Staff Attorney - Refugee and Immigrant Program, The Advocates for Human Rights


The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. By involving volunteers in research, education, and advocacy, we build broad constituencies in the United States and select global communities.

The Refugee & Immigrant Program is the direct legal services program of The Advocates for Human Rights.  The team includes attorneys, human rights professionals, and student interns who work with volunteers to provide free legal representation to low-income clients in immigration cases.  Each year our team assists over 1,000 asylum seekers, human trafficking survivors, unaccompanied children and detained immigrants in the Upper Midwest.  The Advocates provide a wide range of services from consultations to full representation.

Consistent with its mission of building the human rights movement by involving volunteers in human rights work, the Refugee & Immigrant Program team recruits, trains, and supports a pro bono panel of over 300 attorneys handling affirmative and defensive immigration applications as well as appeals.  The program also works with social work interns to provide wrap around support to clients who need assistance meeting their basic needs while receiving legal services through our office.

The Advocates for Human Rights is seeking a human rights activist to join our Refugee and Immigrant Program team as a Staff Attorney. The Staff Attorney is responsible for ensuring that The Advocates delivers legal services in an expert and professional manner by cultivating relationships with volunteers, ensuring that cases are timely placed and that necessary services are delivered in cases awaiting placement, by providing direct counsel and representation to clients as necessary, and by developing the resources necessary to support volunteers representing clients.  The Staff Attorney must be invested in advocating for our clients to give them a fair chance at safety and security as in the United States.  The Staff Attorney is committed to giving our volunteers the tools and support they need to represent clients effectively. The Staff Attorney is a critical thinker and a problem solver, and is nimble enough to stay on their toes in a fast-pace office atmosphere and cool-headed enough to serve clients with compassion and care.


  • Case Intake & Placement
    • Consult with clients during intake interviews and participate in case deliberation with other members of the Refugee & Immigrant Program
    • Supervise interns and staff assisting with case opening and closing procedures.
    • Timely assign and transmit cases accepted for volunteer placement
    • Meet with clients and volunteer attorneys for case orientation meetings
    • Assist with client screenings at periodic off-site legal clinics
    • Assist with oversight of inquiries to the National Asylum Help Line
  • Volunteer Attorney Support, Recruitment & Training
    • Handle attorney case inquiries, monitor volunteer attorney case progress, review attorney submissions
    • Conduct attorney recruitment/training seminars, including development of materials
    • Maintain substantive components of our Pro Bono Manuals and on-line legal resources including the Immigrant Advocates Network
    • Collaborate with colleagues to plan the annual Asylum Conference, Model Hearing, Upper Midwest Immigration Conference and other CLE’s throughout the year
  • Direct Client Representation
    • Appear at asylum interviews, master calendar hearings as needed to support volunteer attorneys
    • Provide representation in those cases inappropriate for volunteer placement and manage cases awaiting placement with a volunteer attorney
    • Supervise program assistants and interns in case support
  • Organization Duties
    • Attend and participate in weekly staff meetings
    • Represent The Advocates on appropriate coalitions, bar association committees and working groups
    • Support program and organization-wide events that occur throughout the year
    • Engage with supporters at House Parties and at the annual Human Rights Awards Dinner
    • Participate in organization communications efforts, including the monthly Newswire, blogs, Volunteer Attorney Update, and Observer magazine.


  • You hold a J.D. and have active attorney license in good standing in any state
  • You have at least 3 years of experience in immigration law, making you comfortable to step into the courtroom or asylum office, but also embrace the constant challenge of staying current on changes in immigration law
  • You have experience with volunteer recruitment and are eager to connect with attorneys who might not yet know they want to volunteer with us
  • You have experience providing legal training in the form of Continuing Legal Education and/or mentoring of colleagues, support staff or law students
  • You have experience or welcome the opportunity to work with low-income immigrant clients who may be non-native English speakers, have experienced torture or other trauma, and who struggle to access basic needs such as transportation and stable housing
  • You have initiative and independence to be self-sufficient in your work but also thrive on collaborative problem-solving and mutual support in order to serve our clients and volunteers
  • You are willing to travel to assist detained clients and to assist with outreach and expansion of our work to Greater Minnesota
  • You are available for periodic travel around the state to meet with partners, affected communities and potential volunteers
  • You may be fluent in a second language

Compensation is commensurate with experience. The Advocates have a generous benefit package including:

  • vacation
  • medical, dental, long term disability/AD+D/life insurance
  • pre-tax retirement plan

How to Apply:
To apply for this position, send a cover letter and resume to or mail them to:

  • The Advocates for Human Rights
    330 Second Avenue South, Suite 800
    Minneapolis, MN 55401-2447