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.

Accountant II - Mercedes

TRLA has an opening for an Accountant II position. The Accountant II works under the direct supervision of the Accounting Operations Manager and the general supervision of the Chief Financial Officer. The primary responsibilities are: 1. Provide support for the accounting functions including reconciliations, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, fixed assets and financial reporting. 2. Verifies payroll changes and makes direct deposits. 3. Maintains cash receipts journal. 4. Performs month-end closings including preparation and/or review of journal entries, account reconciliations and reviews detailed financial statements. 5. Prepare and/or review weekly/monthly reconciliations for balance sheet accounts. 6. Research and analysis related to financial statements. 7. Provide assistance with budgeting process. 8. Responsible for maintaining TRLA fixed assets inventory. 9. Performs any other duties as required by the Chief Financial Officer. Qualifications: 2. Bachelors’ in Business Administration degree with accounting emphasis 3. At least two years accounting experience through general ledger and journal entry. 4. Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel); strong computer skills. 5. 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--BEEVILLE

TRLA seeks an experienced, felony-qualified attorney for its Regional Public Defender office in Beeville. The Bee Regional Public Defender Program, from its office in Beeville, serves Bee, Live Oak, and McMullen Counties, and will soon serve Refugio County as well. 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 5 felony trials before a jury; • 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.

Compliance Coordinator/Administrator III--Mercedes

The Administrator III classification includes those employees whose work affects TRLA and its employees on a program-wide basis. Included are the following job descriptions: COMPLIANCE COORDINATOR Summary: Responsible for overseeing TRLA’s compliance with funding rules and regulations, for training staff on same, and for maintaining records regarding training conducted by TRLA. Serves as a member of TRLA's administration and reports directly to the Grants Manager. Primary duties include: • Prepares reports required by LSC and TAJF, including necessary research and analysis. Such reports include Legislative & Rulemaking, Non-Priority, Self-Inspection, LSC Grant Activity Report(GAR), and TAJF Self-Assessment Report (SAR); • Responds to LSC and TAJF monitoring requests regarding compliance issues and works with administrative staff to prepare for monitoring visits; • Responds to issues arising from monitoring visits; • Assists administrative staff in responding to inquiries from LSC and TAJF; • Provides support and information during LSC and TAJF application process; • Prepares notifications required by LSC grant conditions, including replacement of an auditor; office relocation; change of email address; discovery of losses due to theft, fraud, embezzlement; receipt of notice of a claim for attorneys’ fees; • Reviews CTS case files regularly for eligibility and other compliance issues, and ensures that needed corrections are made; • Works with IT director to update CTS for compliance purposes; • Ensures that eligibility guidelines are updated in the CTS and prepares proposed eligibility policy changes to be submitted to the board of directors when required; • Oversees and coordinates the priority setting and needs appraisal processes, including preparation of the annual priorities review, and meets with the board priorities committee; • Meets with the TRLA auditor to review non-financial audit requirements; • Conducts in-person and web-based training of staff regarding eligibility, case management, and other grant requirements; • Communicates with staff regarding funding regulations, including sending annual reminders; • Coordinates updates and compliance-related revisions toPolicies and Procedures Manual; • Coordinates with IT department to ensure that all non-HR TRLA documents and TRLA policies are accessible to all staff; • Ensures that all staff receive PHI\HIPPA and other trainings required by law or regulation, and maintains records to document same; • Oversees maintenance of records of all other in-house training; • Performs any other duties required by the Grants Manager. Qualifications: • College degree in a relevant field. • Experience in legal field, preferably with an LSC-funded program • Proficient with PC computing, Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, Power Point, and Internet research. • Ability to travel • Self-starter with ability to work independently • Detail-oriented with good time management skills • Bilingual in English/Spanish preferred.

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.

Deferral Volunteer Lawyers

In a creative response to the current recessionary economic environment, many law firms around the nation are offering to pay some of their associates to work with public interest programs until business activity restores the demand for lawyers. TRLA stands ready to do its part for the economy by offering lawyers whose employment has been deferred, or who have been furloughed, an opportunity to use their skills for the many thousands who would otherwise not be able to find access to the system of justice.

We offer a wide range of practice opportunities, from employment law to federal and state taxation, from litigation, both civil and criminal, to transactional work for community-based organizations. TRLA has 14 offices from Nashville, TN to El Paso, TX, including urban areas like Austin and San Antonio, the Gulf coast, the Mexican border, and the Trans-Pecos Mountain West.

If circumstances do not permit you to come to us, all is not lost. We have technology in place that allows the volunteer lawyer to stay where she is; as long as she has an internet connection, she can participate fully with other TRLA lawyers in zealous advocacy for the poor.

Browse our web site, with particular attention to the 37 practice areas in which we offer services, and then contact our Recruitment Coordinator, Monica Bustamante, at MBustamante@trla.org. Furnishing her a copy of your resume will speed the process of putting your talents to work for the common good.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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)

Executive Director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is one of the nation’s largest and most effective providers of legal services to low-income communities. After enjoying stable leadership for more than forty years, TRLA now seeks a new Executive Director. TRLA provides free, comprehensive civil legal services to the low-income residents of 68 counties in Southwest Texas, from Austin to the Rio Grande River, and to migrant and seasonal farm workers throughout Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. In addition, TRLA is the provider of civil legal assistance to survivors of sexual assault and harassment in 114 counties in Northwest Texas. TRLA also operates a regional public defender program in several rural counties in South Texas, providing representation, including appeals, to persons accused of felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile cases. TRLA represents 20,000 clients annually, including individuals, families, and organizations. TRLA is the second largest grantee of the Legal Services Corporation, fielding 170 lawyers and a similar number of support staff in 18 offices from El Paso, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. It provides direct legal representation in courts and administrative agencies, both state and federal, and engages in legal clinics, community legal education, and outreach. TRLA’s focus has always been litigation. TRLA has earned an excellent national reputation for the scope and impact of its efforts, particularly for its representation of migrant and seasonal farm workers. Because TRLA serves the entire Texas-Mexico border region, 80% of the clients served are Hispanic, and 32% prefer to communicate in the Spanish language. So TRLA emphasizes hiring bilingual staff to engage clients without language barriers. TRLA also operates in a world where poverty is extreme. Four of the poorest metropolitan areas in the United States are in TRLA’s service area: Brownsville-Harlingen (#1), McAllen-Edinburg (#2), El Paso (#6), and Corpus Christi (#9). Opportunities for creative delivery of legal services are abundant along the Texas-Mexico border, as are challenges. The Executive Director will lead the organization in its provision of both civil and public defender legal services, reporting directly to TRLA’s Board of Directors. The Executive Director will manage an annual budget of roughly $35 million and ensure compliance with grant conditions. The Executive Director will be responsible for collaborative efforts with grantors, the legal services community, and the private bar. The Executive Director will be responsible for all recruiting, hiring, training, and staff leadership. And the Executive Director will perform this work in a politically challenging environment, always seeking to maximize the impact that can be obtained using limited resources that are available to TRLA. To qualify, applicants must: (a) be admitted or meet all requirements to be admitted to the Texas Bar; (b) have substantial experience in poverty law, with strong emphasis on serving as lead counsel in relevant litigation; (c) have demonstrated capacity to lead and inspire staff who believe in the mission of justice for the poor. In sum, the Executive Director must represent TRLA publicly, maintaining TRLA’s stature in both the legal and client communities as a diligent defender of the rights of the poor as they seek equal access to justice. To Apply: Send a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications together with your résumé and two references to employment@trla.org. The search is being led by a committee of TRLA’s Board of Directors. TRLA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Ability to speak Spanish is preferred. Submission Deadline: October 15, 2017

Human Resources Director-Mercedes

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is seeking a Director of Human Resources to provide support to its staff of some 330 employees, including 170 attorneys, from its administrative offices located in Mercedes, Texas. TRLA provides civil legal services to indigent clients throughout its 68-county service area in Southwest Texas, to farm workers throughout the state and in six southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee), and to victims of sexual assault and harassment in Northwest Texas as well as the rest of its service area. TRLA also operates a public defender program in several of its counties. The TRLA Director of Human Resources implements TRLA policies and procedures, staffing, employment processing, compensation, training and development, employee relations, recruitment and retention, health and safety, employee benefits, unemployment, and worker’s compensation; implements compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and ensures that required state and federal employment standards are adhered to and required reporting is completed. The HR Director also works closely with the accounting and resource development departments, participates in union negotiations on behalf of management, and attends quarterly meetings of the TRLA board of directors. Qualifications: College degree in relevant field; Experience in human resources; Proficient with PC computing, Microsoft Office applications, and Internet research; Self-starter with ability to work independently and to supervise other staff; Ability to travel. Preference: Bilingual in English and Spanish

Investigator--Public Defender Division

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) has an opening for an Investigator to work with its regional public defender program serving Bee, Live Oak, McMullen and now Refugio counties.  The main office is in Beeville, but this position will mostly serve the Refugio County area. The primary duties and activities of a Public Defender Investigator include the following:
1. Conduct initial interviews of clients within 24 hours of arrest to screen for eligibility, immigration status, and potential conflicts of interest; determine facts, obtain witness identities, evaluate mental health status, and assess facts regarding bail.
2. Locate and interview victims, witnesses, and law enforcement personnel; draft statements, maintain interview notes.
3. Locate, gather and analyze records, reports and documents, scan documents into case management system; serve subpoenas.
4. Visit and recreate crime scenes by measuring, photographing, and sketching.
5. Prepare written reports.
6. Testify in court.
7. Notarize legal documents;
8. Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records, including data entry into case management system;
9. Prepare administrative reports required by TRLA;
10. Any other duties required by the Chief Public Defender,
Qualifications:
• Bilingual in English and Spanish. • High school graduate or equivalent • Car, driver’s license and automobile insurance • Experience in law enforcement or investigations • Resourcefulness, creativity, initiative and drive, tact, and discretion • Knowledge of computer applications preferred • Basic working knowledge of social work and public benefits programs preferred
To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and three references to employment@trla.org.

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)

Legal Secretary-Austin

TRLA-Austin has an opening for a legal secretary. The Legal Secretary will be recruited, hired and assigned by the Branch Manager, and be subject to discipline or removal according to the standard employment policies applicable to all TRLA secretaries. Responsibilities: • Drafting, editing, formatting and printing legal documents, correspondence and reports in Microsoft Word; • Scanning, faxing and filing documents; • Managing incoming and outgoing mail, faxes and telephone calls; • Managing case file records on the TRLA Client Tracking System, the custom-written case management system, as well as the hard copy files; • Managing and purchasing supplies, office equipment and furnishings; and, • Miscellaneous administrative duties, including time sheets for payroll, travel reimbursement requests, and docket maintenance. Minimum qualifications: • Proficiency in the Windows operating system, Microsoft Word and Excel applications, and computer data entry; • Bilingual in English and Spanish; • Six months’ experience as a legal secretary.

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 project 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.  

Social Worker-Mental Health - Beeville

The mental health social worker will work with TRLA’s regional public defender program under the supervision of a mental health attorney to help public defender clients develop a self-determination plan designed to reduce the cycle of criminal justice involvement, involuntary hospitalization, and homelessness. Duties and Responsibilities: • Develop and conduct needs assessments for each public defender client, including issues related to the client’s long term goals, mental health recovery, housing, employment, education, family relationships, and meaningful community integration. • In collaboration with the mental health attorney, work with the client’s TRLA public defender to ensure the needs assessment and self-determination plans are personalized to encompass all conditions of probation or parole. • Work with the mental health attorney to establish a relationship with the client. From the generalized categories developed in the project’s needs assessment, work with the client and mental health attorney to identify the client’s self-determination based supports and services in order to address the identified needs and potential barriers to successful reintegration. • Work with the client to find creative, client specific, self-determination based approaches to the identified needs and potential barriers to successful reintegration. • Work with the civil program staff to address related legal issues, including public benefits, housing, employment, disability rights and immigration consequences, in a holistic approach to the provision of comprehensive services. • Establish and develop relationships with community services and potential supports, including, but not limited to, the local mental health authority, law enforcement, community supervision, the housing authority, adult education services, community leaders, and religious communities. • Establish and develop relationships with supports identified by the client, including, if appropriate, the client’s immediate and extended family as well as friends, mentors and other supporters. • Under the direction of the mental health attorney, advocate for the client to identify and implement creative, client-specific, self-determination based services and supports. • Work with the client and the client’s chosen supports and services to develop and implement the client’s self-determination plan. • Assist in data collection and analysis as necessary. • Provide education and training as appropriate. Qualifications: • Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Licensed through the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners or be willing to become licensed. • Fluent in Spanish • Knowledge of public benefits • Have transportation available, including valid driver’s license and automobile insurance • Resourcefulness, creativity, initiative and drive, tact, and discretion Preferred Qualifications: • Lived experience with mental health challenges. • Computer skills How to Apply and Related Timelines: For consideration, applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Social Worker” in the subject line, to the following individuals: To: Monica Bustamante, Recruitment Coordinator, at employment@trla.org, and Laurie Hallmark at lhallmark@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.

Staff Attorney - 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 bilingual Staff Attorney 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 and collected in the midst of crisis. The Staff Attorney’s work with detained families inside the Laredo facility will include, but not be limited to, the following duties:
  • Develop specialized knowledge of asylum law and expedited removal;
  • Support Jones Day lawyers and staff in their representation of Laredo detainees;
  • Make know-your-rights presentations in Spanish to groups of detainees who are seeking asylum in the United States;
  • Represent individuals who will (1) participate in a credible or reasonable fear interview with a USCIS Asylum Officer, (2) seek Immigration Judge review of a negative decision by an Asylum Officer, and (3) request release on bond after a positive credible or reasonable fear determination.
  • File relevant complaints with the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties;
  • Communicate with stakeholders, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  • Collaborate with current community partners and form new partnerships;
  • Participate in community legal education. Prepare educational materials, make public presentations, and participate in TRLA outreach efforts;
  • Participate in other activities related to poverty law, including publication, permissible legislative and rule-making activities, media relations in accordance with TRLA policy and applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervise and/or work with legal paraprofessionals and volunteers;
  • Assure compliance with grantor rules, restrictions and grant conditions;
  • Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records;
  • Prepare administrative reports;
  • Provide legal information and referrals; and
  • Fulfill 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.
Required Qualifications:
  • Licensed to practice law. If not licensed to practice law in Texas, willing to apply
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish
  • 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 community services, working with community partners, and/or participating in volunteer-based projects
How to Apply and Related Timelines:
For consideration, applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Attorney 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.  

Staff Attorney--Dilley, Texas

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) seeks a Staff Attorney to work with Central American and Mexican refugee families held in a private prison in the rural South Texas community of Dilley, Texas. The families, most often a mother and one child, 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 River. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has contracted with Corrections Corporation of America to detain up to 2,400 refugees at any given time in a compound located about 75 miles south of San Antonio.
     The vast majority of the detainees have suffered traumatic experiences, including sexual assault, robbery, extortion, and other acts of violence, in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, or on the trip north. During their confinement in the Dilley facility, the inmates are subjected to a “credible fear interview” before a USCIS asylum officer, the first step in the asylum process. Almost all of the refugees are unable to navigate the process without the professional assistance of trained lawyers and paralegals.
      In response to the government’s inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers, four non-profit organizations, collectively known as the CARA Pro Bono Project (CARA), joined forces to assure detained families have access to legal services and to end the practice of family detention. CARA’s work ignited a national movement of advocates and allies committed to standing alongside detained families to defend their rights to due process and international protection as refugees. Volunteer lawyers from all over the country come to Dilley to join a small group CARA staff for an intense week of pro bono services. For a short video about CARA’s work, see: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/How-to-crowdsource-a-refugee-ri
     Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. began assisting the CARA staff in 2016. TRLA is one of the largest legal services programs for the poor in the country. Its 180 lawyers provide civil and criminal representation to the indigent residents of South and West Texas, including representation in immigration matters. TRLA seeks to augment resources in the jail in Dilley by hiring staff attorneys to sustain this critical work in the coming year.
Duties:
     The Staff Attorney will work with detained families at the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas. The attorney will screen clients for eligibility, provide direct legal services, and collaborate closely with existing pro bono efforts. The candidate must be self-directed, creative, and motivated.  Among other duties, the attorney will:
  •  Develop specialized knowledge of asylum law and expedited removal; • Interview detained families and conduct intake; • Evaluate eligibility for relief from removal; • File motions for custody redetermination; • Assist and counsel individuals seeking asylum, including preparing for credible fear interviews and Immigration Judge review of a negative decision by an Asylum Officer; • Communicate with stakeholders, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; • Collaborate with current community partners and form new partnerships; • Participate in community legal education. Prepare educational materials, make public presentations, and participate in TRLA outreach efforts; • Supervise and/or work with legal paraprofessionals and volunteers; • Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records; and • Fulfill 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.
 
Qualifications:
Required Qualifications:
  •  JD from accredited university. • Licensed to practice law. If not licensed to practice law in Texas, willing to apply • Bilingual in English and Spanish • 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 community services, working with community partners, and/or participating in volunteer-based projects.
How to Apply and Related Timelines:
     For consideration, applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Attorney Position - Family Detention Project” in the subject line, to the following individuals:
To: Monica Bustamante, Recruitment Manager, at employment@trla.org “cc”: Shalyn Fluharty, Director – Family Detention Project, at sfluharty@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.

Staff Attorney--Rio Grande Valley

STAFF ATTORNEY - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/FAMILY LAW TEAM FOR THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY
 The position of domestic violence/family law staff attorney is a professional position with duties and activities of an extremely diverse nature including working on systemic issues and representing individual victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in civil legal cases. The staff attorney works under the supervision of a family team manager.  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:
  • 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;
  • Supervises and/or works with legal paraprofessionals as assigned;
  • Complies with all case reporting requirements, including timekeeping, case activities, legislative and rulemaking, private attorney involvement, community education presentations, etc.
  • Keeps current on the state of the law and procedures within areas of law ordinarily handled by the Team to which assigned.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Commensurate with experience, consults, guides and answers questions of other staff members.
  • 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.
  • Attends and/or coordinates clinics or other events as requested by the Branch or Team Manager.
  • 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. Commitment to working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  3. Preference given to those persons bilingual in English and Spanish.

Staff Attorneys - Civil Division: All TRLA Locations

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.

Temporary Outreach Worker

BASTA (Building and Strengthening Tenant Action) Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Austin In furthering the cause of tenant empowerment in the Austin area, TRLA seeks an outreach worker to join the Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA) team to assist in outreach to tenants. The BASTA team supports low-income Austin residents’ ability to access safe, decent, and affordable housing through a variety of modes of advocacy, including education, litigation and empowerment strategies. TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the country and enjoys an exceptional litigation record. The organization is nationally recognized for its zealous representation of America’s most impoverished and oppressed populations, and its attorneys and support staff have achieved an enviable record of success in federal and state courts throughout Texas. TRLA recruits throughout the country and attracts many candidates who would be welcome in the most prestigious non-profit organizations in the country. The outreach worker is part of the Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (“BASTA”) project team to support low-income Austin residents’ ability to access safe, decent, and affordable housing through a variety of modes of advocacy, including education, litigation and empowerment strategies. The duties and activities of the outreach worker include the following: • Support full-time outreach workers, as needed, in visiting substandard properties and educating residents on their legal right to live in healthy housing, the steps they can take to get the property owners to make repairs, and the effects slum housing has on their health. Transport materials from office to meeting locations. • Help residents document substandard conditions and needed repairs. • Assist residents in requesting repairs, meeting with property managers, and reporting substandard conditions, as needed, to code enforcement. Monitor responsiveness and follow up as needed. • Document outreach activities and compile data to track outcomes and efficacy of the project. • All other duties assigned QUALIFICATIONS: Required • Bilingual in English and Spanish. • Dedication to economic, social and racial justice. • Ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of people, including residents and property owners. • Strong organizational skills. • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. • Ability to work evenings and weekends. • Vehicle and driver’s license. Preferred: • Knowledge of housing issues and/or landlord-tenant law. • Personal experience with low-income housing. • Computer proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and willingness to develop additional skills.

Temporary Paralegal-Austin

BASTA (Building and Strengthening Tenant Action) Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Austin In furthering the cause of tenant empowerment in the Austin area, TRLA seeks a paralegal to join the Building and Strengthening Tenant Action (BASTA) team to assist in litigation on behalf of tenants. The BASTA team supports low-income Austin residents’ ability to access safe, decent, and affordable housing through a variety of modes of advocacy, including education, litigation and empowerment strategies. TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the country and enjoys an exceptional litigation record. The organization is nationally recognized for its zealous representation of America’s most impoverished and oppressed populations, and its attorneys and support staff have achieved an enviable record of success in federal and state courts throughout Texas. TRLA recruits throughout the country and attracts many candidates who would be welcome in the most prestigious non-profit organizations in the country. The BASTA paralegal will be responsible for conducting intakes which require him/her to do some preliminary interviewing and fact gathering for potential clients. The paralegal also manages cases and maintains communication with the client throughout the legal process. Some local and regional travel may be required to meet with clients who are unable to meet at the office, and assist with educational workshops for tenants. As part of a comprehensive strategy, the BASTA paralegal will play a crucial role in ongoing litigation to improve housing conditions for tenants. The BASTA paralegal will assist in preparing court documents and the overall legal case. Duties and Responsibilities: 1.Assist attorneys to represent clients in court; 2. Conduct eligibility and substantive interviews in person and by telephone; 3. Provide basic information and referrals to applicants for assistance; 4. Interview clients and witnesses, investigate facts and research law; 5. Serve process and subpoenas; 6. Prepare legal documents; 7. Notarize documents; 8. Prepare for and participate in community education meetings and presentations; 9. Translate orally and in writing; 10. Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records; 11. Prepare administrative reports required by TRLA; 12. Work collaboratively with BASTA outreach workers, Tenant Association members, and others in the community; 13. Comply with professional standards of a law practice, including ethical standards; 14. Any other duties required by the primary supervisor. Qualifications: Strong commitment to social justice required, along with self-motivation, reliability, and a sense of humor. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree and/or related experience and education. Excellent verbal and written skills are necessary and candidates will only be considered who are fluent in Spanish. Background in working with tenants and/or as part of a strategic campaign in collaboration with outreach workers is a plus. TO APPLY: Email a cover letter and resume to employment@trla.org.