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Senior Attorney - Detained

Department: Legal Programs
Location: Houston, TX

About KIND:

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is a global leader in the protection of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children. Launched in 2008, KIND champions a world in which every child’s rights and well-being are protected throughout their journey to safety. KIND has accepted over 23,000 referrals of children seeking legal representation in their immigration proceedings. KIND has welcomed more than 41,000 attendees to trainings since its founding, cultivating partnerships with over 670 law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, and bar associations across the country.

KIND’s social services program ensures that migrant and refugee children – who have often endured trauma – receive counseling, educational support, medical care, and other comprehensive services.

To address the root causes of child migration from Central America, and strengthen the protection of unaccompanied children, KIND advocates for policy changes and educates lawmakers, the media, and the broader public on the conditions that drive these children to flee their home countries. KIND supports children returning to their home countries by connecting them to essential support services and sponsors gender-based violence prevention programs in Central America to protect children in countries of origin and transit.

KIND is also building upon its expertise in the protection of unaccompanied children to encourage the development of pro bono initiatives across Europe in partnership with European NGOs.

Position Summary:

KIND seeks a Senior Attorney to provide senior-level expertise and leadership in the provision of legal services by KIND attorneys and pro bono partners to detained unaccompanied children facing removal proceedings. This role will serve as a thoughtful leader and expert advisor on complex and novel legal issues for internal and external stakeholders. As needed, supervise Staff Attorneys, Senior Paralegals, and other non-attorney staff. The Senior Attorney will report to the Supervising Attorney.

Essential Functions:

  • Oversee a team of attorneys and paralegals to ensure the provision of high-quality intakes and legal orientations for unaccompanied children residing in immigration detention facilities.
  • Review intakes by detained team and make determinations regarding eligibility for immigration relief.
  • Liaison with shelter staff and other stakeholders as needed to maximize efficient and effective services to detained children.
  • Once children are released locally from detention, based on caseloads and experience, funding streams, and institutional priorities, perform hybrid mentoring and direct legal representation functions, including providing zealous legal advocacy to KIND’s clients in direct representation cases, as well as providing robust consultation and technical assistance to pro bono attorneys who have accepted a KIND case. Percentage of mentoring and direct representation caseloads will be determined by management in the Legal Services component.
  • As needed, represent a smaller docket of children in their applications for relief who do not have reunification options and must remain longer in detention.
  • Perform ordinary functions of legal counsel providing direct representation, including legal research and formulating the legal strategy for the case; conducting client interviews; appearing before immigration and/or state court or agencies, and drafting and filing court pleadings and applications for benefits.
  • Assist the Supervising Attorney to monitor daily arrivals, transfers, and discharges of immigrant children housed in ORR facilities in relevant jurisdiction(s).
  • Oversee or conduct drafting of eligibility letters for children to be transferred outside of relevant jurisdiction(s) for long term foster care determinations.
  • Oversee or conduct assembly of court packages as needed, dependent on Immigration Court practices in local jurisdiction.
  • Assist the Supervising Attorney in the completion of program reports, as needed, for partners and other stakeholders.
  • Assist Supervising Attorney in overseeing data management, ensuring data integrity through regular case audits and technical fluency with KIND’s case management systems.
  • Under the direction of the Supervising Attorney, coordinate in-house and volunteer pro bono case placements.
  • In coordination with KIND’s Training and Technical Assistance Team and the local office Senior Attorneys, as needed, help develop pro bono training resources and local training curriculum, including sample filings and guidance packets. With supervision, present trainings to pro bono attorneys and community groups.
  • Represent KIND at local coalitions, courts, and agencies.
  • Supervise attorneys, support staff, law student interns and volunteers.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • J.D. and admitted to the local state bar (If not admitted to local state bar, must sit for bar exam or start waiver to be admitted within 6 months and be able to be admitted within one year of employment).
  • Must be fully bilingual in both English and Spanish.
  • Minimum of 4 years of experience practicing immigration law, which should include representation of clients in humanitarian immigration claims such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U visas, and T visas.
  • Minimum of 3 years of experience working with children, preferably immigrant and refugee children, and/or working with survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other trauma.
  • Experience working with law firm attorneys and/or other legal volunteers.
  • Minimum of 2 years of experience supervising attorneys and/or legal staff if the position requires supervision. For non-supervisory senior attorneys, a minimum of 2 years demonstrating proven legal expertise or exemplary skills in managing complex legal projects.
  • Minimum of 1-year experience working in a detained setting
  • Ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and communication styles.
  • Committed to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as embracing transparency and authenticity in daily work life.
  • Be disciplined and nimble to ensure delivery on our core mission of access to justice and protection of children’s wellbeing and rights.
  • Showing the ability to multi-task and work with a sense of urgency in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Committed to practicing and supporting wellbeing and a work-home life balance.
  • Experience working and communicating in a remote environment.

Salary Range: $86,880 – $108,600 dependent on experience

KIND requires all staff be COVID vaccinated with the exception of those who have medical or religious beliefs exemptions.

Application Instructions:

Please be advised that an employment application will need to be submitted along with your resume and cover letter, in order to be considered for the desired role. (Acceptable to request writing sample for certain roles).

KIND has an organization-wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strive to create a work environment where everyone has a sense of belonging. Individuals from historically underrepresented or underserved communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Disclaimer: KIND is committed to an ethical recruitment and hiring process and maintains a firm “no fees” recruitment policy. We will never charge a fee or ask for money as part of the application process. KIND also conducts all interviews via telephone or video conference, and at no time will KIND engage in a text or mobile app-based application or interview process. For more information, please visit the following website:






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