Staff Attorney (Temporary)

San Diego, CA


The Immigrant Defenders Law Center (“ImmDef”) is a next-generation, social justice law firm that provides high-quality representation and legal services to immigrants in Southern California. ImmDef was founded with the belief that no immigrant should be forced to go into court alone, and our universal representation programs for children and adults are a first step towards that goal. Learn more about us at


In response to the current humanitarian crisis caused by the Trump administration’s mistreatment of asylum-seeking families in the Tijuana/San Diego border region, ImmDef is hiring a temporary staff attorney to be based in San Diego with the ability to travel to and regularly provide services in Tijuana. Our San Diego-based staff attorney will provide fearless and zealous advocacy and legal representation to clients preparing to present for asylum at Southern California ports-of-entry as well as to asylum seekers in the US and Mexico facing immigration removal proceedings. The Staff Attorney will work on this special project under the direct supervision of ImmDef’s Executive Director and in collaboration with sister organizations already providing similar services on both sides of the border. This is a rewarding and exciting position where the successful applicant will be engaged in dynamic, fast-paced legal relief work in the border region.


This position will be working remotely with frequent travel to and from Tijuana and surrounding areas required. Additional travel to our downtown Los Angeles office will also be required for training and occasionally thereafter. All job-related mileage will be reimbursed at the current IRS rate. Required job-related equipment will be provided.


Due to the remote nature of this position and the travel involved, San Diego-based candidates living within 30 miles of Tijuana will be given priority.


This temporary position is expected to last 6 months, with continued employment thereafter contingent on available funding and need.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provide creative representation to immigrants before Customs and Border Protection, the Immigration Courts, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and CA state court proceedings related to a client's removal case;

  • Stay up to date on rapidly changing immigration laws and policies;

  • Comply with data and program reporting requirements.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Significant experience volunteering or working in Mexico or Latin America;

  • Juris Doctorate;

  • Active California State Bar License required or licensure from another state and willingness to "waive into" the CA Bar via the Multi-Jurisdictional Practice Program;

  • Ability to work independently, be self-directed and primarily responsible for outcomes that further the goals of this project and the mission of ImmDef;

  • Direct immigration legal services and removal defense experience, preferably with Central American asylum seekers;

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work with marginalized populations and survivors of trauma;

  • High level of Spanish language proficiency (will be tested at time of interview);

  • Strong case management, legal research, and legal writing skills required;

  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to zealously pursue new and untested legal theories;

  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work under pressure required;

  • Enthusiasm for working in a constantly changing atmosphere where quickly developing crisis situations are the norm rather than the exception;

  • Experience working in a high volume, social-justice law firm is a huge plus;

  • Passion for social justice for immigrants required.



This is a temporary, time-limited position, currently funded for 6 months from start-date. This position could lead to a permanent San Diego-based position within ImmDef, dependent on community need and funding availability.



  • $4,833.33 - $6,000 per month DOE

Holidays and Paid Time Off (Annually) 

  • 12 paid holidays including Indigenous Peoples’ Day

  • 1-Week paid winter break between Christmas and New Years

  • 15 vacation days per year

  • 12 Sick Days per year

 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan

  • ImmDef staff are eligible to enroll in our 401(k) plans immediately upon hire, contributing pre-tax dollars towards their retirement goals

  • After six months on staff, ImmDef will match 100% of contributions up to 3%

  • Funds are vested immediately!

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

  • As a 501(c)3, qualified ImmDef staff are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Bar Dues

  • ImmDef covers California bar dues up to $450 annually


Email cover letter, resume, 3 references, and brief writing sample (5 pages or less) to: Immigrant Defenders Law Center at In the subject line please write FIRST NAME_LAST NAME_SD TEMP ATTORNEY APPLICATION. Please indicate where you came across our job posting. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.


ImmDef believes in second chances. As an organization, we rely on individualized assessments in the hiring of those with past criminal convictions. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply for a position fighting for our immigrant communities!


Immigrant Defenders Law Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Find us:

634 S Spring St, 10th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90014

Riverside, CA

(solo atendemos clientes con cita; by appointment only)

2121 North Tustin Ave.

Santa Ana, CA 92705

(solo atendemos clientes con cita; by appointment only)

Call us:

(213) 634-0999

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