The Managing Attorney in the Houston office will provide high-quality legal guidance to Human Rights First’s pro bono attorneys and oversee the day-to-day management of Human Rights First’s Refugee Representation work in the Houston metropolitan area. The managing attorney will ensure that the Houston Refugee Representation team’s values, vision, strategies, projects, and activities align with the team’s overall mission.
Lead the Houston office’s day-to-day operations and serve as a Refugee Representation team leader, which includes modeling leadership, contributing to the development and implementation of team-wide strategic and operational plans, and helping implement team-wide policies and procedures;
Work with the Vice President of Legal and other members of Refugee Representation’s leadership team to continuously develop and refine a vision and strategic direction for ongoing operations;
Manage and lead the Houston Refugee Representation team to ensure it produces high-quality work, functions as a cohesive interdisciplinary team, and is responsive to the needs of clients, pro bono partners, and others that we serve; and
Supervise staff by mentoring, coaching, and providing professional development opportunities; oversee team selection and supervision of volunteers and interns; develop and retain a high-performing staff.
Case Selection, Placement, and Management
Ensure that clients accepted into Human Rights First’s pro bono representation program receive high-quality legal representation from Refugee Representation staff and pro bono attorneys by providing comprehensive legal training, guidance, advice, and updates on asylum and immigration law;
Review and supervise case management and quality-control systems for pro bono cases;
Identify cases appropriate for pro bono and in-house representation;
Spot, analyze, and respond to legal or procedural changes that affect asylum seekers, including statutory changes, proposed regulations, and decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals or federal courts;
Oversee pro bono attorney recruitment and assignment of cases to volunteer attorneys;
Play a leading role in expanding and maintaining strong relationships with local law firms, law school clinics, volunteer attorneys, and legal-service organizations;
Lead pro se assistance workshops and provide legal information to asylum seekers, including through a collaborative court-screening and brief-services initiative at the Houston immigration court;
Provide support to pro bono attorneys and Refugee Representation staff in other offices as needed, and work with the entire Refugee Representation team to ensure inter-office support and team collaboration; and
Sustain caseload of mentored and direct representation cases.
Operational Planning and Management
Ensure effective systems to qualitatively and quantitatively track progress and regularly evaluate program components;
Oversee and assist with development of training materials for volunteer attorneys, including the online Pro Bono Attorney Library, and other manuals, memoranda, videos, and training media;
Partner with the Vice President of Legal and Human Resources team to source and staff open positions.
Participate in national policy advocacy efforts relating to asylum seekers and refugees through engagement with the media and participation in meetings with government officials;
Fundraising and Resource Development
Assist in efforts to secure and maintain funding for the organization and Refugee Representation team;
Collaborate with the Vice President of Legal and other teams, as necessary, to write and submit proposals, letters of intent, case statements, and acknowledgement letters;
Promote the organization’s mission by serving as the face of Human Rights First’s Houston presence, including participating in local community events, promotional events, and other professional networking events to elevate the organization’s community profile; and
Other duties as requested based on the team and/or organization’s need.
REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND EXPERIENCE
A U.S. law degree (J.D.) and active bar membership;
At least five years’ experience representing asylum applicants at all levels of the administrative process;
Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff; develop and manage high-performance teams; and set and achieve strategic objectives;
Experience mentoring other attorneys, preferably on immigration law matters;
Excellent and engaging written and oral communicator with the ability to communicate patiently, respectfully, and empathetically with individuals and diverse audiences of varying backgrounds, including survivors of trauma or torture;
Ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously; work under pressure and meet deadlines; devise, entertain, and embrace creative solutions; and identify and analyze legal issues;
Fluency in Spanish required (fluency in additional languages—particularly French or Arabic—is highly desirable); and
Experience working with or on interdisciplinary teams.
About Human Rights First
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. Over its 40-year history, Human Rights First has earned a reputation for pragmatic, results-oriented advocacy that is politically astute, grounded in facts, and driven by sophisticated legal and policy analysis. Human Rights First is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a track record of success in delivering change that has made a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
Human Rights First is committed to equal employment opportunity and recruiting talent from across all diverse groups. We do not discriminate against any person because of the individual’s race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, affection preference, gender identity, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, disability, status as a war veteran, status as a victim of domestic violence, or on any other basis prohibited by law. We believe a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives make us a stronger and more effective organization.