U.S. Legal Director
New York /
Legal NYC /
The International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) is a dynamic and growing legal and policy advocacy organization that works to develop and enforce a system of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced people around the world. We are the leading organization providing free and comprehensive legal services to people in need of a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.
IRAP operates offices in the U.S. (New York City, Washington, D.C.), Jordan (Amman), Lebanon (Beirut), and Europe (Berlin). Our legal and advocacy teams work closely with a corps of pro bono lawyers from 75 leading law firms and multi-national corporations, and law students who have created 29 IRAP chapters across the United States and Canada. Through this work, we aim to assist refugees and other displaced people to find safe passage and to transform the landscape of refugee rights. IRAP has over 100 full-time staff members. We are a nimble organization staffed by an innovative and collaborative team that is committed to high standards of quality and close partnerships with our clients, peers, and colleagues.
IRAP believes that diversity is critical to fostering a strong workplace and serving our clients well. We strongly encourage applications from people with lived experiences in the communities that we serve, members of other marginalized communities, and individuals whose identities are underrepresented in the legal profession.
About the US Legal Department
IRAP’s U.S. legal department includes over 25 staff who provide individual legal assistance to refugees and other displaced people around the world. Since IRAP’s establishment, we have helped to resettle more than 3,800 individuals to 18 countries.
Our U.S.- based staff provide legal assistance to individuals navigating the refugee recognition, resettlement, and visa application processes through their mentorship of pro bono teams, in-house representation, and legal information and pro se materials. They also lead our efforts to organize and train law students from IRAP’s 31 law school chapters and pro bono attorneys at over 100 international law firms and multinational corporations.
- Program Management
- Manage a team of 16+ attorneys and caseworkers providing high-volume legal representation to displaced persons worldwide In coordination with the Legal Services Director, who manages legal representation throughout IRAP’s offices worldwide, and other IRAP program directors, ensure the U.S. Legal Department’s programmatic work is effective, responsive to clients’ needs, and in alignment with IRAP’s strategic plan
- Oversee the department’s provision of the highest quality legal services by ensuring timely services are provided, adjusting and implementing new protocols as needed, and managing team performance
- Collaborate with IRAP’s other legal services offices to ensure efficient referral mechanisms and consistent case strategy for clients who are applying for benefits under U.S. immigration laws
- Work closely with the Pro Bono Department to ensure U.S. casework handled by pro bono teams is coordinated and handled under the highest standards
- Oversee the development of new programming within the U.S. Legal Department including conceptual design of legal work, fundraising, staffing and implementation of new programming in alignment with IRAP’s strategic plan
- Provide substantive expertise on issues of law and practice, advise team on complex legal matters, and take on a small number of cases when necessary to ensure a comprehensive understanding of case types and help identify issues ripe for advocacy
- Supervision and Staff Management
- Provide direct supervision to senior members of the team and oversight on strategic and ethical questions to the department
- Oversee the implementation of mentoring and professional development opportunities for all team members
- Handle all HR issues as they arise within the department, including hiring, promotions, compensation adjustments, disciplinary matters, and annual reviews
- Support a positive daily work experience for U.S. Legal department staff and create and maintain an equitable and inclusive work culture
- Cross-Departmental Coordination
- Work closely with Policy and Litigation departments to ensure a coordinated response to legal barriers faced by IRAP clients
- Coordinate with Communications department on strategic media work to advance advocacy efforts on behalf of our clients
- Manage a departmental budget and participate as needed in fundraising meetings and events related to the programmatic work of the U.S. Legal Department
- Other responsibilities as necessary and assigned by the Legal Services Director or organizational leadership
- The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to IRAP’s mission and understand the critical role that direct legal services, litigation and advocacy play in advancing the rights of refugees worldwide. S/he/they will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- JD or LLM and admission to practice law in the U.S. required
- Minimum of 8 years of legal services experience in the field of U.S. immigration law and/or international refugee law required; extensive experience supervising high-volume direct client work is also required; experience supervising staff working remotely is a plus.
- Strong project management skills including a record of success in managing, training, developing, and supervising legal staff
- Commitment to and experience in successfully employing an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens to foster a diverse, equitable working environment and creating diverse teams that reflect communities served;
- Experience working with community-based and NGO partners and sensitivity to client empowerment and to working with clients of all backgrounds, including LGBTI clients, and survivors of trauma.
- Must be highly organized and motivated, able to multitask, manage a high-volume workload, and have excellent time management skills.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with a preference for experience working in diverse and international work environments.
- Excellent writing, analytical, and oral communication skills;
- Excellent oral and written English skills. Excellent skills in a second language, particularly Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, or Spanish, is a plus but not required.
The annual salary range for this position is $121,105 -$159,363, commensurate with experience