Director of Legal Services

Full-Time

Our Legal Empowerment Clinic, the first of Proyecto Faro’s programs, educates people one-on-one and demystifies the law. We’ve built a network of pro bono and “low-bono” lawyers and volunteers to provide free legal services to Rockland’s immigrants. In addition to assisting with and answering questions on issues like asylum cases, SIJS, naturalization, DACA, removal proceedings, and battered spouse waivers, we also help people report unethical lawyers and seek remuneration where applicable. Many clinic guests have been connected to pro bono and low bono attorneys who have represented them in their removal cases. We have held know your rights (KYR) sessions, which discuss workplace violations including wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, fraud by lawyers, and people posing as lawyers and notaries.

Inspired by the model of Keep Tuscon Together, our clinic has a strong focus on empowerment through sharing knowledge. We aim for the clinics to not simply be a space where lawyers provide services to “clients.” We aim to train immigrants to coordinate and run the clinics, in close consultation with allied lawyers. We encourage those community members helped by the clinic to return as volunteers to use what they’ve learned to benefit others in a similar situation. We want to cultivate an environment in which immigrants develop confidence, empower themselves, and attain leadership skills to work with their peers to address other needs, navigate other systems, and work for change. 

We recently were awarded a re-grant from the NY Immigration Coalition to expand our legal services program, enabling us to create this Director of Legal Services position. In addition to this position, our current part-time Legal Services & Outreach Coordinator, a cadre of 10 dedicated volunteers and 5 lawyers who rotate to conduct the clinics together, we will also be hiring a paralegal and a Legal Services Coordinator. In addition to being able to hold legal services office hours, we plan to add a second clinic each month, provide more volunteer training, and hold more frequent KYR sessions.

The Director of Legal Services (DLS) must be culturally competent and provide clients with high standards of legal services in a way that is client centered and trauma informed. DLS will work with staff and volunteers to plan clinics, create, organize, and help facilitate trainings for volunteers, track services for reporting purposes, and ensure follow-up is being done with community members. DLS reports to the Executive Director. 

Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:

  • Working with Legal Services staff to coordinate two free monthly Legal Empowerment Clinics.
  • Providing in person advice and counseling to clients including individualized assessment of immigration cases and confidential legal consultations to ascertain eligibility for immigration benefits.
  • Completing immigration applications and petitions, compiling supporting evidence, drafting briefs, legal memorandum and other correspondence.
  • Representing clients before New York Family Court, USCIS and EOIR.
  • Providing immigration legal services to clients affirmatively and defensively in immigration court proceedings. Relief pursued includes VAWA Self-Petitions, U Visas, T Visas, Adjustment of Status, Cancellation of Removal, Asylum, Waivers and Special  Immigrant Juvenile Status.
  • Filing wage and hour claims on behalf of labor-exploited or trafficked clients before the Dept. of Labor.
  • Providing victim advocacy at law enforcement interviews.
  • Providing support for staff and volunteers to prepare EAD materials.
  • Providing leadership, training, and motivation to enable staff and committed volunteers to help prepare applications so you can represent a growing number of clients in court.
  • Staying abreast of changes in immigration policy and laws.
  • Handling complex legal issues that arise.
  • Overseeing supervision of the Legal Services and Outreach coordinator .
  • Organizing and conducting pro se clinics or other programs as needed.
  • Overseeing supervision of the Legal Services Paralegal.
  • Providing guidance and support to the Legal Services Team to offer community education and Know Your Rights presentations via in-person and virtual events.
  • Preparing and maintaining statistics, reports and case records.
  • Additional duties as needed to represent clients and the organization (e.g. occasional meetings with partners and funders.)
  • Organizes, prepares for, and facilitates individual and group meetings with the Legal Services Team.
  • Represents Proyecto Faro at Rockland Immigration Coalition meetings and other meetings and events.
  • Other duties as identified by the Executive Director.

Requirements:

  • Must be committed to the mission of the organization– empowerment, leadership development, grassroots organizing, and social justice.
  • Be admitted to the New York bar and have 3+ years’ experience in immigration law.
  • Written and spoken fluency in Spanish and English [Haitian Creole a plus].
  • Excellent research, writing and oral advocacy skills.
  • Experience working with diverse communities.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Ability to work independently, manage an independent caseload, and meet legal deadlines.
  • Ability to analyze the probable outcomes of cases, using knowledge of legal precedents.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, crisis-oriented environment: assess priorities, take initiative, handle multiple assignments, and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and consistently, and work collaboratively with staff, volunteers, and partners.
  • Ability to support the organization’s advocacy efforts as needed.
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a reliable and insured vehicle are required
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft and Google Office Suites, as well as general high proficiency with computers and capacity to learn new systems as needed.

We want to provide comprehensive and holistic services in legal matters ranging from rapid response, removal defense, federal appeals and complex affirmative filings.  Located in a county with great diversity and ever-increasing numbers of new arrivals, we are building our community driven legal services program on the front lines of the fight for the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. 

Hours: 40 hr work week. Because we occasionally have weekend or evening activities or meetings, you can take flex time.

Compensation: $90,000 annually 

Benefits: Health insurance plan with 80% employer contribution. Dental and vision plans (no employer contribution.) Paid time off: in addition to federal holidays, 3 additional observed religious holidays, and May Day, we also offer 3 weeks of paid vacation, 2 personal days, and 8 sick days. 

Supervision & Evaluation: This position reports directly to the Executive Director. In addition, the Personnel Team of the Board, in consultation with the ED, will initiate evaluations at 3 months and 6 months in which feedback can be exchanged in both directions.

Location and Requirements: This position will require the employee to work from the Proyecto Faro Offices at 17 Cricketown Rd, Stony Point, NY 10980 and at 9 North Main Street, Spring Valley, NY 10977. There will be some flexibility offered for remote work 1-2 days a week. This position requires some travel throughout the Hudson Valley and NY metro area.

How to apply: Email your resumé, and a cover letter sharing your interest in and specific preparedness for this position to info@proyectofarorockland.org. We plan to fill this position very quickly.  Priority considerations will be made for those applications received by December 29, 2023.  Deadline to apply is January 10th, 2024.

Proyecto Faro is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, women, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.