The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) provides high-quality pro bono legal representation to immigrants detained in the southeastern United States. By ensuring that skilled attorneys are available to protect detained immigrants’ due process rights, the SIFI endeavors to win release from detention for immigrants with meritorious cases, and to aggressively defend detained immigrants from removal.
The SIFI Lead Attorney manages a full-time staff comprised of one direct services attorney and one project coordinator and weekly pro bono attorneys in order to provide the highest quality legal representation to individuals detained in the Folkston Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center in Folkston, GA. The SIFI Lead Attorney coordinates the legal strategies for SIFI clients and is primarily responsible for devising (in collaboration with the SIFI team) the optimal pathway for victory in each SIFI case including identifying ineligibility for defenses against removal, eligibility for release through bond, parole, habeas or other lawful mechanisms, and potential litigation and other advocacy involving issues such as law enforcement misconduct during enforcement actions and conditions of confinement. Both directly and through volunteer attorneys, the SIFI Lead Attorney provides legal advice and representation to SIFI clients in accordance with the best practices and rules of conduct of the profession, provides on-the-ground/local guidance to the advocacy team for litigation efforts, and participates in regular program management and government liaison meetings.
Works with local staff and SIFI organizational partners to run the operations of the project in Folkston, Georgia
Manages SIFI local staff
Based on SIFI case selection criteria, thoroughly screens pro bono attorneys’ intakes for defenses against deportation, bond and parole eligibility, and other potential legal claims and advocacy
Assists in the development, in collaboration with pro bono attorneys, the SIFI legal team, and others as necessary, the optimal pathway to victory for SIFI clients
Helps develop legal strategies to address facility- and immigration court-centered issues such as access to courts and counsel, due process violations, and prolonged detention
Helps develop factual record, refer cases and clients, and provide on the ground support to remote teams in litigation involving issues such as Fourth Amendment violations and other law enforcement misconduct, access to courts and counsel, conditions of confinement, and prolonged detention
Liaises with government officials to address issues that arise
Oversees volunteer management and assesses volunteer skill each week to ensure best possible volunteer experience
Communicates regularly with SIFI organizational leadership
In conjunction with SIFI leadership, ensures that all staff and volunteers meet the highest standards of ethics and professionalism
Collaborate deeply with Phase 3 staff, pro bono attorneys and related partners in order to maximize the success of Phase 3 merits cases
Other functions necessary to ensure successful completion of the project
Qualifications (Education and Related Work Experience):
JD from accredited university
Membership in good standing in the bar of any state and/or the District of Columbia
Bi-lingual, English/Spanish (conversational, speaking and writing)
At least three years of experience practicing before immigration courts preferred
Dedication to and experience working with low-income, immigrant clients
Experience managing and directing staff
Experience working within volunteer-based projects, preferred
Commitment to working long hours
Other Special Considerations:
This job is performed under general office conditions, and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.
All applicants should submit cover letter, resume, references, and legal writing sample.
1 year, with the possibility of an extension.
The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.
An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity:
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation and national origin. We reasonably accommodate staff members and/or applicants with disabilities, provided they are otherwise able to perform the essential functions of the job.
For immediate consideration, please apply online at:
The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education and other forms of advocacy, we work toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.