Job Opportunities

For consideration, email a cover letter, resume and references to employment@trla.org.

Accountant I - Mercedes

The Accountant I works under the direct supervision of the Accounting Operations Manager and the general supervision of the Chief Financial Officer. The primary responsibilities are:

  1. Assists in preparing necessary schedules required for annual audit.
  2. Codes vouchers, invoices and claims for payment.
  3. Has primary responsibility for preparing and entering data to the general ledger.
  4. Verifies computer printouts for accuracy.
  5. Pays travel, mileage, travel advance and out of pocket expenses.
  6. Prepares bank deposit slips.
  7. Responsible for all the accounting functions for TRLA pension plan including loans.
  8. Performs any other duties as required by the Chief Financial Officer.

Qualifications:

  1. A Bachelor’s of Business Administration Degree in Accounting or Finance, or equivalent work experience.
  2. Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel); strong computer skills.
  3. Bilingual in English and Spanish preferred.

Apply to TRLA

For consideration, email a cover letter, resume and references to employment@trla.org.

Attorney Staff Public Defender - Bee

TRLA seeks an experienced, felony-qualified attorney for its Bee County offices and surrounding areas. With caseload controls, staff investigators and a solid litigation budget, the program emphasizes zealous advocacy in a rural environment. The program costs are split equally between the state and the participating counties. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, with 175 attorneys, is the largest civil legal services program in the nation, covering a 68-county service area in Southwest Texas. Indigent defense services through the TRLA non-profit corporation began approximately ten years ago, and have now been extended to 8 counties. The non-profit arrangement establishes a strong measure of independence for defender staff, backed by a firm with a strong national reputation for zealous advocacy. TRLA provides its defender clients the full range of representation, both civil and criminal, including advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. A mental health component is being added to the program in the fall. The primary responsibilities are:
  • Serve as lead counsel of record in up to 50 felony cases, 100 misdemeanor cases, and 10 juvenile cases per year;
  • Mentor less experienced attorneys in the program; and
  • Try cases to a verdict.
Qualifications:
  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam;
  • One year of criminal litigation experience or comparable academic or clinical experience in criminal law;
  • Have served as lead counsel in at least 3 felony trials before a jury;
  • Experience with appeals;
  • Preference for an attorney who is professionally functional in the Spanish language;
  • Proficiency in the Windows operating system, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and legal research software; and
  • Completion of six hours of continuing legal education in criminal law within the twelve months preceding service as a Public Defender staff attorney.
To apply, email a cover letter, resume and references to employment@trla.org

Attorneys TRLA Veteran Advocacy Project-- Corpus Christi, Mercedes and San Antonio

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks attorneys to provide civil legal services to veterans. The attorneys will be located in Corpus Christi, Mercedes and San Antonio TRLA offices. The attorneys will provide extended civil services to veterans in a wide range of civil legal matters including housing, probate, benefits, consumer, employment, homelessness, and family law. The principal requirement for client eligibility, other than being low-income, is that the client be a veteran, spouse, or dependent of a veteran. The attorney will provide direct legal services to those who are eligible under grantors' rules, and will collaborate closely with community partners, including veteran service organizations, Department of Veteran Affairs medical facilities, and service providers for veterans living in homelessness.
DUTIES:
The candidates must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated.  Among other duties, the attorney will:
  • Evaluate clients' claims and assess civil legal remedies.
  • Represent clients in all stages of litigation and in all forms of advocacy.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with community partners.
  • Support civil legal services for veterans throughout the 68-county TRLA service area and in 114 Northwest Texas counties where the veteran or family member is the survivor of sexual assault.
  • Provide counsel to individuals seeking civil legal assistance.
  • Prepare and conduct community outreach.
REQUIRED:
JD from accredited university. Admitted to the State Bar of Texas, or willing to take next Texas Bar Exam. PREFERRED:
  • Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations.
  • Experience working with veterans.
  • Experience working with community services/partners.
  • Fluent in English and Spanish, written and spoken.
 To apply, email a cover letter, resume and references to employment@trla.org.

Current Law Students

Current law school students play an important role in all of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)’s branch offices. With a 68-county service area in Texas and an office serving migrant farmworkers in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, TRLA offers numerous opportunities for current students to explore the world of legal aid.

TRLA Clerk

TRLA law clerks perform traditional research projects, interview clients and witnesses, assist with litigation related activities, and help develop cases. Generally, a clerk works with more than one attorney in practice areas of interest to the student. For more information, visit our clerks page.

Telephone Access to Justice

TRLA hires University of Texas and St. Mary's University law students for the Telephone Access to Justice Project (TAJ) in Austin and San Antonio. The part-time position offers the opportunity to develop practical legal skills and assist clients with a variety of legal problems. Law students who have completed their first or second year of law school and can work a minimum of 12-15 hours per week are eligible. For more information, visit our TAJ info page.

Law Clerks

TRLA law clerks perform traditional research projects, interview clients and witnesses, assist with litigation related activities, and help develop cases. Generally, a clerk works with more than one attorney in practice areas of interest to the student.

The best way for law students in Texas to find out more about TRLA and opportunities for law students is to attend the Public Service Career Day held at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in February of each year. Students sign up via their career services office in December to interview with TRLA. Several TRLA attorneys from throughout the service area attend, interview students, and discuss their experiences as TRLA attorneys and opportunities for law students.

Offices

There are several offices located through TRLA's service area that students can choose from:

Practice Areas

TRLA has organized its services around a variety of practice areas (39 in all) that address the range of problems confronting the low-income community. These areas include:

  • Economic & Social Justice
  • Domestic Violence & Family
  • Housing
  • Individual Rights
  • Labor & Employment
  • Public Benefits

The Application Process

Students interested in clerk opportunities should send a cover letter stating their office preferences and resume to Monica Bustamante at mbustamante@trla.org. Students interested in clerking at the Nashville office should send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Caitlin Berberich at CBerberich@trla.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get paid?

There are numerous funding opportunities available for summer clerks. Law schools generally have some summer fellowship funding available; students should check with their law school's career services office and public interest advisors about available resources. When TRLA has multiple students interested in sponsorship for a limited number of fellowships, such as the Texas Law Fellowships, priority is given to students interested in working in offices other than our Austin office. In addition, TRLA may obtain funding for some law clerk positions through various sections of the State Bar. Telephone Access to Justice Associates get paid an hourly wage.

Can I split my time with another organization?

Yes, a split summer can be accommodated in most situations.

Can these opportunities lead to full-time employment?

TRLA has ongoing hiring needs and has hired many attorneys over the last several years, many of whom are recent law school graduates who first came to TRLA as Telephone Access to Justice Associates or as law clerks. An interest in working in offices other than our Austin or San Antonio branches significantly increases opportunities for long-term employment.

Can I choose what office or practice areas I work in?

Clerks will be able to specify a preference in office location and practice areas. TRLA will attempt to honor these preferences as much as possible. Students should be aware that preferences to work in branch offices outside of San Antonio and Austin are easier to accommodate and can affect funding opportunities.

Do I need to know how to speak Spanish?

Because of the location of the service area, the ability to communicate in Spanish is preferred, but not required. For full-time attorney positions, if the applicant is not already fluent in the language, a commitment to become so is required.

For more information about these positions, contact:

S. Monica Bustamante Risk & Materials Manager/Recruitment Coordinator (915) 585-5100 or Fax (915) 544-3789 Email: employment@trla.org Download Employment Application (.doc)

Paralegal II - Laredo

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has recently been funded by the Jones Day law firm to help it provide pro bono legal services to refugees detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail in Laredo, Texas. TRLA seeks a Paralegal to work with asylum applicants, most of whom are women from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are fleeing from the highest levels of violence in the Western Hemisphere, but after a perilous journey are promptly jailed upon crossing the Rio Grande and seeking asylum. The vast majority of the detainees have suffered traumatic experiences, including sexual assaults, robbery, extortion, and other acts of violence, in Central America or on the trip north. During their confinement in the Laredo facility, the inmates are subjected to a “credible fear interview” before a USCIS asylum officer, the first step in the asylum process. Almost none of the refugees are able to navigate the process without the professional assistance of trained lawyers and paralegals. Jones Day, a major international law firm, has undertaken focused pro bono representation of the detainees in the Laredo facility. The firm will be bringing partners, associates and support staff from offices all over the nation to provide extended representation to asylum applicants from the initiation of the process to its ultimate conclusion. The emphasis in Laredo is on the first step in that process – passing the credible fear interview. Follow-up representation will be pursued by Jones Day lawyers from its 18 US offices. The firm has asked TRLA, the general legal services provider in Southwest Texas, to support its pro bono efforts by providing on-the-ground services inside the facility Duties: All candidates should possess a sense of urgency to protect asylum-seekers from deportation, empathy, and the ability to stay calm in the midst of crisis. The paralegals will work under the supervision of a lawyer inside the Laredo detention facility, performing the following duties:
  • Conduct intake interviews with new clients, including eligibility screening;
  • Develop specialized knowledge of asylum law and expedited removal;
  • Prepare individuals for credible and reasonable fear interviews with a USCIS Asylum Officer;
  • Prepare individuals who seek Immigration Judge review of a negative decision by an Asylum Officer;
  • Support clients who request release on bond after a positive credible or reasonable fear determination;
  • Draft declarations and gather evidence, including country conditions, that supports an individual’s eligibility for asylum;
  • Prepare filings for court;
  • Communicate with stakeholders, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • Communicate with clients and their loved ones;
  • Provide Know-Your-Rights presentations;
  • Collaborate with current community partners and form new partnerships;
  • Create legal educational materials;
  •  Support and collaborate with local and national volunteers;
  •  Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records;
  • Prepare administrative reports;
  • Provide translation and interpretation; and
  • Provide legal information and referrals.
Required Qualifications: • Fluency in English and Spanish • College degree • Excellent oral and writing skills • Ability to work independently and as a part of a team • Flexibility to work evenings and weekends and accommodate an irregular work schedule • A proven commitment to supporting vulnerable immigrant populations Preferred: • Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations • Experience working with survivors of trauma • Experience coordinating or participating in volunteer-based projects How to Apply and Related Timelines: Applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Paralegal Position - Family Detention Project” in the subject line, to the following individual: To: Monica Bustamante, Recruitment Manager, at employment@trla.org The consideration of candidates is ongoing and will continue until the position is filled. The position is available immediately, although the start date is somewhat negotiable.

SMLS Farmworker Paralegal - Nashville

Paralegal:   Southern Migrant Legal Services (SMLS), A Project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., seeks a full-time, year-round paralegal for its Nashville office. SMLS provides free employment-related legal services to low-income migrant farm workers in six southern states. The paralegal must be fluent in written and spoken English and Spanish. Preference will be given to applicants with a demonstrated commitment to social justice, especially in the areas of workers and immigrants’ rights. Duties include (but aren’t limited to): conducting outreach in rural areas during evening and weekends, performing client intakes, preparing community legal education materials, investigating cases, assisting attorneys in litigation, communicating with community organizations and other service providers, referring individuals to other agencies and attorneys and any other duties as necessary. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license. Applicants must be willing and able to travel extensively, overnight, especially during the spring and summer months. Proficient word processing, internet, and office skills are also required. How to Apply:  Email a cover letter, resume (listing all relevant experience with start and end dates of employment) and three professional references (from prior supervisors) to employment@trla.org and SMLS Managing Attorney, Caitlin Berberich, at cberberich@trla.org. Application Deadline: Position open until filled, with preferred start date as soon as possible. Pay and Benefits: Salary commensurate with experience and based upon a 40-hour workweek (although occasional overtime (with overtime compensation) may be required. TRLA is an equal opportunity employer that seeks a diverse workforce. TRLA offers a benefits package that includes various paid vacation and sick leave days (including all federal holidays); medical, dental, and disability coverage; life insurance; and a retirement plan. TRLA has a unionized workforce (membership is optional).

Staff Attorney - Dallas/Fort Worth Metro Area

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (“TRLA”) Legal Aid for Sexual Assault Survivors (LASSA) Project seeks attorneys to provide civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault in the following Texas regions: ● Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area In appropriate circumstances the attorneys will provide extended civil services to survivors who have been victims of sexual violence, including harassment, assault, abuse, or trafficking. The attorney will screen clients for eligibility, provide direct legal services to those determined to be eligible, and will collaborate closely with community partners, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. DUTIES: The candidate must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated. Among other duties, the attorney will: ● Interview survivors and conduct trauma-informed intakes ● Evaluate eligibility for TRLA services and civil legal remedies ● Establish and maintain relationships with community partners, including shelters and rape crisis centers ● Assist in coordinating and supporting civil legal services in the region ● Assist and counsel individuals seeking civil legal assistance ● Coordinate with community partners to develop safety plans for survivors ● Prepare and conduct community outreach REQUIRED:
  • JD from accredited university.
  • Bar Admission in any US state. Licensed to practice law in highly Texas preferred, but will consider applicants licensed in other states.
  • Fluent in English and Spanish, written and spoken
PREFERRED: ● Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations ● Experience working with survivors of trauma ● Experience coordinating community services/partners JOB DESCRIPTION STAFF ATTORNEY The position of staff attorney is a professional position with duties and activities of an extremely diverse nature which are commensurate with the provision of legal services to eligible individuals and groups. A staff attorney works under the supervision of the branch manager of the office to which assigned, as well as under one or more team managers. The primary duties and activities of the staff attorney may include the following and any other such duties and activities as are related to the practice of law by an attorney:
  1. Practices civil law for eligible clients in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the applicable state and consistent with office standards of practice;
  2. Supervises and/or works with legal paraprofessionals as assigned;
  3. Complies with all case reporting requirements, including timekeeping, case activities, legislative and rulemaking, private attorney involvement, community education presentations, etc.
  4. Keeps current on the state of the law and procedures within areas of law ordinarily handled by the Team to which assigned.
  5. Participates in community legal education as directed by the Executive Director, Branch Manager or Team Manager. Prepares educational materials and/or makes public presentations on relevant topics as assigned and participates in TRLA and/or office outreach efforts.
  6. Participates in other activities related to poverty law, including publication, permissible legislative and rulemaking activities, media relations in accordance with TRLA policy and applicable laws and regulations.
  7. Commensurate with experience, consults, guides and answers questions of other staff members.
  8. Fulfills all requirements necessary to remain in good standing with the State Bar and the Supreme Court of the applicable state, including but not limited to, compliance with the minimum requirements for Continuing Legal Education.
  9. Attends and/or coordinates clinics or other events as requested by the Branch or Team Manager.
  10. Maintains relationships with other programs and agencies as requested by the Branch or Team Manager, including, but not limited to, attending meetings of such programs and/or agencies.
Qualifications
  1. Licensed to practice in the applicable state or be willing to apply and take the applicable Bar exam at the next available opportunity.
  2. Preference given to those persons bilingual in English and Spanish.

Staff Attorney/LASSA Project - Sinton

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (“TRLA”) Legal Aid for Sexual Assault Survivors (LASSA) Project seeks attorneys to provide civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault in the Sinton office.
In appropriate circumstances the attorneys will provide extended civil services to survivors who have been victims of sexual violence, including harassment, assault, abuse, or trafficking.
The attorney will screen clients for eligibility, provide direct legal services to those determined to be eligible, and will collaborate closely with community partners, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers.
DUTIES:
The candidate must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated.  Among other duties, the attorney will:
● Interview survivors and conduct trauma-informed intakes ● Evaluate eligibility for TRLA services and civil legal remedies ● Establish and maintain relationships with community partners ● Assist in coordinating and supporting civil legal services in their region ● Assist and counsel individuals seeking civil legal assistance ● Coordinate with community partners to develop safety plans for survivors ● Prepare and conduct community outreach
REQUIRED: ● JD from accredited university. ● Bar Admission in any US state. Licensed to practice law in Texas highly preferred, but will consider applicants licensed in other states. ● Fluent in English and Spanish, written and spoken PREFERRED: ● Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations ● Experience working with survivors of trauma ● Experience coordinating community services/partners

Staff Attorneys - Civil Division: Rio Grande Valley/Border Region

Staff attorneys are needed at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, to provide civil legal services to indigent clients throughout its 68-county service area in Southwest Texas. The area includes rapidly growing border cities, rural communities, and large metropolitan areas like Austin and San Antonio. With 120 lawyers, TRLA operates one of the largest civil legal services programs in the country and is nationally recognized for high quality, zealous advocacy for its clients. The attorneys will specialize through one or more of the 40+ practice area teams addressing such disparate issues as immigration, domestic violence, farm labor, international child abduction, sexual assault, LGBT issues, civil rights, and employment discrimination.  Depending on the practice area or the community, the attorney might litigate complex cases in federal courts, engage in transactional work for colonia residents, or develop a litigation-oriented practice in the state courts in the region.  The border offices provide services to substantial numbers of migrant farm workers and other low-wage workers, the vast majority of whom are Hispanic and Spanish-speaking. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package, including law school loan repayment.

Qualifications:

  • Licensed to practice law in Texas, able to waive into the Texas bar, or willing to take the next available bar exam, in that order of preference
  • Preference for lawyers who are functionally fluent in Spanish at a professional level
  • Maintain  continuing legal education requirements
For consideration, please submit a cover letter, resume and references to mbustamante@trla.org and on the subject line indicate the preferred position and city.

Staff Attorneys/Domestic Violence/Family Law Team— Del Rio

Two staff attorneys are needed by the Domestic Violence/Family Law Team in the Del Rio office. Family law attorneys represent victims of recent domestic violence and sexual assault refused services by local prosecutors for a Protective Order; shelter residents who are victims of recent domestic violence or sexual assault; recent domestic violence and sexual assault victims in other family law matters. The attorney will screen clients for eligibility, provide direct legal services to those determined to be eligible, and will collaborate closely with community partners, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers. DUTIES: The candidate must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated. Among other duties, the attorney will: • Represent family violence and sexual assault victims in family law litigation; • Establish and maintain relationships with community partners; • Prepare and conduct community outreach. REQUIRED:
  • Licensed to practice law in Texas, able to waive into the Texas bar, or willing to take the next available bar exam, in that order of preference;
  • Preference for lawyers who are functionally fluent in Spanish at a professional level;
  • Maintain continuing legal education requirements.
PREFERRED: • Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations; • Experience working with survivors of trauma with family law (law school clinic experience included).