Immigration Justice Project - Senior Paralegal - Legal Defense Program

ABA IJP, 2727 Camino Del Rio, San Diego, California, United States of America Req #1621
Thursday, April 18, 2024

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.


The ABA recognizes the value staff contribute to our 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.

Flexible/hybrid work arrangements may be available for residents of CA, DC, IL, IN, IA, MD, MI, MN, TX, VA, and WI.  Residency requirements may apply. ABA employees are eligible to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). 

Job Summary/General Purpose of Job

  • Serve as a mentor and trains paralegals, legal assistants, and other legal support staff. Provide substantive case and court support to attorneys and accredited representatives. Provide substantive assistance with division’s Legal Defense Program (LDP) work including the provision screening potential clients for detained immigrants in removal proceedings. Prepare legal filings and documents (e.g., client affidavits, pleadings, motions, etc.) as directed.  
  • In accordance with the federal policies and contractor funding requirements, clearance of federal background checks will be required for this position.

Essential Job Functions and Responsibilities

  • Provide substantive assistance with LDP under the supervision of an attorney or accredited representative, conducting intakes and screenings for detained adults and children in removal proceedings.
  • Provide paralegal support and assistance to assigned legal staff.
  • Prepare legal filings and documents (e.g., immigration applications, correspondence, translations, etc.) as directed.
  • Assess the urgency of situations and determines appropriate actions, monitor status of pending tasks, and provide updates and feedback to appropriate legal team members.  Assist with training and mentoring of other legal support staff.
  • Prepare applications for relief, translations, and supporting documentation. Assess the urgency of situations, prioritizes tasks, and track and adhere to deadlines. 
  • May oversee client case files as directed by staff attorneys and Accredited Representatives.
  • Monitor case activities, and process and maintain the data integrity of case management systems. Ensure confidentiality and control of client information. 
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Required Education, Qualifications, Experience

  • Associate’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution in paralegal studies, criminal justice, political science, or a related field.
  • Two or more years of experience as a paralegal, legal assistant, or legal secretary.
  • Fluent in English and Spanish in written and spoken forms.
  • Intermediate proficiency in Microsoft Office products and Google tools.
  • Ability to communicate professionally with clients, clients’ supporters, government attorneys, court staff, and stakeholders.
  • Reliable transportation to travel to off-site work locations. 
  • Must be insurable and have an acceptable driving record.

Preferred Education, Qualifications, Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in paralegal studies, criminal justice, political science or related field and one (1) year experience as a paralegal. 
  • Current certificate of completion of an ABA-approved paralegal program.
  • Prior work experience with immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, volunteer, community, or work experience regarding immigration.
  • Prior non-profit experience, particularly involving immigration detention.

Physical Requirements

  • Typical office setting with potential visits to immigration detention facilities and immigration court.

Extent of Travel Required in the Job

  • Regular travel to the San Diego Immigration Court in downtown San Diego.

The American Bar Association is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with the American Bar Association, please call 312-988-5188.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Min Hiring Rate $56,142.00
  • Max Hiring Rate $64,496.00
  • Travel Required Yes
  • Required Education Associate Degree
Location on Google Maps
  • ABA IJP, 2727 Camino Del Rio, San Diego, California, United States of America