Staff Attorney, Legal

Los Angeles or Washington D.C. (preferred), Remote considered
Legal /
Full-Time /
Founded in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is a leading non-profit organization (501(c)3) in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their loved ones. NILC’s mission is grounded in the belief that everyone living in the U.S. regardless of race, gender/gender identity, immigration status, or economic status — should have equal access to justice, resources, and educational and economic opportunities that enable them to achieve their full human potential. Together, NILC and the affiliated NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (IJF), a 501(c)4 organization, work to advocate more directly for federal immigration reform policies. NILC is committed to advancing its mission — which intersects race, immigration status, and class — through racial, economic, and gender justice and equity orientation. 

Headquartered in Los Angeles with an office in Washington, DC, NILC seeks to achieve just laws and policies that address systemic inequities, create narrative and culture change for an inclusive and equitable society, and build a healthier and more powerful movement. For more information, please visit and

NILC is at an exciting moment in its organizational trajectory, supporting our five-year strategic framework and scaling the organization and its work through influencing systems, policy advocacy at the federal and state levels, engaging in movement and power building, and narrative and culture strategies in addition to continuous improvements to our operational model. We are looking for entrepreneurial, results-driven, relationship builders who are committed to NILC’s mission and values of racial justice & equity, valuing diversity, fostering partnerships & collaboration, encouraging respect & personal well-being, and striving for transparency, integrity, and honesty.

About the Role  
The Staff Attorney, Legal at NILC is a litigator who will initiate and support the identification, development, and litigation of strategic cases to advance the rights of low-income immigrants and their families, primarily in the federal court system. The Staff Attorney will serve as a mentor and a teacher for law fellows and interns and will work with them to develop their skills in all aspects of case investigation, preparation, and litigation. The Staff Attorney will endeavor to empower immigrant communities through supporting a multi-pronged approach of impact litigation, policy analysis, advocacy, strategic communications, and movement power building, using a client, community, and movement-centered lawyering approach. In addition to engaging in litigation, the Staff Attorney may also participate in and/or lead legal advocacy, including administrative and legislative advocacy.
This role is a member of the bargaining unit. 
The Staff Attorney will be responsible for driving success in the following key areas: 

Specific Position Responsibilities

    •        Conduct impact litigation on a range of issues in collaboration with litigation teams of other Staff Attorneys, Senior Attorneys, Deputy Directors, Paralegals, and other Program staff. 
    •        Identify and develop litigation in federal and state courts with supervision and support from Senior Attorneys and/or Deputy Directors, including preparing pleadings, motions, and briefs; conducting discovery; presenting oral arguments; and handling appeals. 
    •        Develop and maintain a significant litigation case load in federal and/or state court, typically in partnership with an internal case team and external co-counsel, with supervision and support from Senior Attorneys and/or Deputy Directors.
    •        Strategically, creatively, and boldly use plaintiff-driven, community-grounded impact litigation as a lever of change in combination and partnership with NILC’s other core strategies of policy research and analysis, strategic partnerships and advocacy, communications, and movement & power building to advance NILC’s vision and mission. 
    •        Advance NILC’s administrative and legislative advocacy by providing legal analysis and technical assistance to colleagues in NILC’s other departments; external partners including advocates, organizers, and attorneys nationwide; government officials and staff; and the media.
    •        Develop community education materials, create webinars, and provide Know Your Rights (KYR) presentations. 
    •        Mentor and teach legal interns, legal fellows, and more junior attorneys in all aspects of case investigation, development, and litigation, as well as in other legal work.
    •        Collaborate with staff across the organization via Program workgroups to support ongoing programmatic work.
    •        Represent NILC with coalition partners on litigation and other areas of legal experience or expertise.
    •        Engage with the media about relevant legal work and litigation in coordination with the Strategic Communications department.
    •        Proactively, constructively, and consistently report to relevant staff and leadership about programmatic developments, administrative needs and broader institutional concerns, opportunities, and needs.  
    •        Work with legal team staff on responding to requests for assistance, case development, and provision of legal representation.
    •        Successfully engage in/support policy advocacy, campaigns, and community outreach to advance NILC’s mission.   
    •        Support and strengthen internal protocols and communication; foster a collaborative work environment and contribute positively to team dynamics; and reflect NILC’s and the Legal Department’s values inside and outside the organization. 
    •        May be a part of a larger cross functional project using the MOCHA framework/methodology 

Supervisory Responsibilities

    •        May oversee temporary legal interns or law fellows as needed. 

Shared Organization Responsibilities

    •        Champions NILC & IJF’s mission of advancing the rights of immigrants with low income by demonstrating a commitment to human rights, and racial, economic, and social justice.
    •        Attends and actively participates in NILC meetings at the organization, department, project, and individual levels.
    •        Develops relationships and supports NILC and IJF colleagues across all teams, recognizing that everyone brings a unique background and perspective to the work and assuming good intent from each other.
    •        Follows through on commitments, acting with a clear sense of ownership individually and collectively by taking personal responsibility for decisions, actions, and failures, establishing clear responsibilities and processes for monitoring work and measuring results, and designing feedback loops into work.
    •        Learns quickly when facing new situations by experimenting to find fresh solutions, taking on the challenge of unfamiliar tasks, and extracting lessons learned from failures and mistakes.
    •        Acts with integrity by following through on commitments, being direct and truthful, keeping confidences, and showing consistency between words and actions.
    •        Commits to centering NILC’s values of racial justice and equity, valuing diversity, fostering partnerships and collaboration, encouraging respect and personal well-being, and striving for transparency, integrity, and honesty in all decisions and actions.
      In recognition of the fluidity of the work and ecosystem that NILC operates in, other duties may be assigned depending on organizational need.

What We’re Looking for in This Role

    •        Commitment to NILC & IJF’s mission of advancing the rights of immigrants with low income and a demonstrated commitment to human rights, racial, economic and social justice, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice for all.  
    •        Collaborative, proactive, and action oriented working style with a strong service mentality promoting mutual accountability and inspiriting trust and confidence from colleagues, other NILC team members, and NILC leaders alike.  
    •        Demonstrates sound judgement in decision-making, high integrity, and utmost respect for confidentiality.  
    •        Excellent verbal and written communication skills: ability to read, analyze, and interpret as well as draft documents such as reports, correspondence, and presentations for various audiences and able to conduct thorough research, draft, and file legal documents, including legal writing for litigation purposes and narrative writing for advocacy and other communication purposes.   
    •        Self-starter with a strong ability to move daily tasks forward in alignment with NILC’s broader organizational needs and goal and work in a fast-paced environment, including working with external co-counsel or in a coalition setting comprised of multiple organizational partners, and demonstrated ability to resolve conflicts constructively. 

Qualifications Required

    •        JD degree and active member in good standing of a State Bar Association required
    •        2-6+ years of litigation experience
    •        Demonstrated experience in leading or supporting the investigation and development of impact litigation.
    •        Proficiency with in-office and virtual environments and software such as MS Office, internet research, and virtual collaboration tools. 

Preferred Qualifications

    •        Litigation experience in federal court preferred.
    •        Experience with legal research and writing presented in federal court preferred.
    •        Experience in immigrants’ rights or other public interest impact litigation strongly preferred.   
    •        Proficiency in non-English languages spoken by Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, African, Caribbean, and Arab communities preferred. Fluency in more than one language desirable.

    • At NILC, we know that talented people may have different backgrounds or experiences, and if your education and experience doesn’t exactly align with the above, that’s okay! NILC believes that diversity in all dimensions of the organization supports and bolsters the innovative thinking essential to its success and is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all qualified applicants. NILC’s goal is for our people to reflect the communities in which we live and serve and to ensure representation of people of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities in our organization. We encourage you to apply and let us know in your cover letter why you are qualified and the right fit for this role and NILC.  

Work Environment

    • Location & Travel:  

    • NILC's offices are located in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California. Travel for litigation will be required on a case-by-case basis dependent on the needs of the litigation. For this role, up to 30% of overnight interstate travel may be required; generally, travel is quarterly to the NILC Washington, D.C. office or another location within the US for 3-5 nights at a time. 

    •  Compensation & Benefits: 
    • NILC’s compensation and benefits philosophy are to provide a competitive offering in the nonprofit sector and ensure equity across the organization. The salary range for this role is $84,200 - $105,300.

    • Physical Demands: 
    •        Remaining in a stationary position, often standing, or sitting for prolonged periods 
    •        Communicating with others to exchange information. 
    •        Repeating motions, like typing or answering a phone, that may include the wrists, hands and/or fingers. 
$84,200 - $105,300 a year
NILC is an equal opportunity employer; people of color and individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. NILC does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, ethnic background, religion, political orientation, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or any other protected class. We consider all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative.