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.

Assistant Grants Manager--Mercedes

The Assistant Grants Manager assists the Grants Manager with the submission of grant reports, ensuring that TRLA is in compliance with requirements of its funders.  Specific duties include the following:  
  1. Maintains calendar of reporting deadlines, and is responsible for the timely preparation and submission of all non-financial reports to funders.
  2. Maintains files of grant reports, grants and contracts3. Updates funding sources of employees in the Client Tracking System
  3. Provides non-financial information to support grant applications
  4. Provides other support related to grants planning and management to Grants Manager.
  5. Helps develop systems for effectively and efficiently tracking all grant programmatic targets, outputs and goals.
  6. Attends all grant related trainings by funders.
  7. Assists in training of staff on grant and program requirements
  8. Provides support to Resource Development staff to develop targets and outputs for grant proposals.
  9. Works collaboratively with all staff to ensure grant deliverables timeline in order to ensure all grant deadlines are met.
  10. Performs other duties as assigned.
Minimum Qualifications:
  • Excellent written, verbal, and computer communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task and remain flexible
  • Outstanding organizational skills with strong attention to detail
  • Knowledge of Excel, Word and Powerpoint
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Two years of relevant work experience
  • Ability to travel
  • Ability to write routine reports and correspondence
  • Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written and oral form
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience in legal field
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish

Attorney-Staff Public Defender, Rio Grande City

The TRLA Texas Rural Defender Service seeks an entry-level attorney for its office serving Starr County. The Starr Regional Public Defender Program, from its office in Rio Grande City, serves Starr, Jim Hogg and Duval Counties. This position will be located in the TRLA office in Rio Grande City. With caseload controls, staff investigators and a solid litigation budget, the program emphasizes zealous, holistic 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 federally-funded 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 vigorous 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 has recently been added to the program.
TRLA is an equal opportunity employer and provides a comprehensive range of employee  benefits, including health care coverage, law school loan repayment benefits, continuing legal education and training, and a 401k pension program.
The primary responsibilities are:
 
  • Serve as lead counsel of record in up to 228 misdemeanor cases per year;
  • Assist more experienced lawyers in felony and juvenile cases; and
  • Try cases to a verdict.
 
Qualifications:
 
  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam;
  • 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

Attorney-Staff Public Defender, Rio Grande City, Corpus Christi

The TRLA Texas Rural Defender Service seeks an experienced, felony-qualified attorney for its office serving Duval and Jim Hogg Counties. The Starr Regional Public Defender Program, from its office in Rio Grande City, serves Starr, Jim Hogg and Duval Counties. This position may be located in the TRLA office in Corpus Christi, but serving clients charged with crimes or juvenile offenses in the Hebbronville/San Diego area. With caseload controls, staff investigators and a solid litigation budget, the program emphasizes zealous, holistic 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 federally-funded 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 vigorous 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 has recently been added to the program. TRLA is an equal opportunity employer and provides a comprehensive range of employee benefits, including health care coverage, law school loan repayment benefits, continuing legal education and training, and a 401k pension program. 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.
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.

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)

Development Coordinator--Austin

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is looking for a grants coordinator to help support civil legal and indigent defense representation for low-income residents of South, Central, and West Texas, in a region stretching from Brownsville to El Paso on the border and including San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Alpine and all the towns, cities, and countryside in between. TRLA is one of the largest and most respected legal aid organizations in the country, providing representation to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, farmworkers, the disabled, veterans, people wrongfully evicted from their homes, the elderly, and children born in this country but denied birth certificates. Help maintain and expand the ability of TRLA's 160 attorneys to represent low-income Texans by working to raise funds from federal, state, and local agencies, from private and corporate foundations, and from the many individuals who provide ongoing support for this crucial work.
Duties and Responsibilities:   The Development Coordinator, reporting to the Development Director, raises general operating and program-specific funding by:
  1.  Drafting high-quality letters of inquiry and proposals to foundations, corporations, and government agencies;
  2. Gathering and preparing all ancillary materials to accompany grants (budgets, bios, charts, statistics, etc.);
  3. Identifying and researching prospective funders;
  4. Corresponding with private funders in preparing grant proposals;
  5. Working with program staff to derive content for proposals;
  6. Working with current and potential funders to explore areas of potential funding support;
  7. Meeting with development staff of partner non-profits around potential collaborative efforts;
  8. Managing and maintaining the donor database (eTapestry), including the timely recording of gifts and mailing of receipts;
  9. Implementing a donor stewardship plan, including handwritten thank you notes and thank you calls to individual donors; assisting the Development Director with the holiday appeal and other campaigns, including the development of mail solicitations and email/social media appeals;
  10. Assisting the Development Director with organizing small and large meetings to elicit private attorney support; and
  11. Other duties and responsibilities as determined by her or his primary supervisor.
Minimum Qualifications: 
            • Strong written, verbal, and computer communication skills, including working knowledge of Excel;
            • Ability to multi-task and remain flexible; ability to work with a number of individuals, all with various needs and deadlines;
            • Outstanding organizational skills with strong attention to detail;
            • Bachelor's degree;
            • Two years of grant writing and/or development experience with proven success in raising funds for nonprofit organizations preferred;
            • Experience managing a donor database preferred;
            • Some legal knowledge preferred.
To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, a writing sample and contacts for at least two references to: employment@trla.org.

Immigration Attorney-Edinburg, San Antonio, Austin

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks an attorney to provide immigration legal services in Edinburg, San Antonio, or Austin office.
DUTIES:
The candidates must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated.  Among other duties, the attorney will:
  • Provide intake, advice and counsel, and direct legal representation to clients in immigration legal matters before EOIR, the BIA, ICE and USCIS, including removal defense representation and assisting clients in filing for U- visas, T- visas, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)- related applications, among other forms of immigration relief.
  • Coordinate all aspects of a client’s case, including client communication, relevant research, drafting personal statements, preparing immigration forms, writing briefs, drafting court motions and orders, and advocacy with law enforcement and other agencies.
  • Work collaboratively with a team of immigration paralegals within the El Paso TRLA office as well as with other immigration attorneys and paralegals throughout the TRLA service area.   Provide immigration law and case-handling mentorship to colleagues.
  • Assist the Human Trafficking team in screening and identifying clients who may be considered victims of labor and sex trafficking.  Assist trafficking survivors in reporting to and collaborating with law enforcement and applying for relevant immigration relief and other legal remedies.
  • Maintain and establish relationships with community partners and immigration service providers, including, but not limited to anti-trafficking coalitions.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant policies, laws and trends in immigration law, particularly as they impact low-income immigrants.
  • Prepare and conduct relevant community outreach events and presentations including, but not limited to, immigration know-your-rights workshops and direct outreach and education related to identification of trafficking. 

    Requirements:

  • JD from accredited university
  • Admitted to and in good standing with a State bar
  • Fluency in English and Spanish
  • 2-5 years of direct experience representing vulnerable non-citizens in their applications for relief, including U- visa, VAWA-related, and T- visa applications; removal defense experience strongly preferred
  • In-depth knowledge of the wide range of immigration remedies available to clients
  • Meticulous organizational habits, attention to detail, and ability to manage large amounts of information, establish priorities, and meet deadlines
  • Excellent legal analysis, written and oral advocacy and presentation skills
  • Responsible, self-initiating, and focused, with proven ability to work independently and also collaboratively in a team-based decision-making environment
  • Strong interpersonal skills and record of cultural competence and cross-cultural communication skills; experience working with clients, staff and interns of diverse backgrounds
  • Experience working collaboratively with anti-trafficking initiatives, service providers, and/or coalitions, as well as training on human trafficking-related issues strongly preferred
  • Dedication to and experience in serving low-income, non-citizen, vulnerable populations

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.
       

Legal Secretary--Mercedes

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.
The candidate should be detailed-oriented, punctual, self-driven, able to work on multiple assignments at once, and sympathetic towards low-income persons.  Work schedule is Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus additional hours if occasionally requested to meet deadlines.
Responsibilities:
  • Type, file, and handle clerical office matters for the several paralegals and attorneys to whom the secretary is assigned;
  • Manage incoming and outgoing mail, faxes, and telephone calls;
  • Assist in overflow work to ensure smooth office operations;
  • Translate documents and/or act as interpreter when needed;
  • Maintain client files and applications and complete assigned work on case files within the required time frame;
  • Coordinate schedules and maintain case requirements calendar of casehandlers, including contacting existing clients, schedule interview, and convey messages;
  • Drafting, editing, formatting and printing legal documents, correspondence, and reports in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Publisher, including preparing standard pleadings for review by attorneys;
  • 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, both written and spoken;
  • Minimum of two years secretary experience;
  • Type minimum of 45 words per minute;
  • Licensed to notarize documents or willing to become licensed;
  • Preferred experience in a law office or an Associate’s degree as a paralegal;
Application deadline and process:  For consideration, submit a cover letter, resume and list of two professional references to employment@trla.org or fax (915) 544-3789. The position is currently open; applications will be considered on a rolling basis as they are submitted until the position is filled.

Licensed Social Worker-Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi or Rio Grande Valley

TRLA has an opening for a Licensed Social Worker.
Duties and Responsibilities:
On behalf of sexual assault victims, services are intended to assist clients in obtaining the economic and social/basic resources they need to stabilize their lives, regain independence, and break the cycle of abuse/violence.  TRLA social workers will work collaboratively with TRLA attorneys to help sexual assault victims become safe and self-sufficient. Specific duties include the following:
  1.  Conduct intakes for the LASSA team as needed, assess the client’s individual needs related to the sexual assault, including the development of a safety plan.
  2. Render appropriate services based on the client’s individual needs, addressing empowerment, privacy concerns, and safety planning.  Such services include assistance understanding and applying for Crime Victims Compensation and appealing when assistance is denied, information and referral for community-based services, crisis intervention, safe housing options and peer support.
  3. Assess the client’s need for civil legal services and schedule appointments with the assigned TRLA attorney for clients requiring such assistance.
  4. Provide counseling support  and referral services.
  5. Work with the LASSA Project Director to train victim advocates at partner shelters and crisis centers on the legal options and public benefits available to victims of sexual assault.  Train TRLA staff to conduct safety planning and best practices for clients suffering from trauma.
  6. Participate in TRLA outreach efforts.
  7. Prepare reports as requested by the Branch Manager, Sexual Assault Team Manager and/or Social Work Team Manager, and perform other related duties as assigned by the supervisor of the Social Work Team.
On behalf of victims of domestic violence.  The social worker’s time will be spent on these activities: 1.  Provide clients with information about the Texas Crime Victims Compensation Fund and assist them with completing applications and obtaining funds as well as appeals to denial of funds.  Assist clients in developing individual safety plans to promote the safety and security of both the client and the client’s family.  Inform clients about the benefits of obtaining a protective order when needed.  Accompany clients to court hearings as an advocate. Assist clients with locating resources in the community including housing, job training, GED classes, utility assistance, and other financial aids available to victims to promote their stability.  Assist clients with obtaining health insurance, food stamps and other benefits, by making referrals to social service agencies when needed.  Perform comprehensive assessment of clients’ needs. 2. Provide crisis counseling and support to victims and make outside counseling referrals for victims and their family members. 3. Develop and maintain working relationships with other groups serving victims of domestic and sexual violence including area shelters and by serving on local family violence task force committees and other victim services committees addressing victim needs.  Maintain a list of resources for appropriate client referrals including parenting classes, drug and alcohol classes, etc. 4. Participate in TRLA outreach efforts, including attending evening legal clinics and/or other public service events.  Prepare reports as requested by the Branch Manager, Family Law Team Manager and/or Social Work Team Manager, and perform other related duties as assigned by the Family Law Team Manager and/or supervisor of the Social Work Team. 5. Provide litigation assistance to TRLA Family Law staff attorneys by sharing current research in relevant areas such as family violence, mental health, substance abuse and chemical dependency issues. 6. Perform outcome evaluations after a case has been closed which includes collecting and analyzing client satisfaction data as requested.  Qualifications:
  1. Master of Science in Social Work (preferred), LPC, or Bachelor’s in Social Work
  2. Licensed through the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners.
  3. Good writing skills;
  4. Bilingual in Spanish and English;
  5. Have transportation available, including valid driver’s license and automobile insurance;
  6. Experience in working with victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault preferred;
  7. Computer skills

Paralegal II - Dilley

      In 2014, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began subjecting mothers and their children who seek asylum in the United States to mandatory detention in private prisons. Rather than providing immediate refuge and protection, the government ships families who flee unspeakable violence to jails far from metropolitan areas in Dilley, Texas and Karnes City.
     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 pro bono 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.
     Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is one such ally. TRLA seeks to ensure all families detained in violation of international, federal, and state law within our services receive the support they desperately need to protect their personal safety and the safety of their children. To this end, TRLA is hiring full-time staff to guarantee uninterrupted access to free legal services for the growing number of women and children who are detained in Dilley, Texas at the South Texas Family Detention Center (STFDC).
     STFDC is the nation's largest private prison for immigrant mothers and their children. It is located 70 miles southwest of San Antonio and currently houses over 2,000 women and children, including children who are only one year old. CARA’s Pro Bono Project in Dilley (the Dilley Pro Bono Project) has maintained a small team of on-site lawyers and paralegals who facilitate CARA’s non-traditional model of legal services with the goal of providing every woman and child meaningful legal representation.
     The Dilley Pro Bono Project recruits teams of volunteers nationally who commit to arriving in Dilley on a Sunday, attending a mandatory orientation, and providing legal services to families throughout the week. After an exhilarating and exhausting week, the team leaves the following Saturday, and a new team arrives to take over their caseload and carry the work forward. CARA’s radical model of providing services to refugees in the United States has received national attention and support. You can learn more about CARA’s incredible work at http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/How-to-crowdsource-a-refugee-ri
     TRLA is partnering with the Dilley Pro Bono Project to provide services at STFDC. TRLA seeks a paralegal for its Family Detention Project who will support TRLA’s efforts to provide civil legal services to detained women and children in partnership with the Dilley Pro Bono Project. The position will initially be based in Dilley, Texas.
Duties:
     All candidates should possess a sense of urgency to end family detention and protect asylum-seekers from deportation, empathy, and the ability to stay calm and collected in the midst of crisis. The paralegal’s work with detained families inside STFDC will include, but not be limited to, the following duties:
  • Complete intakes with new clients;
  • Develop specialized knowledge of asylum law and expedited removal;
  • Prepare individuals for an interview 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;
  • 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;
  • 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:
For consideration, applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and three references with “Paralegal 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 - 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 – Disaster Assistance, Corpus Christi

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks a full-time Staff Attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas, for its Disaster Assistance Team. The Disaster Assistance team provides disaster-related legal services to clients through TRLA’s service area. Since 2002, when TRLA merged with four other legal service organizations located in our 68-county service region, TRLA has responded to fifteen federally declared disasters throughout our service region. TRLA has worked with clients immediately following the disaster and for months, sometimes years, afterward. The disasters impacting TRLA’s service area have included tropical storms and hurricanes (including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Dolly in 2008, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017); wildfires in Central Texas; and severe storms, tornadoes and/or flooding in El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Central Texas, the Gulf Coast, and the Rio Grande Valley. The attorney will focus his/her efforts primarily on direct service to clients, handling FEMA administrative matters, as well as a variety of other types of disaster-related cases which may include, but are not limited to: • Landlord-tenant matters • Clearing title to real estate or mobile homes • Avoiding foreclosure • Resolving insurance or other consumer disputes • Helping clients replace identification or immigration documents, or important documents such as wills or powers of attorney • Assistance in disaster-related litigation • Developing resource and training materials for the Disaster Assistance Team and for volunteer attorneys providing disaster-related legal services to low-income clients • Developing brochures for disaster-related outreach and community education • Developing resource and training materials for staff involved in disaster outreach 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.
  3. A valid driver’s license and willingness to travel.

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-Public Benefits & Health Law, Corpus Christi

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks a full-time Staff Attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas, for its Public Benefits Group.  The Public Benefits Group consists of teams providing legal representation and advice to low-income individuals on matters involving public benefits related legal services to clients through TRLA’s 68-county service area. The Public Benefits Group advocates in the areas of SNAP/food stamps, Medicaid, cash assistance, and Social Security, as well as advocating for persons living in homelessness and veterans.
The attorney will focus his/her efforts primarily on direct service to clients and handling Public Benefits cases.  Attorneys will engage in litigation to protect the legal rights of low-income families and individuals to public benefits and to hold governmental agencies accountable for their administration of these vital programs. Attorney will need to be licensed to practice in both Federal Court and the courts of the State of Texas.  Attorney will identify and promote the adoption and proper implementation of creative and effective policies to improve public benefits delivery to low-income families and individuals.  Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• Assistance in public benefits related litigation; • Developing resource and training materials for the Public Benefits Group and for volunteer attorneys providing public benefits related legal services to low-income clients; • Developing brochures for public benefits related outreach and community education; and • Developing resource and training materials for staff involved in public benefits outreach.
Qualifications
 1. Licensed to practice in Texas, or be willing to apply and take the Texas Bar exam at the next available opportunity. 2. Preference given to those persons bilingual in English and Spanish. 3. A valid driver’s license and willingness to travel.

Staff Attorney/Bi-National Project on Family Violence – location within TRLA’s service area

TRLA is seeking an experienced attorney to join its Bi-National Project on Family Violence (“BNP”), a unique and innovative project that provides legal assistance to low-income family violence survivors whose cases involve international custody disputes. Perpetrators of family violence often rely on control tactics to harm their intimate partners. They threaten their partners that they will take away their children and hide them forever if the victim doesn’t comply with their demands.  Sometimes the perpetrators follow through on their threats and abduct the children to another country. Sometimes the survivors flee with their children across international borders, seeking refuge from the abuse for themselves and their children. The BNP provides legal assistance to survivors whose children have been taken across an international border by the abusive parent and to survivors who have fled to Texas with their children.  Most of the BNP cases are based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and are brought in both state and federal courts. Primary Duties and Responsibilities: The candidate must be self-directed, empathetic and motivated. Among other duties, the attorney will: • Provide holistic legal services to low-income domestic violence survivors whose cases are complicated due to one party residing in another country. Such services primarily include representation of clients in cases involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in both state and federal court throughout TRLA’s service area, but may also include representation in immigration and custody matters; • Coordinate all aspects of a client’s case including client communication, relevant research, development and implementation of case plan; • Maintain a working knowledge of relevant laws and significant policies and trends in Hague cases as well as Texas family law; • Interview survivors and conduct trauma-informed intakes; • Evaluate clients’ claims and assess civil legal remedies; • Maintain client databases and caseload, as determined by supervisor; • Work collaboratively with Project members and with members of TRLA’s family and immigration teams • Become familiar with family law and Hague procedures in Mexico; • Provide advice and counsel to eligible clients as needed and appropriate; • Evaluate client eligibility for TRLA services and civil legal remedies; • Maintain a caseload and be available to serve as co-counsel and/or back-up for Bi-national Project attorneys; • Maintain coordinated communications among team members on case developments, co-counsel assignments, and developments in the law; • Establish and maintain relationships with community, national and international partners; • Fulfill all requirements necessary to remain in good standing with the State Bar and the Supreme Court, including but not limited to compliance with the minimum requirements for Continuing Legal Education. Qualifications: Required:  • JD from accredited university; • 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; • 2-5 years litigation experience; • Fluent in English and Spanish, written and spoken; • Ability to work independently and as a part of a team; • Ability to travel. Preferred: • Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations; • Experience working with survivors of trauma and/or domestic violence; • Family law litigation experience. How to Apply and Related Timelines: For consideration, applicants should email a cover letter, resume and three references with “BNP Attorney Position” in the subject line to Monica Bustamante, Recruitment Manager, at mbustamante@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. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package, including law school loan repayment.

Staff Attorney/LASSA Project - Corpus Christi

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 Corpus Christi 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: 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.

TRLA Veteran Advocacy Project--San Antonio or Rio Grande Valley

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks an attorney to provide civil legal services to veterans. The attorney will be located in San Antonio or the Rio Grande Valley The attorney will provide extended civil services to veterans and their dependents in a wide range of civil legal matters including housing, probate, benefits, consumer, employment, homelessness, and family law 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, as well as 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.