Public Defender Attorneys - Operation Lone Star Project

Practice Areas: Criminal Litigation Exp.: 1+ Years
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) seeks full-time public defender attorneys to provide zealous legal representation to clients charged under Operation Lone Star. Operation Lone Star is a state initiative that attempts to militarize the border, criminalize seeking asylum, and create a separate and unequal criminal justice system targeting migrants. Attorneys within the Operation Lone Star Project will work with the Operation Lone Star Team under the supervision of the Project Manager to provide clients with high-quality representation from intake to resolution, including advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.

Attorney benefits include law school loan repayment assistance, paid vacation, healthcare insurance, retirement plan, and training & travel stipends. Our defenders train with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense and other defender-minded associations.

Qualifications and Preferences
Preferred applicants will demonstrate a strong interest and dedication to defending migrants ensnared in the Operation Lone Star criminal justice system, including a commitment to providing fierce advocacy. Preferred applicants will also have demonstrated a commitment to immigrants’ rights and social justice and have experience working with diverse populations including non-English-speaking immigrant communities. All applicants should possess the ability to work independently and cooperatively, to stay calm in crisis, and flexibility to respond to urgent client needs in an evolving legal environment.

All attorneys will work with clients arrested under Operation Lone Star collaboratively with other team members and under the supervision of the Project Manager. The attorneys’ duties will include, but not be limited to, the following:
  • Defend individuals charged with felony and misdemeanor cases under Operation Lone Star;
  • Review, assess and analyze discovery and draft correspondent legal memoranda;
  • Provide individual client communication and know-your-right presentations to migrants charged under Operation Lone Star;
  • Conduct legal research and draft pleadings and briefs;
  • Collaborate with Asylum Defense Project on immigration-related issues impacting Operation Lone Star clients to mitigate adverse immigration consequences;
  • Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records; and
  • Manage cases from intake to final resolution, including pretrial, trial, appeals, and additional motion practice, as it arises.

Qualifications and Preferences:
  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam;
  • One year of criminal litigation experience or comparable academic or clinical experience in criminal law;
  • Courtroom experience, including contested hearings and trials preferred;
  • Appellate or legal writing experience related to contested matters at the trial level preferred;
  • Proficiency in Office365 and legal research software; and
  • Professional fluency in Spanish (highly preferred).
  • Located in or willing to re-locate to San Antonio, Edinburg, Mercedes, Eagle Pass, Del Rio by January 2022 (may start remote).

Compensation and Benefits:
Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package including law school loan repayment. TRLA will provide reimbursement for the bar application fee and bar preparation course to new employees who have not yet taken the bar exam.

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