Director, Government Relations

20 Mar, 2019


Director, Government Relations

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Washington, DC

We Are

Headquartered in downtown, Washington, DC, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a nationally recognized and respected organization with over 15,000 attorney members who practice and teach immigration law.  For our membership, we provide advocacy, continuing legal education, practice resources, professional services and expertise.

Founded in 1946, AILA’s mission is to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.  To learn more about our organization, please visit

The Government Relations team advocates for immigration-related legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms before Congress and the agencies, consistent with AILA’s principles and priorities.

Position Summary

The Director of Government Relations directs the association’s administrative and congressional advocacy efforts with a focus on employment-based immigration, immigration benefits, and the legal immigration system. The Director of Government Relations works with the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors in setting AILA’s policy goals and developing strategic plans to advance those goals in coordination with AILA committees, coalition partners, and others, using administrative advocacy, congressional advocacy, the media, and other avenues as appropriate. This position conducts and coordinates the development of substantive legal positions and arguments by analyzing immigration laws, policies, and procedures, and ensures timely and accurate information impacting the substantive practice of immigration law is communicated to the AILA membership. The Director serves on the association’s senior management team.

Essential Job Functions

Issue Development and Advocacy: Works with staff, committees, and members to identify emerging issues in immigration law, policy, and procedure and develops and executes strategies to address them, using administrative advocacy, congressional advocacy, the media, and other avenues as appropriate. Oversees and contributes to the drafting of regulatory and other comments, briefs, legal memoranda, reports, and other policy-oriented written work product. Acts as sounding board for committee chairs and members regarding priority issues and strategies. Oversees the development of substantive agenda items for agency liaison meetings and actively participates in those meetings. Communicates with agency officials, Hill staffers, and the media on behalf of the association (in coordination with committee chairs, as appropriate) on emerging and emergent issues.

Information Dissemination and Member Support: Reviews and edits press releases and blog posts as needed for technical accuracy and messaging. Reviews and edits the substantive written work product of committees and members to ensure accuracy and readability and works with Government Relations and Online Content staff to ensure timely dissemination of information to members. Delegates member inquiries on practice and substantive issues to other Government Relations staff members to respond and/or responds to such member inquiries as needed.

Leadership: Communicates policy and government relations updates to the AILA Executive Committee and Board of Governors on a regular basis. Works with AILA President-Elect in the appointment of relevant committees. Develops and implements AILA’s strategic goals and objectives as they pertain to immigration benefits and employment-based immigration policy. Sets and monitors Government Relations Department budget. Speaks on immigration policy and advocacy developments and other substantive law topics at AILA conferences and chapter events, and external events.

Required Education and Training

J.D. degree is required.  Bar admission is required.

Minimum Job Requirements 

5+ years of substantive immigration law, policy, and practice experience is required. Recent experience working with federal agencies is desired. Position requires a thorough knowledge of and commitment to AILA’s mission and policy agenda.



Expertise in immigration law, policy, and procedures.

Thorough understanding of the organization’s policy agenda and advocacy efforts.

Thorough understanding of the political process and the ability to think strategically about achieving organizational goals.

Demonstrated experience working with administrative agencies and coalitions.

Capacity to build and expand the organization’s administrative advocacy efforts.

Demonstrated experience and success in management, supervision, teambuilding, and consensus building.


Exceptional writing, editing, proofreading, and organizational skills.

Strong interpersonal, networking, and leadership skills.

Dynamic public speaking skills.

Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word/Excel/Outlook).

Capacity to handle multiple competing priorities and meet deadlines.

Capacity to build and sustain partnerships, coalitions and alliances.


Initiative and ability to exercise discretion and sound judgment.

Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and/or in writing.

Ability to communicate strategically and creatively under tight deadlines.

Ability to travel and work after-hours and/or weekends, as needed.

Ability to work independently and closely with volunteer leadership.

Our workplace

We offer a dynamic and collaborative work environment with a competitive compensation package based on your experience and qualifications. Our generous benefits include 100% of an employee’s Medical/Rx, Dental, and Vision premiums, as well as contributions towards dependents’ premiums; a 401(k) with up to 3% matching contribution upon enrollment, employer paid disability and life insurance, commuter subsidy. In addition, we provide employees with flexible scheduling and telecommuting options and plenty of time away from the office to bolster creativity and recharge. Added perks: four-week paid parental leave and a four-week sabbatical every tenth year of service.

AILA received recognition as a 50 Best Places to Work by Washingtonian Magazine and one of the Principal 10 Best for Employee Financial Security. Our diverse membership is comprised of knowledgeable, compassionate, and dedicated professionals who constantly work to navigate the complex practice of immigration law.

Candidates are asked to submit a resume and cover letter when applying for the role.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2019-03-20