The DC-MD Justice For Our Neighbors (DC-MD JFON) staff attorney is part of the National Justice for Our Neighbors (National JFON or NJFON) (www.njfon.org) network. The staff attorney is responsible for the provision of immigration legal services at each United Methodist immigration clinic site contained within the Baltimore – Washington Conference (BWC) of the United Methodist Church.
The staff attorney is also responsible for the supervision and training of clinic volunteers and support staff assisting with this provision of immigration legal services. The staff attorney will work in coordination with each clinic to promote community education around immigrants’ rights, advocate for immigrants’ rights and empower immigrants to “know their rights” through legal education.
Immigration Legal Services
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney will provide legal counsel and advice to clients who attend JFON immigration legal clinics and may assist the clients with the preparation of immigration petitions and applications.
Volunteer attorneys, law students, law clerks and other volunteers from each clinic site may assist the attorney in the performance of their duties, but all work performed by volunteers and other assistants shall be reviewed by the staff attorney.
The staff attorney will have the discretion to determine the number of clients and nature of cases he/she can undertake.
The staff attorney’s primary responsibility is to serve each DC-MD JFON clinic in the BWC. The staff attorney is not permitted to take on any immigration cases or any other type of legal case or provide legal representation in another area of the law that is outside the DC-MD JFON immigration clinic setting. The staff attorney may pursue professional interests related to immigration law and the advocacy of immigrants’ rights as time and resources permit.
Coordination with National JFON
The staff attorney’s professional performance is subject to review by the Regional Attorney of National JFON.
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney will participate in case review meetings via telephone conference, list serve, and occasional in-person meetings with other JFON attorneys throughout the United States. National JFON encourages the DC-MD JFON staff attorney to communicate as frequently as he/she wishes to discuss immigration law, practice and procedure, individual cases and strategies, legal theories, tribunal and court advocacy and programmatic issues at the clinic level.
At least once a year, the DC-MD staff attorney will be required to participate in National JFON’s organizing and training conference.
Clinic Management and Administration
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney reports to the DC-MD JFON Site Board.
The National JFON staff will provide general guidelines for clinic management. It is the DC-MD JFON staff attorney’s shared responsibility with the clinic organizers (clinic head and volunteers) to ensure that clinic guidelines and policies are followed.
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney is responsible for ensuring that case management practices comply with the principles and rules of professional responsibility for lawyers. This may require knowledge of the rules of professional ethics of the states located in the BWC as well as the rules of professional responsibility in each jurisdiction in which the staff attorney is licensed. The DC-MD JFON staff attorney must observe the National JFON Practice Standards and policies. In addition, the DC-MD JFON staff attorney should be familiar with the ABA Rules of Professional Responsibility and the Board of Immigration Appeals Regulations on Professional Ethics.
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney is not responsible for recruitment of volunteers or the logistical organization of the immigration clinics. However, the staff attorney is expected to participate in outreach and educational efforts as much as the legal work load permits and as deemed appropriate pursuant to consultation with the DC-MD JFON Site Board.
Time Allocation and Travel
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney will allocate his/her time and resources using his/her judgment, taking into account the specific needs, proper functioning and service required by the clients of each clinic site.
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney should allow sufficient time for legal research and continuing legal education.
The DC-MD JFON staff attorney is required to travel to each clinic site within the BWC at least once a month to conduct initial legal consultations, handle follow-up consultations and to complete casework as needed. Vacation and approved leaves of absence for both clinic volunteers and the staff attorney must be discussed and scheduled in advance with the DC-MD JFON Board of Directors.
Travel may also be required to local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services district offices and to the immigration court.
The staff attorney should have a strong commitment to public interest law and to the enfranchisement and empowerment of newcomer immigrant communities.
Justice for Our Neighbors is more than a legal service project. It is a faith-based ministry of service involving many diverse individuals, cultures and faiths who come together through the United Methodist Church to welcome newcomers to our community. As such, the staff attorney for the DC-MD JFON should have an appreciation of the spiritual principles of this work and an ability to work sensitively with a diverse group of clients and numerous motivated volunteers all having diverse personalities, lifestyles, cultures, political orientations and faiths.
General knowledge of immigration and nationality law and prior experience in this field is strongly preferred.
Bi-lingual (English/Spanish) ability is strongly preferred.
Staff Attorney Salary and Benefits
Annual salary is comparable to with similar positions across JFON and similar networks.
Medical and Dental Insurance is provided.
As a Justice for Our Neighbors staff attorney, the DC-MD JFON staff attorney will be covered by National JFON’s professional liability insurance.
SPECIFIC DUTIES OF THE DC-MD JFON STAFF ATTORNEY
- Conduct confidential legal consultations and provide legal advice in the area of immigration law to those who attend an immigration clinic (during non-office hours)
- Interview clients to obtain information to prepare applications to submit to immigration
- Thoroughly prepare clients for handling immigration interviews and appearing in court
- Conduct immigration law legal research necessary to the legal issues in a client’s case
- Draft legal memoranda in support of applications and in support of court hearings
- Communicate and follow up with those community partners submitting documentation supporting clients’ application
- Assist and support clients by communicating with community partners that aid in client’s quality of life issues
- Represent clients in immigration court
- Draft applications to submit to family court in Maryland for obtaining predicate orders for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status applications
- Supervise volunteers at the clinics
- Conduct periodic trainings for clinic volunteers on legal forms and clinic operations
- Represent DC-MD JFON in local immigration legal services meetings
- Participate in monthly attorney calls and quarterly supervising attorney review calls
- Prepare reports for National JFON
- Prepare reports for Board meetings
In addition the DC-MD JFON Attorney is responsible for general office administration duties which include and are not limited to: communication, scheduling, filing, database management, and maintaining office supplies.