The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) has an opening for an Asylum Program Fellow through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Details are below. Please note the application deadline is October 2.
LCCR Asylum Program Fellow (AmeriCorps VISTA)
Senior Immigrant Justice Attorney
Pro Bono Coordinator/Senior Attorney
About the Lawyers’ Committee
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (“Lawyers’ Committee”), founded in 1968, works to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, and low-income persons, immigrants, and refugees. Assisted by hundreds of pro bono attorneys, LCCR provides free legal assistance and representation to individuals on civil legal matters through direct services, impact litigation and policy advocacy. Our office is located in downtown San Francisco near the Embarcadero and is accessible by public transportation. For more information, visit www.lccr.com.
About the Pro Bono Asylum Program
The Asylum Program, founded in 1983, bridges the gap between the bay area’s private bar and indigent asylum seekers. Through maintaining healthy relationships with community organizations, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is regularly contacted by asylum seekers who have suffered atrocious persecution but are unable to pay attorneys to assist them in navigating the confusing and oppressive immigration process. The Program interviews these clients to evaluate their claims and assess the most advantageous course of action. Clients are then placed with pro bono attorneys from many of the leading law firms and they go on to receive top-notch representation. Through this system, thousands of otherwise unrepresented immigrants have been matched with stellar advocates and, with their assistance, have secured asylum in the United States.
To ensure that each pro bono attorney is fully equipped to meet the needs the client, the Program regularly offers trainings and other support to guide and inform these generous volunteers. Twice annually there is a two-day seminar that gives an overview of asylum law as well as general tips for practitioners. Also, the program holds more focused monthly trainings that educate attorneys and others on topics that range from conditions in certain regions to working with clients who have faced trauma to significant case law updates. Further, each pro bono attorney is paired with an immigration practitioner who mentors the pro bono attorney throughout the process. Through these support structures, attorneys who have had little or no immigration law experience are able to successfully take an asylum case from beginning to end.
General Summary of Work Performed
In the area of immigration/asylum, the AmeriCorps VISTA is responsible for: (1) conducting client interviews and direct representation of asylum seekers (if attorney); (2) preparing client memoranda and conducting country of condition research; (3) recruiting volunteers for cases and coordinating work of volunteers; (4) identifying community partners for legal workshops and clinics in low-income minority and immigrant neighborhoods and assisting in the development of new legal workshops and clinics; (5) expanding our recruitment and training program for volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and interpreters; (6) engaging in community outreach to expand awareness of available services/resources; and (7) assisting in marketing and outreach for legal workshops and clinics.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Conduct intake interviews of immigrant and refugee clients and prepare client intake memoranda, includinga detailed factual description and analysis of country conditions.
- Direct representation of refugees in immigration court and/or asylum office (if attorney)
- Maintain regular contact with clients during the intake process, including advising clients about LCCR’s intake process, notifying clients whether or not we are able to take their cases, and providing referrals, as appropriate.
- Recruit attorneys, mentor attorneys, and interpreters to volunteer on cases, including preparing case summaries for prospective volunteers, sending case-related and training materials to volunteers, and participating in volunteer recruitment events.
- Coordinate work of volunteers, including responding to volunteer inquiries/requests, maintaining regular contact with volunteers regarding the status of their cases, updating volunteers on new legal developments, and arranging for substitute or emergency staffing of cases, as needed.
- Maintain information on our volunteer website
- Maintain information in our client / case / volunteer (SalesForce CRM) custom database.
- Organize and attend community outreach events, legal workshops/clinics, and volunteer trainings/workshops, including arranging for speakers/volunteers, publicizing events, and preparing written materials.
Other Duties and Responsibilities
Work to further LCCR’s long-range goals as appropriate, including maintaining and establishing good relationships with the private bar and work on internal matters as identified or assigned, including:
- Ensuring that LCCR’s pro bonoprojects are functioning in furtherance of LCCR’s strategic goals and mission
- Assisting the Development Department in the drafting and development of proposals, program budgets, and fundraising materials
- Identifying potential donors and solicitors, as well as new members and Board members
- Attending staff meetings
- Contributing to the newsletter and other public relations materials
- Other duties as assigned by senior LCCR staff
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities Required
- Fluency in spoken and written Spanish required
- Excellent organizational, oral communication, and writing skills
- Values working cooperatively with others, both within the organization and in the community
- Display enthusiasm and a willingness to accept responsibility and fulfill job requirements
- Ability to relate to and communicate with a broad range of clients and colleagues
- Ability to work independently and to set and carry out objectives with minimal supervision
The goal of the AmeriCorps VISTA program is to lend assistance to non-profit programs which are focused on eradicating poverty. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, you will be eligible for benefits such as a subsistence allowance of $759.50 gross bi-weekly ($1,650/monthly or $19,800/year), federal education loan deferment, medical coverage, and childcare assistance. The term for a VISTA is 12 months. After the successful completion of your term, you will have earned an educational award of $5,500 which can be used at any eligible educational institution or for eligible student loan expenses. To learn more about the AmeriCorps VISTA program, please visit http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/choose/vista.asp.
The VISTA fellowship is a one-year fellowship and will begin on November 18 with a two-day training in Los Angeles. The term at LCCR will run from November 22, 2014 to November 21, 2015.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until October 2.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to the attention of Paul R. Chavez firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state in your cover letter that the application is for the Second Chance Legal Clinic AmeriCorps VISTA position.