ProBAR - Pro Bono Senior Staff Attorney TX

TX ProBAR, 202 South First Street, Harlingen, Texas, United States of America Req #1659
Friday, June 21, 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). 

The Pro Bono Senior Staff Attorney will advocate for and serve some of the highest numbers of detained unaccompanied children nationally as well as adults and families facing removal proceedings in Harlingen and Houston. The pro bono senior staff attorney will be responsible for training and mentoring pro bono attorneys and volunteers in their service to ProBAR clients. ProBAR’s legal advocacy and representation are complemented by ProBAR's holistic approach that integrates connections to services for the clients it serves.


The Organization

ProBAR empowers immigrants through high-quality legal information, representation, and connections to services. ProBAR serves immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley and Houston regions with a particular focus on the legal needs of adults and unaccompanied children in federal custody. Founded in 1989 as a project of the American Bar Association, ProBAR’s primary office is located in Harlingen, TX with a field office in Houston, TX. For more information about ProBAR, please visit our website:


ProBAR will consider applicants willing to work from the main ProBAR office in Harlingen, Texas, or from the Houston Field Office. However, the staff attorney must be willing to travel to both offices when necessary for meetings and other needs. The staff attorney must be willing to travel occasionally between Harlingen and Houston.


Job Summary / General Purpose of Job

Accountable for the day-to-day management, training, and the appropriate optimization of external, pro bono licensed attorneys in support of the provision of an array of immigration legal services. This position will require regular involvement with individuals living in difficult circumstances and who may have experienced trauma.


Essential Job Functions and Responsibilities (listed in order of importance and/or time spent)


  • Assist the Pro Bono Counsel in the sourcing, recruiting, training, and day-to-day management of pro bono immigration attorneys supporting ABA ProBAR initiatives to assist in ensuring the provision of high-quality pro se assistance and pro bono representation in South Texas.
  • Assists in the development and presentation of legal training and supporting materials, for private bar, government, and public interest attorneys.
  • Mentors pro bono attorneys, legal support staff and other legal volunteers by providing advice and direction on their cases. Accountable for pro bono attorneys to ensure the provision of quality legal services that align with the expectations of ProBAR and the ABA Commission on Immigration.
  • Utilizes advanced immigration law knowledge to assist in individual matters and involves ProBAR and Commission staff on more complex or geographically specific matters.
  • Organizes and manages trips with teams of pro bono attorneys to provide pro se assistance and representation to people served by ProBAR, including detained adults, children, applicants in the Access to Work Project, and people served in other current or future projects.
  • Actively participates in and assists others in development and communications initiatives and seeks and services for ABA ProBAR projects and pro bono program.
  • Provides some direct legal services to individuals in detention and in the community. This could include working at clinics, preparing pro se applications for relief, legal research, drafting legal briefs, compiling evidence, and representing clients before USCIS and in immigration court.
  • Develops and maintains legal competency relating to immigration detention work, specifically as applied to unaccompanied minors, families, and adults.
  • Builds and maintains relations with local stakeholders. Observes ethical practices relating to client confidentiality using division’s case management system.
  • Performs other related duties as required.


Required Education, Qualifications, Experience

  • Possession of a Juris Doctorate or Master of Law (LLM) from an ABA-accredited law school and be in good standing, and one or more years’ experience in representing clients preferably on immigration matters.
  • Licensed to practice law in a U.S. state or territory.
  • Fluent in English and Spanish in written and spoken forms.
  • Intermediate proficiency with online research and Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, OneDrive, teams)
  • Must be familiar with conducting virtual meetings, training, and observations on software such as Zoom, Teams, etc.
  • Must be able to pick up on client verbal and non-verbal cues.
  • Have reliable transportation to travel to off-site work locations.
  • Must have reliable internet and phone connection.
  • This position requires the ability to travel to and enter detention centers.
  • 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. This position will require the provision of legal services to unaccompanied children in such care provider facilities. Following federal policies and contractor funding requirements, clearance of federal background checks will be required for this position.


Preferred Education, Qualifications, Experience


  • Licensed to practice law and member in the State Bar of Texas, and one year experience.
  • Prior work experience with children, particularly from Central America and including indigenous language- speaking populations.
  • Prior volunteer, community, or work experience regarding immigration or detention.
  • Prior non-profit experience, particularly involving immigration detention.


Physical Requirements


  • Typical office setting with frequent visits to immigration detention facilities and immigration court.
  • Continuously operates a computer and other office machinery, such as telephone, copy machine, and computer printer.



As a normal course of business, this job will typically require travel of less than 15% of the time.


The Benefits and Incentives Offered

  • Medical and prescription insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Voluntary life insurance
  • Short- and long-term disability insurance
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Prepaid Legal Plan
  • 401 (k)
  • Paid company holidays
  • Personal time off
  • Vacation time off
  • PSLF participant
  • Sign on bonus offered*
  • Additional bonuses offered for continuous service at 2-year, 3-year, & 4-year service anniversaries. *
  • Relocation Stipend offered for in state and out of state relocation*


*Restrictions apply. Availability is subject to grant funding and may periodically change.



The Location

ProBAR’s primary location is in the Rio Grande Valley, a thriving region that boasts a rich culture, affordable cost of living, subtropical climate, and beautiful natural areas to enjoy. Recent growth has brought the RGV unprecedented 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. The region’s delicious food, world-class nature parks, and the beaches of South Padre Island provide ample opportunities to relax and recharge!


Our Houston field office is in the Uptown District, that showcases the vibrant urban lifestyle in the heart of Houston. The Uptown District is home to The Galleria, Texas’ largest shopping center. In addition to being a pedestrian friendly city, you can get around with ease on the MetroRapid Silver Line.


The Application Process

Submit an online application including your cover letter and resume.


The Salary

The starting hiring range for this position is $79,730.00 - $95,516.00 based on relevant experience and education.

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 956-365-3775 or contact

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
Location on Google Maps
  • TX ProBAR, 202 South First Street, Harlingen, Texas, United States of America