programs in Central America to protect children in countries of origin and transit.
KIND is also building upon its expertise in the protection of unaccompanied children to encourage the development of pro bono initiatives across Europe in partnership with European NGOs.
KIND seeks an Interim Staff Attorney to provide expert legal services to unaccompanied children currently in or recently released from local immigration detention facilities, facing removal proceedings through zealous direct representation as well as pro bono facilitation, including robust consultation, training, and technical assistance to pro bono attorneys who have accepted a KIND cases. As needed, supervise Senior Paralegals, Paralegals, interns, and/or other non-attorney staff.
This is a temporary position available until September 30, 2021, with the possibility of extension.
- Oversee paralegals to ensure the provision of high quality intakes and legal orientations for unaccompanied children residing in immigration detention facilities. Review legal screenings conducted by paralegals to determine children's preliminary eligibility for immigration relief.
- Make "friend-of-the-court" appearances on the juvenile detained docket in New York Immigration Court on behalf of detained children. Enter representation in certain cases.
- Communicate regularly with shelter staff regarding the status of children in detention; advocate for alternative placements on behalf of children who are in danger of "aging out" of ORR care or seeking placement in long-term foster care facilities.
- As needed, represent a smaller docket of children in their applications for relief who do not have reunification options and must remain longer in detention.
- Once children are released locally from detention, provide zealous direct legal representation to children in their removal proceedings and in their applications for immigration relief. In certain cases, depending on experience, caseload and organizational priorities, place those cases with pro bono attorneys and provide robust consultation and technical assistance to pro bono attorneys. Percentage of mentoring and direct representation caseloads will be determined by management in the Legal Programs component.
- Perform ordinary functions of legal counsel providing direct representation, including: legal research and formulating the legal strategy for the case; conducting client interviews; appearing before immigration and/or state court or agencies; and drafting and filing court pleadings and applications for benefits.
- Place cases with pro bono attorneys and build relationships between KIND and the pro bono community.
- In coordination with KIND’s Training and Technical Assistance Team and the local field office Senior Attorney/s, as needed, help develop pro bono training resources and local training curriculum, including sample filings and guidance packets. With supervision, present trainings to pro bono attorneys and community groups.
- Ensure entry of timely, accurate, and detailed case data into KIND’s case management systems.
- Contribute to overall office functioning, including joining field office and KIND-wide calls and meetings, participating in field office and KIND-wide committees, and assisting with office events.
- As needed, supervise Senior Paralegals, Paralegals, interns, and/or other non-legal staff including: onboarding, skills training, daily support and coaching, review and quality assurance of filings, regular check-ins and performance evaluations, and provision of consistent and effective supervision and oversight.
Qualifications and Requirements:
- Advanced fluency in Spanish language is required. Applicants without Spanish fluency will not be considered for this position;
- J.D. and admitted to NY bar;
- Minimum 1 year experience practicing immigration law, which should include representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas and T visas;
- Minimum 1 year experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, or experience working with vulnerable populations, survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma;
- Strong record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills;
- Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing;
- Ability to take initiative, multi-task, and work independently.
- Experience working with law firm attorneys and/or other legal volunteers preferred.
- Ability to work within an office environment and have regular interaction via telephone, videoconference, IM, and email with KIND's team
- Regular/weekly travel to local immigration detention facility required