Job Description
Job Title Program Associate / Legal Assistant -Refugee Representation
Job ID 776085
Begin Date 3/3/14
Duration
Location Houston,  TX
Other Location
Description ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND:
 
Human Rights First is a nonprofit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington, DC. We build respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence.
 
Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting staff across all programs and departments from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective.
 
Human Rights First advances the rights of refugees and U.S. leadership to protect rights for refugees in the United States and around the world.  We work to protect refugees and other vulnerable migrants from a range of human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, violence, and lack of access to protection, by advocating for access to asylum and other protection, fair asylum and immigration court procedures, and for U.S. compliance with international refugee and human rights law. A key part of our strategy to achieve these goals is to help hundreds of individual refugees in the United States each year to win asylum through access to pro bono legal representation in the New York City, New Jersey, and Washington, DC areas. As part of our long-term commitment to human rights and legal representation, Human Rights First is now expanding its pro bono legal representation work , and in connection with this, is in the process of opening up a Houston office. Our policy and legal advocacy is informed by the experiences of our refugee clients and their pro bono lawyers.  
 
PURPOSE OF THE JOB: 
 
The Program Associate / Legal Assistant in the new Houston office will work with the Staff attorney, as well as with the broader Human Rights First refugee protection and pro bono teams. . S/he will work closely with the pro bono attorneys in the greater Houston area who represent refugees in their asylum cases through our program; schedule, coordinate and be trained to conduct initial interviews in detained and non-detained settings with refugees seeking legal representation; assist with outreach and advocacy goals related to asylum and refugee protection; and handle the coordination of Human Rights First’s  pro bono representation processes confidentially and competently. S/he will also assist in general oversight of Houston office operations.
 
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:
  • Assist in managing the administrative/clerical details of the program, which will include the coordination of schedules and compiling informational packets and case summaries;
  • Assist in responding to inquiries and requests for assistance from asylum-seekers, including scheduling, coordinating, and conducting initial screening interviews;
  • Perform in-depth, detailed interviews in-house and at area detention facilities with potential clients, who are often victims of torture and human rights abuses; conduct country research;
  • Assist in placing accepted cases with appropriate volunteer attorneys; communicate in a responsive and efficient manner with volunteer attorneys, other human rights organizations, and the public; organize legal trainings and assist in the provision of support for volunteer attorneys;
  • Help with outreach and advocacy objectives, including assistance with web materials, written materials, coalition-building, newsletters, and e-advocacy;
  • Assist in developing and building a Houston-based pro bono attorney network and in maintaining strong relationships with local law firms and volunteer attorneys that have already established relationships with Human Rights First;
  • Assist in promoting Human Rights First’s mission and work by organizing and participating in local community events, promotional events, and other professional networking events, when needed, that will increase the organization’s profile in the Houston community. Assist with positive messaging efforts that will aid Human Rights First in successfully integrating into Houston’s service provider community;
  • Assist with the hiring, orientation, and supervision of interns and assuring that these volunteers are used as quality resources for the Refugee Protection program;
  • Data entry, updating, maintenance, and retrieval, including the entry of new cases and contacts into the database, and coordinating with the information services department on database and technology issues for the program;
  • Maintain and organize electronic files, hard copy files, correspondence files, legal and policy publications, and legal representation files;
  • Assist with foundation reporting and maintenance of program statistics;
  • Coordinate meetings and agendas, as requested;
  • Contact volunteer attorneys to obtain updates on asylum cases, recognizing their work on successful cases, and coordinating the case closure process; and
  • Assist in overseeing general office operations, and coordinate, as necessary, with staff in New York, NY and Washington, DC to resolve operational issues in a timely fashion.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS:
  • College degree 
REQUIRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE:
  • Bachelor’s degree and at least one year of post-college working experience in a related field, with previous experience working with asylum-seekers or refugees strongly preferred;
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication, with advanced research and analytical skills;
  • Superb organizational skills, including the ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously, work under pressure, and meet deadlines;
  • Capacity to take initiative, prioritize duties, and work independently while functioning as a member of a team;
  • Ability to communicate patiently, respectfully and empathically with individuals from a variety of backgrounds;
  • Excellent technical skills, including Microsoft Office, database, E-mail (Outlook), Internet navigation, and computer/PDA troubleshooting skills;
  • Good judgment and attention to detail;
  • Valid driver’s license/ability to travel regionally by car to area immigrant detention centers on a periodic basis (mileage is reimbursed); and
  • Fluency in Spanish required (reading and writing).

ANNUAL SALARY: Competitive with comprehensive benefits package

START DATE:  April 2014

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  March 24, 2014. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply early. 

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Please complete the online application found at our website www.humanrightsfirst.org under ABOUT US / JOB OPPORTUNITIES links.
You will be requested to provide:
·         Resume (upload)
·         Cover letter (secondary upload*)
·         Writing sample (secondary upload*)
·         Names and contact details for three (3) references (enter online)

* After completing the initial application and uploading your resume, please select VIEW PROFILE and UPLOAD ATTACHMENT to upload additional documents.  You can also log into your profile from the top of the Job Opportunities page.  When logged into your profile, you can upload cover letter, writing sample, and any other relevant documents by selecting UPLOAD ATTACHMENT at the top of the page. 

Applicants will receive a confirmation email with their username and password once they’ve created a profile.  Please keep this information to access your application and make changes at any time.

Only selected applicants will be contacted for phone or in-person interviews.  NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington DC. We build respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence.

Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting staff across all programs and departments from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective. 
 
 
Required Skills •Bachelor’s degree and at least one year of post-college working experience in a related field, with previous experience working with asylum-seekers or refugees strongly preferred;

•Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication, with advanced research and analytical skills;

•Superb organizational skills, including the ability to manage numerous tasks simultaneously, work under pressure, and meet deadlines;

•Capacity to take initiative, prioritize duties, and work independently while functioning as a member of a team;

•Ability to communicate patiently, respectfully and empathically with individuals from a variety of backgrounds;

•Excellent technical skills, including Microsoft Office, database, E-mail (Outlook), Internet navigation, and computer/PDA troubleshooting skills;

•Good judgment and attention to detail;

•Valid driver’s license/ability to travel regionally by car to area immigrant detention centers on a periodic basis (mileage is reimbursed); and

•Fluency in Spanish required (reading and writing).
Optional Skills OTHER USEFUL SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

•Fluency in other relevant second languages, particularly Arabic or French is welcome.
 
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