Position Openings

Immigrants Rights’ and Family Preparedness Program Fellowship
 Rochester, New York 

Employment Type: Full-Time

Minimum Experience: Entry-level

Fellowship: Equal Justice Works Americorps Fellow, New York State Family Security Project 

Location: Rochester, New York

Organization: Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.

Volunteer Legal Services Project (VLSP) is hosting a one-year fellowship sponsored by Equal Justice Works designed to foster family security and community education through the provision of legal immigration services. The attorney selected for the Fellowship will be housed at VLSP’s office at 1 West Main St. in Rochester, New York.

Per Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps guidelines, the fellowship must begin no later than February, 1, 2018. The position is a one-year fellowship, with a possible one-year extension contingent upon continued AmeriCorps funding.

VLSP was organized in 1981 to improve the quality of life of low-income people in Monroe County by ensuring the existence of a readily available panel of skilled volunteer attorneys to resolve serious civil legal problems of the indigent. VLSP serves the refugee population by providing free legal advice and pro bono representation to low-income Western New York residents in a variety of immigration applications such as, but not limited to, naturalization, legal permanent residence, Violence Against Women Act petitions, asylum, and Special Immigrant Juvenile status. VLSP also serves the undocumented farmworker community in Monroe, Genesee, Wayne, Ontario, Orleans, Livingston, Yates, Wyoming, and Cayuga Counties in Western New York by organizing rural clinics that are accessible to the farmworker community. VLSP’s clinics, run in collaboration with Worker Justice Center and Cornell Farmworker Program, assist farmworker parents with education about their rights, and develop Family Preparedness Plans for their children and property in the event of detention/removal.

Fellowship Description:
The Equal Justice Works New York State Family Security Project Legal Fellow will engage a variety of stakeholders in implementing the project, including partner agencies, volunteer attorneys, and clients and their families. The Fellow will be responsible for developing/maintaining successful collaborations with refugee-service and farmworker agencies, including drafting of legal intake forms and procedures, and organizing rural clinics. The Fellow will screen clients for eligibility and immigration relief, and provide legal assistance and brief advice as needed to area refugee and undocumented workers. The attorney will also recruit, train, and support volunteer attorneys to represent clients in a variety of matters, including, but not limited to naturalization, legal permanent residence, violence against women act petitions, asylum and special immigrant juvenile status.  

  • Admission (or pending admission) to the New York State Bar
  • The ability to undergo and pass AmeriCorps-mandated criminal background checks (only conviction for murder and presence on sex offender registry are automatic bars to service; other criminal convictions are allowable under Equal Justice Works review and approval)
  • A demonstrated commitment to public interest work and strong desire to assist indigent clients and/or immigrants
  • Strong writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • The ability to work collaboratively in a variety of contexts 
  • Prior experience in managing independent projects or assignments 
  • Law school clinic, externship, summer or other relevant practice experience a plus 
  • The ability to begin the fellowship no later than February 1, 2018
  • Those with experience in regards to immigration issues strongly encouraged to apply 
  • Bilingual (especially Spanish-speaking) candidates strongly encouraged to apply
  • Willingness to attend a mandatory substantive immigration law training in New York City in February 2018, as well as the mandatory Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training in Washington, DC in October 2018 (Note that travel costs for these training will be covered by Equal Justice Works)

Salary and benefits:
The Fellow will receive an annual living allowance, as well as financial support for housing, student loan repayment, and other permissible reimbursable living expenses in accordance with Equal Justice Works compensation scale. Additionally, VLSP will provide health insurance and parking reimbursement. Other benefits offered by AmeriCorps include student loan forbearance and interest accrual payment upon successful completion of service, and the opportunity to attend national training focused on leadership, networking, and project development sponsored by Equal Justice Works. Child care assistance may be available if income eligible.

Application Instructions:
Please respond with your Resume, Cover Letter, References, and Writing Sample via email to Ms. Vasanthi Pillai at vpillai@vlsprochester.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow is scheduled to begin the term of service no later than February 1, 2018.

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