Legal Director, Immigrant Justice Program

04 Sep, 2023


Legal Director, Immigrant Justice Program

Legal Aid Justice Center
Falls Church, VA

General Information
Job Title:
Legal Director, Immigrant Justice Program
6402 Arlington Blvd, Suite 1130
Falls Church, VA, 22042
United States
Base Pay:
$90000.00 – $115000.00 / Year
Relocation Expense Covered:
Employee Type:
Manage Others:
Contact Information
Elaine Poon
This role will be based in our Richmond, Charlottesville, Falls Church, or Petersburg offices.

Salary Note: Salary range is $90,000 to $115,000 based on years of relevant experience and LAJC’s formal salary scale, upward 12% cost-of-living adjustment ($100,800 to 128,800) is available for positions based in Falls Church. Placement on the range will be based on factors such as years of relevant experience, budget, and internal equity.

About the Legal Aid Justice Center:

The Legal Aid Justice Center is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization that partners with low-income clients and communities of color in Virginia to fight for racial, social, and economic justice. We understand that the harms our clients endure are inextricably linked to overarching systems of injustice. Together we are dismantling those systems through a combination of community organizing, litigation, policy advocacy, public relations, and individual legal services.

Founded in 1967, LAJC has offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church and provides services under six key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice (focuses on the criminal legal system), Housing & Consumer Justice, Youth Justice, Health Justice & Public Benefits, Immigrant Justice, and Worker Justice. As examples of LAJC’s recent work, our lawsuit and organizing against the state forced reform of Virginia’s unemployment insurance system, including advocacy that resulted in the distribution of over $1 billion in illegally withheld payments to over 160,000 Virginians. During the pandemic, we demanded and secured a statewide eviction moratorium and emergency pandemic protections that helped hundreds of families avoid eviction. We reduced incarceration across the state, including reducing the population of a local immigration detention center down to historically low levels through a coordinated effort of organizing paired with impact and individual litigation. Our staff are on the front lines of some of the most important anti-poverty fights happening today.

With a staff of over 90, the past few years have been a time of exciting growth and opportunity for the organization. In addition to the growth of programmatic efforts including increased organizing capacity, LAJC has expanded its operations and administrative capacity, created new opportunities for professional growth and leadership among staff, engaged in ongoing race equity work, and explored changes to organizational structure to deepen its efforts to create long-term, sustainable, community-driven change.

LAJC’s latest strategic plan is available at For more information about LAJC’s work and programs, please visit

About the Immigrant Justice Program:

LAJC has a long history of serving immigrant communities across Virginia, including individuals without documentation and facing deportation. LAJC’s Immigrant Justice Program works to end mass detention and deportation of immigrants in Virginia, and to break the ties between immigration enforcement and local and state government and law enforcement. We work to ensure that immigrant communities remain intact and protected in Virginia, fight the separation of immigrant families and the exclusion of immigrants from state benefits, and protect young immigrants across the Commonwealth whether in federal custody or in their communities. Previously, the team also supported farmworker campaigns, but in 2022 as the result of its significant growth, LAJC launched a new Worker Justice Program to house the farmworker campaigns, in addition to other worker justice efforts.

LAJC’s recent wins include a coordinated effort to drastically reduce the population of a local immigration detention center down to historically low levels through impact litigation, partnership with long-time organizing efforts and litigating individual habeas corpus petitions; increasing the eligible age for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status children; ending mandatory ICE notifications for misdemeanor arrests; and establishing in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid for undocumented students with pending asylum applications who graduate from Virginia high schools. In addition to individual legal defense of immigrants facing removal proceedings and federal litigation on behalf of detained immigrants, our attorneys and organizers partner with local community members and community groups as well as national advocacy organizations to promote systemic reforms reducing the abuse and exploitation of immigrants, and to advocate for policies that promote integration and protection of immigrant communities.


About the Position:

Legal Aid Justice Center seeks a strategic, collaborative legal advocate to lead a creative and passionate team of attorneys and organizers as Legal Director of its Immigrant Justice Program. The Legal Director serves as a member of the senior management team, and in addition to setting strategy and leading programs for the team, supports ongoing strategy and development across the organization. Currently reporting to the Deputy Director for Advocacy, the Legal Director provides strategic vision for and guidance over the program’s direct services and advocacy campaigns, and supervises and mentors attorneys on legal strategy and litigation efforts. Together with the Director of Organizing, the Legal Director supports the organizers on the team.

The Legal Director will have the opportunity to lead in the following areas:


In collaboration with the team, set a vision and priorities for the Immigrant Justice Program team’s work and devise strategic advocacy campaigns using the variety of tools employed by LAJC’s programs, including impact litigation and individual representation, organizing, policy advocacy, and community education and technical assistance.
Support the team in translating vision and strategy into tactical plans and decisions, including annual planning and identifying priorities for both individual representation and campaign work.
Mentor and directly supervise staff, including senior attorneys, senior organizers (in partnership with the Director of Organizing), interns/fellows and pro bono volunteers.
Set intake priorities and ensure casehandlers have adequate support to provide excellent representation to LAJC’s clients.
Build relationships with directly impacted community members, members of the bench and bar, agency heads and elected officials.
Provide support to LAJC’s fundraising team in their efforts to resource the team’s work.
Represent LAJC in coalitions with other legal, non-profit and community-based advocacy organizations.
Serve as a member of LAJC’s management team, which advises senior leadership in setting organizational priorities for all programmatic work and providing stewardship of organizational resources.
LAJC also hosts two immigration law clinics at University of Virginia and George Mason Law Schools. The Legal Director will oversee supervision and instruction of clinic students, with support from other LAJC staff.


Required Qualifications:

Minimum 5 years’ membership in any state bar; if not admitted in Virginia, must be eligible to waive in or to sit for the Virginia Bar. (Note: this position may be eligible for the newly enacted Virginia Supreme Court rule allowing for any attorney working exclusively for a legal aid organization to practice without examination as long as they are in good standing in another state).
Prior management or supervisory experience (in official capacity as supervisor or substantially similar work without official title)
Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) partnering with and advocating in low-income immigrant communities
Sincere and demonstrated commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and justice
Familiarity with immigration law and policy (from work or lived experience)
Ability to work and communicate effectively across lines of identity and difference
Ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively
Flexibility and an adaptive approach, which is important within a growing, learning-oriented organization
Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may include evening and weekend events, as well as occasional travel

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience in systemic advocacy, including federal litigation or policy advocacy
Experience supporting the development and execution of campaigns and/or community or movement lawyering, grassroots organizing, and coalition building
Experience or familiarity collaborating with community organizers
Demonstrated commitment to a community-centered model of social change
Prior advocacy experience (work or lived) using an explicit race equity lens
Persuasive oral advocacy, research and writing skills
Proficiency in a language spoken by one or more immigrant communities in Virginia, with a preference for Spanish language skills (LAJC may be able to provide support for strengthening language skills beyond basic proficiency depending on the circumstances)

A Note to Potential Candidates: Studies have shown that women, trans, non-binary folks, and BIPOC are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every single one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization, and strongly encourage you to apply, even if you don’t believe you meet every one of the qualifications described.

Location: This role will be based in our Richmond, Charlottesville, Falls Church, or Petersburg offices. Occasional travel between offices will be required. Although a regular presence in the office is required, LAJC offers a remote work policy to support employees in co-creating schedules and arrangements that allow us all to do our best work.

Application Deadline: Applications will start being reviewed immediately and on a rolling basis.

Salary: Salary range is $90,000 to $115,000 based on years of relevant experience and LAJC’s formal salary scale, upward 12% cost-of-living adjustment is available for positions based in Falls Church. Placement on the range will be based on factors such as years of relevant experience, budget, and internal equity.

Benefits: Our mission is compelling, and our team members are passionate about their work, and so we recognize the need to provide generous benefits and encourage rest and a healthy work environment. For example, we provide:

Generous paid time off every year, including 3 to 6 weeks of vacation, 12 days of health leave, 6 weeks parental leave, and 14 holidays (not including bonus holidays/rest days allocated as needed)
100% employer paid health, dental, and vision insurance, plus excellent family insurance with annual max of $2,400 premium contribution to LAJC-sponsored health plan
403(b) retirement plan with 4% employer contribution (no required match)
Strong commitment to professional development
Relocation package

Application Instructions: Complete the online application which may require a cover letter, resume, relevant writing sample, and contact information for three references. Please direct your cover letter to the hiring manager, Elaine Poon. The cover letter should highlight any experience (lived or worked) advocating for justice for people who experience marginalization because of their race or economic status and/or specialized skills, such as data analysis, technology skills, or language fluency. If you have any questions or need support with your submission, please reach out to Please note, we will not contact references without advance consent from candidates.

Vaccination Requirement: The Legal Aid Justice Center requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption as a qualification of employment. Proof of vaccination or accommodation request must be provided within one day of employment.

The Legal Aid Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, and communities to apply. The Legal Aid Justice Center is committed to strengthening the voices of our low-income clients, working in collaboration with community partners, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty. We strive to take on the issues that have broad impact on our client communities and to be responsive to client input. Recognizing the particular impact of racism on our clients and staff, we devote special attention to dismantling racial injustice. All applicants must be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In reviewing applications, we look for evidence that applicants have experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with traditionally marginalized populations.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2023-09-04