Staff Attorney, Human Rights First


The New York or Washington, D.C.-based staff attorney will assist in administering Human Rights First’s pro bono asylum legal representation work, primarily in the New York and DC areas. The staff attorney will mentor law firm attorneys providing representation in affirmative and defensive asylum cases. In addition, the staff attorney will engage in direct representation of asylum seekers.



  • Conduct legal screenings and intake interviews with asylum seekers;
  • Assist in identifying cases for pro bono placement and direct representation within our program;
  • Ensure that refugees represented by Human Rights First’s pro bono team receive high-quality legal representation by: (1) providing in-depth mentoring to volunteer attorneys; and (2) directly representing clients, when necessary;
  • Provide volunteer attorneys with prompt and thorough legal and procedural support on pro bono asylum cases, including conducting trainings, strategizing on individual cases, reviewing draft submissions, and informing volunteers of significant legal developments in asylum law;
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with local law firms, corporations, law school clinics, and volunteer attorneys;
  • Assist in placing our cases with volunteer attorneys, and promote attorney interest in pro bono representation of asylum seekers;
  • Collaborate with other local service providers to strategize on how to best meet the needs of the immigrant population and improve access to legal representation;
  • Identify, 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 and federal courts;
  • Provide legal advice and guidance to in-house legal services coordinators, and interns;
  • Assist in managing law school and undergraduate internship program, including helping recruit and supervise interns;
  • Assist in furthering advocacy initiatives by meeting with local officials at government agencies and detention facilities, and engaging in other advocacy efforts in collaboration with the Refugee Protection team, as needed;
  • Promote Human Rights First’s mission by participating in local community, promotional, and other professional networking events to increase the organization’s profile in the community;
  • Assist in efforts to secure and maintain funding for the organization and Refugee Representation team; and
  • Other duties as requested based on the team and/or organization’s need.


  • A U.S. law degree (J.D.) and admission to the bar, preferably New York, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia (admission to other state bars acceptable);
  • At least three years of direct representation of asylum seekers at all levels of the administrative process, with preference for immigration court experience;
  • Fluency in Spanish is highly preferred (reading and writing); fluency in additional languages is a plus;
  • Commitment to working with volunteer lawyers and experience in mentoring other attorneys, especially on immigration law matters;
  • Ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously, work under pressure and meet deadlines, and to identify and analyze legal issues;
  • Knowledge of U.S. immigration law and policy;
  • Ability to communicate patiently, respectfully, and empathetically with individuals from a variety of backgrounds as well as survivors of trauma or torture;
  • Strong interpersonal and written/oral communication skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively, particularly in a collegial, team-based approach to work;
  • Adaptability to embrace and navigate new, dynamic projects, and an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization; and
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully across organization lines, to work comfortably in a variety of settings, including legal, academic, and advocacy, and to work confidently with government officials and the media.

How to Apply:

Apply online on the Human Rights First career page