Legal Director

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants and their families. At NILC, we believe that all people who live in the U.S. — regardless of immigration or economic status — should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years, NILC has been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, including landmark legal decisions and protecting fundamental human and civil rights. We play a major leadership role in advancing policies that promote the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.

Headquartered in Los Angeles with an office in Washington, DC, NILC employs a core set of strategies — impact litigation, policy advocacy, and strategic communications — in a range of key program areas that impact the lives and wellbeing of low-income immigrants, including: immigration status and reform; access to health care and economic opportunities; immigration enforcement reform and justice; and education. For more information, please visit


NILC has an immediate opening for a Legal Director. The Legal Director is a member of NILC’s senior leadership team and is charged with driving the mission and direction of the Legal Department. This position offers a unique opportunity to lead a passionate and dedicated staff of attorneys and legal professionals in the development and engineering of impact litigation on key issues affecting low-income immigrants. The Legal Director will serve a pivotal role in shaping the direction of a team with a creative, deeply client-centered focus and team-based approach to the work.

The ideal candidate will be a forthright, inspiring, visionary leader with significant litigation experience. You possess a love of community and are an excellent manager of people. You are a culturally competent champion of diversity and an active practitioner of equitable and inclusive practices that honor the identities, backgrounds, and experiences of your team and respective colleagues. Finally, you are a collaborative partner with demonstrated experience integrating legal strategy across campaigns and program teams. NILC strongly prefers that the Legal Director be based in Los Angeles but is flexible on this point, depending on candidates' qualifications. They will report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Primary Responsibilities

    • Work closely with the Executive Director and other senior leaders to develop an integrated vision and strategy for the Legal Department.
    • Oversee legal intake process, case selection, case staffing; provide mentorship and ensure ongoing professional development of department staff.
    • Ensure that Legal Department staff members and projects have clearly defined roles, goals, and systems for managing the work effectively.
    • Supervise the execution of plans to ensure high standards performance and, in collaboration with other members of the Legal Department team, serve as the go-to resource to Legal Department staff.
    • Partner with program directors and campaign leads to ensure that the Legal Department’s work is integrated and well-coordinated across the departments and key partners.
    • Manage the operations of the Legal Department management team.
    • Provide mentorship to Legal Department staff in litigation, integration of NILC’s core strategies, developing and growing external relationships, and moving forward NILC’s work under the strategic framework and campaign work.
    • Provide analysis of court rulings and legal strategy for the Executive Director or senior staff; articulate NILC’s legal analysis to the public and the media as requested by the Executive Director and Communications Director.
    • Serve as a spokesperson with the media, testify before Congress or other policymaking bodies based on area of expertise, and present at national conferences or other public speaking engagements that further NILC’s mission and legal strategies.
    • Engage with key stakeholders, including movement allies, donors, and board members, including providing periodic reports to the board of directors.
    • Develop a robust impact litigation and legal advocacy strategy in support of broader immigrants’ rights movement strategies; develop legal theories and cases, as well as litigate key select cases.
    • Develop and maintain strong and collaborative relationships with law firms, law school clinics, and other coalition partners.

Experience and Qualifications

    • Education
    • Juris Doctor degree required.
    • An active member in good standing with the State Bar Association required.

    • Experience
    • A minimum of 7-10 years of litigation experience, to include substantial experience in federal courts, the Supreme Court, appellate practice, and constitutional law. Expertise in public interest impact litigation is strongly preferred.
    • Nonprofit work experience strongly preferred.
    • A minimum of 5 years of proven management experience and a track record of successful team leadership through communication and building community.
    • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, public interest law, and NILC’s mission.
    • Demonstrated ability to build strong, productive relationships with external partners and a diverse body of constituents.
    • Experience working with external co-counsel or in a coalition setting comprised of multiple organizational partners and demonstrated ability to resolve conflicts constructively.
    • Willingness to travel.
    • Strong commitment to team-building and to fostering a positive organizational culture.

    • Skills & Abilities
    • Excellent litigation strategy skills.
    • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills; displays sound judgment in decision-making.
    • Superior ability in strategic planning and cross-departmental integration.
    • Ability to work well independently and collaboratively.
    • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
    • Able to effectively manage multiple independent and team projects simultaneously and to meet deadlines.
    • Possess a deep understanding of the intersectional issues pertaining to immigrant rights.
The projected salary range for this role is $121,600 to $172,500.

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.