Attorney-Staff Public Defender

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

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

Paralegal II

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (“TRLA”) Legal Aid for Sexual Assault Survivors (LASSA) Project seeks paralegals to provide support to attorneys providing civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault in the following Texas regions:
● Dallas-Fort Worth Metro Area
● West Texas
● Rio Grande Valley
● Corpus Christi
● San Antonio
● Laredo
DUTIES:
The candidate must be self-directed, empathetic, and motivated.  Among other duties, the paralegal will:
● Conduct intakes and interview clients
● Assist counsel on case work, as requested
● Communicate with clients and other attorneys, as requested
● Contribute to collaboration with community partners
● Assist in coordinating and supporting civil legal services
REQUIRED:
• Bilingual in English and Spanish.
• Possess verbal, reading and writing skills
PREFERRED:
● Dedication to and experience in serving low-income populations
● Experience working with survivors of trauma
● Experience coordinating projects
● Family, Employment, and/or Immigration law experience
● Experience as a social worker/community advocate
***
JOB DESCRIPTION:  PARALEGAL II
 The primary duties and activities of a Paralegal II may include the following and any other case-related activities and duties consistent with assisting attorneys in the practice of law:
 Conduct eligibility and substantive interviews in person and by telephone, which interviews may at times take place outside the regular office setting;
 Provide basic information and referrals to applicants, including those ineligible for services;
 Interview clients and witnesses;
 Conduct follow-up of assigned cases, including investigating facts and researching law;
 Serve process and subpoenas;
 Prepare legal documents; Oversee legal clinics;
 Notarize legal documents;
 Attend and participate in community group meetings and educational forums to conduct intake and make community legal education presentations;
 Prepare legal educational materials;
 Translate;
 Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records, including data entry into client database and other requirements;
 Prepare administrative reports required by TRLA;
 Any other duties required by the branch or team manager.
Qualifications:
 1. Bilingual in English and Spanish.
2. Possess verbal, reading and writing skills

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

Immigration Attorney-El Paso

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks an attorney to provide immigration legal services in its office in El Paso, Texas.
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.
• 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
• Dedication to and experience in serving low-income, non-citizen, vulnerable populations

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.

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

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.

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; and (d) be capable of representing TRLA publicly in a way that maintains 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.

Position Location: The applicant’s preferred location within TRLA’s primary service area will be one consideration in the selection process.

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 appointed by TRLA’s Board of Directors, which includes current and former board members and senior staff. Contacting individual members of the search committee regarding the search is discouraged. Instead, please direct any questions to employment@trla.org TRLA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Ability to speak Spanish is preferred.

Submission Deadline: Extended to November 1, 2017

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.

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