Staff Attorney - Immigrants' Rights Project, Public Counsel Law Center


Public Counsel is the largest pro bono public interest law firm in the country. Founded in 1970, it is dedicated to advancing equal justice under law and addressing economic, racial, and other inequities by delivering free legal and social services to the most vulnerable members of our community. Public Counsel operates eight legal projects: Children’s Rights, Community Development, Consumer Rights, Homelessness Prevention, Immigrants’ Rights, Veterans’ Rights, the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights, and our impact litigation project, Opportunity Under Law. Public Counsel has a full-time staff of over 130. We seek to have a racially inclusive staff.

Public Counsel’s IRP provides direct legal representation to non-citizens seeking asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), VAWA, T and U visas, and other relief in immigration court. In addition to direct representation, IRP engages in advocacy at the local and national levels, represents detained immigrants, recruits and trains hundreds of pro bono attorneys each year, handles appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and conducts impact litigation challenging governmental action. For 30 years, IRP has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of immigrants in Los Angeles.

Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) seeks a full-time, bilingual (Spanish/English) staff attorney to join its Unaccompanied Children’s team. This attorney will divide their time between direct representation of unaccompanied children (UCs) and impact litigation on their behalf. They will join our UC team that includes five attorneys, a social worker and four support staff. This position is currently grant funded through September 30, 2020. The grant is contingent on renewal each year.


  • UC Staff Attorney will spend 50% of their time providing direct representation to UCs in removal proceedings before the Los Angeles and Van Nuys Immigration Courts
  • Represent children in state court to obtain predicate orders related to SIJS and representation before USCIS for those children with asylum claims, SIJS petitions, and/or other applications for relief
  • Handle all aspects of a client’s case, including appeals to the California Court of Appeals and Board of Immigration Appeals if necessary
  • Work with the UC Impact Litigation Project, which represents unaccompanied children in appeals and litigates individual and class action cases in federal and state court
  • The attorney will spend the other 50% of their time working on impact litigation, including filing appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the California Court of Appeals and representing immigrant children in federal court
  • Use impact and appellate litigation as a tool to craft and enforce legal protections for immigrant children, statewide and nationally
  • Handle appeals arising out of the UC team’s direct legal services caseload, including appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Administrative Appeals Office, and the California appellate courts
  • Provide technical assistance to Public Counsel staff and pro bono attorneys on individuals cases before immigration, state, and federal courts presenting potentially appealable issues (for example, by drafting sections of briefs submitted in support of motions or applications pending before the immigration court or the asylum office)


  • Required skills and experience:
    • Juris Doctor degree with California Bar membership or able to sit for the July California Bar exam
    • Fluency in Spanish
    • Excellent research, analytical, and written skills
    • Strong case management, legal research and writing skills
    • Ability to work well under pressure
    • Competence in and dedication to working with others of diverse cultural, geographic, and economic backgrounds including individuals with a history of severe trauma
    • Commitment to immigrants’ rights and the mission of Public Counsel
    • Ability to engage in strategic thinking about the systemic impact of individual clients’
      cases to expand protections for immigrant children
  • Preferred skills and experience:
    • Prior work experience with children
    • Two years experience practicing immigration law, with particular preference for
      experience in removal defense and representation of children seeking asylum and/or SIJS (will consider law school clinic experience and internships)
    • Clerkship experience
    • State or federal court litigation experience, including law and motion practice
    • Appellate litigation experience before administrative agencies and state and federal

How to Apply:
To apply for this position, email (in one PDF) a cover letter, resume, at least two references, and a legal writing sample to Sara Van Hofwegen, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney, at Make sure the email subject line is “UC Staff Attorney Position.”