The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations and fastest-growing populations of immigrants and refugees in the country. Despite their significant contributions to the state and local economy in Texas, immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented, face considerable challenges. Many immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship, another form of legal status, or “deferred action,” but cost, educational gaps and lack of high-quality legal services prevent them from seizing these opportunities. We estimate that local service providers currently serve only 20 percent of low-income clients who are eligible for immigration services.
In 2013, local organizations working with immigrant communities came together to form the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC or the Collaborative) to tackle issues facing immigrant communities in the Houston region. The mission of the Collaborative is to create a coordinated network of effective and efficient services to assist low-income immigrants access the information and legal representation that allows them to make choices in their own best interest.
HILSC brings together Houston’s best and brightest non-profit and legal minds to:
- Increase the capacity of immigration legal services providers and increase the number of such providers equipped to provide high-quality, low-cost services to immigrants.
- Improve and streamline immigrants’ ability to access existing social and legal services.
- Be a source of timely and accurate information for both stakeholder groups and potential clients of immigration service providers.
- Develop new funding sources for immigration service providers.
More about the Collaborative, including the Community Plan can be found at www.houstonimmigration.org.
Responsible for providing strategic leadership in building the capacity of Houston’s immigration legal services providers, including mentoring new organizations and their staff. Perform all duties in a manner consistent with the high standards of the nonprofit community. Work with the Executive Director and the Executive Committee to implement the HILSC Community Plan as well as continue to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.
The description below is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified in this position. The position description is subject to change as the needs of HILSC and requirements of the position change. The expertise and areas of interest of successful candidates will also be considered.
The Legal Services Director reports to the Executive Director. In the absence of the Executive Director, the Legal Services Director reports to the chair of the Executive Committee
Organizational Development & Mentorship:
- Build and maintain relationships with legal services member organizations.
- Provide technical assistance and mentorship for organizations seeking to deliver immigrant legal services, particularly those without attorneys on staff whom are BIA Accredited or whom are seeking BIA Accreditation
- Provide leadership on the Collaborative’s implementation of coordinated responses to changes inimmigration policy and law (e.g. DAPA/DACA).
- Support implementation of Collaborative workshops and coordinated efforts to serve discreteimmigrant communities
- Provide inspiration, motivation and incentive for members to achieve excellence for the community through collaboration, information sharing, and capacity-building initiatives.
- Participate in appropriate local, regional, and national conferences, events and workshops which support the Collaborative’s growth and impact in the community.
- Represent and serve as spokesperson for HILSC to the general public and non-profit community and provide leadership and a convening role in the community (in collaboration with the Executive Director).
- Build and maintain knowledge about community and national issues and trends that impact the work of HILSC.
- Identify key legal issues that require HILSC’s attention and help the Executive Director to implement strategies with member organizations.
- Assist the Executivee Director in setting the vision and strategic planning for HILSC
- Assist with HILSC membership process, including vetting new members.
- Collect and maintain data and other information about HILSC legal services members.
The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Candidate should be a licensed attorney with experience practicing humanitarian immigration law (e.g. citizenship, deferred action, humanitarian visas, asylum, etc) and who has experience with:
- Non-profit organizations and organizational best-practices.
- The BIA’s Recognition & Accreditation program.
- Areas of immigration law that are particularly urgent in Houston (e.g. DACA/DAPA, asylum law, etc).
- Providing mentorship and/or coaching to individuals and/or organizations.
- Being both “big-picture” and detail oriented.
A license to practice law (in good standing) in any state, or the District of Columbia is required. Spanish fluency is a plus.
Personal qualifications & knowledge:
The ideal candidate is an energetic, forward-thinking and creative individual with high ethical standards and professional image who is able to:
- Relate to people at all levels of an organization.
- Make sound judgments.
- Read, analyze and interpret complex documents.
- Respond effectively to sensitive inquiries or complaints
- Demonstrate principles of good communication and interpersonal skills.
- Facilitate collaborative success while promoting member agency work.
- Maintain updated knowledge of pertinent federal, state and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
- Be a systems-level thinker.
Other position details
- This is a part-time, contract position, with possibility of moving to full-time.
- Ideal start date is August 15, 2016.
Email a current resume and cover letter to email@example.com by July 22, 2016.