The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR), a project of the American Bar Association (ABA), is looking for a new Director! The ABA seeks an experienced immigration lawyer committed to and adept at working with a diverse staff and client population to lead ProBAR on its path of providing vital legal services to immigrants and asylum-seekers in South Texas. If you are dedicated to advocating for vulnerable populations and serving detained adults and unaccompanied children on the frontlines of immigration, then this is your opportunity to fulfill your purpose with a dynamic, highly recognized nonprofit organization.
Your Leadership Role
ProBAR’s Director will play a crucial role as a leader and manager, developing strategic objectives and working closely with a senior-level team to drive ProBAR’s short- and long-term success in pursuit of these goals. In addition to building this senior-level team in response to recent growth, the Director will take a primary role in determining how ProBAR implements its services and develops its litigation and advocacy strategies in coordination and with the support of the ABA and its Commission on Immigration.
The ProBAR Director will also serve as a collaborative ambassador to a range of contacts and audiences. The role requires regular engagement with ABA senior management and a range of ABA administrative departments to ensure effective operations and channels for communication. This position will also require frequent engagement with stakeholders and outside partners to carry out ProBAR’s grant requirements and communicate and cultivate resources for ProBAR’s goals and mission.
Benefits include an initial sign on bonus of $2,500.00 and retention bonuses offered for continuous service on designated service anniversaries. A relocation stipend is available for a successful candidate not already residing in one of the four counties of the Rio Grande Valley (Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and Cameron County).
Essential Job Functions and Responsibilities
Represents ABA ProBAR before multiple and diverse funders and potential funders. Obtains and seeks funding to continue and expand ProBAR’s operations and mission of providing high quality legal services to detained immigrant and asylum-seeking children and adults in South Texas. Attends funder events, meetings, and other functions on behalf of ProBAR to identify and assess potential opportunities, foster collaboration, and engage in business development. Responsible for procuring, managing, executing, and complying with legal requirements for a growing number of grants and contracts.
By and through the work of subordinates, ensures that ProBAR’s grant and contract deliverables, including legal information services and direct representation in immigration court as well as other forms of legal advocacy, are carried out effectively, according to legal and ethical requirements, and in accordance with the requirements of our funders and applicable laws and regulations. Responsible for the integrity and quality of ProBAR’s work. Responsible for maintaining costs within standards without degradation of quality or service delivery. Establishes and executes protocols and policies applicable to service delivery, detention visits and shelter facility interaction, release support, social work services, grant compliance, immigration court representation, and the development of complementary services.
Accountable for ensuring ProBAR’s staff members have the resources and infrastructure necessary to complete all work and deliver on ProBAR’s mission. Establishes short-term and long-term strategic goals, and addresses challenges that may impede ProBAR’s ability to achieve these goals effectively. Evaluates and adjusts ProBAR’s organizational structure as needed in consultation with ABA Human Resources Department and Senior Management to accommodate organizational and programmatic growth and a changing practice environment.
In coordination with the ABA’s Commission on Immigration and Media Relations Department, accountable for ProBAR’s community outreach and public communication to media, stakeholders, and the public. Participates in the conversation about immigration detention work on a national, state, and local level. Reports regularly to the ABA Commission on Immigration regarding ongoing conditions at the border.
Builds and maintains relationships with diverse stakeholders and other legal and social service providers both locally and nationally to facilitate ProBAR’s work and mission. Maintains and further develops relationships with the local immigration bar as well as local, state, and national bar associations and immigration practitioners.
Provides leadership, as well as staff coaching, mentoring, training, counseling, performance appraisal and, when appropriate, discipline to a large staff of diverse professionals.
Preferred Education, Qualifications, and Experience
Proficiency in English and Spanish in written and spoken forms.
Previous experience representing children or adults involved in immigration court proceedings.
Previous experience managing a large legal office.
Who We Are
The American Bar Association (ABA) was founded on a commitment to advance the rule of law in the United States and beyond by providing practical resources for legal professionals, conducting law school accreditation, developing model ethics codes and more. Today, the ABA remains a member-based organization that works to ensure access to justice for all, a fair legal process, and respect for the rule of law at home and across the globe.
The ABA is committed to service and refining the standards that guide the legal profession. ABA staff are provided multiple types of continuing education and career development opportunities. Your work will help eliminate bias, enhance diversity, and advance the rule of law throughout the US and around the world.
More than 30 years ago, the ABA, together with the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), founded ProBAR for the purpose of coordinating a national response to the pro bono needs of immigrants and asylum-seekers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Since that time, ProBAR has remained a critical provider of immigration legal services in our region, evolving our services around a mission to empower immigrants through high-quality legal education, representation, and connections to services. Our team is diverse, dynamic, and dedicated to ProBAR’s mission. Learn more about our team.
The ABA recognizes the value staff contribute to our impact and success through a generous benefits package that protects their health and their financial security. The ABA’s wide array of benefit offerings include 401(k), medical, dental, vision, flexible spending accounts, health spending accounts, supplemental life and disability insurance, prepaid legal programs, and a complimentary membership to the American Bar Association, which offers additional benefits.
Additionally, ProBAR employees receive:
paid, monthly time off for self-care in addition to generous paid time off and holidays,
sign-on bonuses, and
retention bonuses for attorneys after specific periods of continuous service.
Work Environment and Location
ProBAR is based in Harlingen, Texas, in South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The Director will be expected to reside in the local community. ProBAR’s physical office is currently undergoing renovations that will enhance staff comfort, emphasize well-being, and offer technology to support hybrid work arrangements as appropriate or necessary for business reasons long-term.
The larger Rio Grande Valley community is a thriving region that boasts a rich culture, affordable cost of living, subtropical climate, and beautiful natural areas to enjoy. The beaches of South Padre Island are sufficiently close to commute, and local towns offer varying amenities to suit different preferences.
The population of the Rio Grande Valley is vibrant and growing, and the region has recently attracted significant investments in higher education and scientific research. Three local airports connect RGV residents to destinations around the country while Mexico is only a short drive away.
Required Education, Qualifications, and Experience
Possession of a Juris Doctorate degree from an ABA-accredited law school.
Member in good standing in possession of an active license to practice law from any state or territory of the U.S.
At least seven years of experience practicing immigration law and experience managing attorneys and/or director-level staff.
At least five years management experience to include involvement with strategic planning, funds development, and budgeting and grant operations.
Committed to and adept at working with a diverse staff and client population.
Intermediate proficiency with Adobe and Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, OneDrive, Teams)
Must have reliable transportation to travel between office and off-site work locations.
This position requires the ability to travel to and enter care provider facilities funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, United States Department of Health and Human Services which provide housing and services to unaccompanied children. In accordance with the federal regulation, a background check will be required for this position.
The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) empowers immigrants through high-quality legal education, representation, and connections to services. ProBAR serves immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley border region with a particular focus on the legal needs of adults and unaccompanied children in federal custody.