Director of Legal Services
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The International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) is a dynamic and growing legal, policy, and advocacy organization that works to develop and enforce a system of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced people around the world. We are the leading organization that provides free and comprehensive legal services to people we serve through registration, protection, and resettlement processes.
IRAP operates offices in the U.S. (New York City and Washington D.C.), Jordan (Amman), Germany (Berlin) and Lebanon (Beirut). Our legal services are supplemented by a corps of pro bono lawyers from leading U.S. and international law firms and multinational corporations, and law students who have created IRAP chapters across the United States and Canada. Through this work, we aim to assist refugees and other displaced people to find safe passage and to transform the landscape of refugee rights in the U.S. and internationally. IRAP has over 80 full-time staff, the majority of whom are based in the New York City office. We are a nimble organization staffed by an innovative and collaborative team that is committed to high standards of quality and close partnerships with our clients, peers, and colleagues.
IRAP believes that diversity is critical to fostering a strong workplace and serving our clients well. We strongly encourage applications from people with lived experiences in the communities that we serve, members of other marginalized communities, and individuals whose identities are underrepresented in the legal profession.
Reporting to one of IRAP’s Deputy Executive Directors, the Legal Services Director will lead a team of talented program directors who oversee the work of over 40 staff who focus primarily on the direct representation of refugees and other displaced people worldwide, mentoring pro bono teams of attorneys and students in direct representation, and other projects. The Legal Services Director will provide direct supervision to the U.S. Legal Services Director, the Middle East Director, the Director of Complementary Pathways and the Intake and Legal Information Director. They will oversee staff based in New York City, Jordan, Lebanon, Germany and remotely around the world. They will coordinate our work across all legal services teams and work in close partnership with all of the Program Departments at IRAP to ensure high quality legal services are provided to our clients.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate a deep connection to IRAP’s mission to use legal advocacy to find safe places to live and safe passage for the world’s most persecuted individuals. They will be an inclusive, passionate leader committed to combating inequitable policies impacting refugees and other displaced people and to delivering the highest quality legal and advocacy services. They will be an experienced manager who excels at supporting, mentoring, and motivating legal staff; developing processes that facilitate the efficient and effective delivery of direct legal services by staff and volunteer lawyers; and successfully leading teams in delivering the highest quality legal and advocacy services. The ideal candidate will be a decisive, keenly analytical leader and thinker who will build and support a healthy culture around prioritization, team communication and transparent decision making. They will be able to lead from an anti-oppression lens and understand how to support clients and staff impacted by trauma directly and vicariously.
Location: The ideal candidate will work in one of IRAP’s offices in New York City, Berlin, Amman or Beirut
- Oversee the provision of direct legal services at IRAP by working closely with the Legal Services teams to set priorities, manage departmental budgets, and ensure high quality legal service provision to refugees and displaced persons aligned with IRAP’s strategic plan.
- Supervise a team of four program directors, providing responsive management and ongoing support to ensure that all of IRAP’s legal service provision is fully integrated into the work and mission of the organization. Direct reports include the U.S. Legal Services Director; Middle East Director, who leads the Jordan and Lebanon teams; Director of Complementary Pathways, who manages IRAP’s legal services work in Europe; and the Director of the Intake and Legal Information team, which is responsible for most client screening, development of pro se legal materials, as well as legal casework.
- Create an infrastructure that supports continued growth and impact in IRAP’s Legal Services departments. The new Director will bring strong project management skills and process orientation to the work, making sure that appropriate policies and protocols are in place including accountability measures within our legal services programming. The Director will be a systems-thinker with the ability to listen, motivate, and execute to make the Department’s work as efficient and effective as possible. They will be able to identify new opportunities and successfully integrate new initiatives and partnerships into the Department’s existing work.
- Ensure that the Legal Services teams offer a supportive, equitable, and inclusive work environment and uphold principles of anti-oppression in hiring, staff support, client relationships, outreach, and coalition building. Grounded in IRAP’s commitment to justice and equality and its organizational values, the new Director will bring an anti-oppression lens to all aspects of strategy, priority setting, team development, and community engagement. The new Director will support IRAP’s work to reflect the communities it serves and build a culture of inclusion, continuous growth, and openness. They will help create a respectful and equitable work environment for staff at all levels of the organization and will ensure the same experience for clients, partners, and stakeholders. In particular, the Director will ensure support for staff on vicarious trauma.
- Work with the Director of Pro Bono to develop new projects and to support staff in working with pro bono teams and improving the experience for clients and pro bono attorneys and students alike.
- Support expanded collaboration with refugee-serving organizations globally through capacity-building programs and provision of pro se materials in coordination with the legal services teams.
The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to IRAP’s mission and understand the critical role that litigation and advocacy plays in advancing the rights of refugees worldwide. S/he/they will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- JD or LLM Required.
- Minimum of 8 years of legal services experience in the field of refugee and/or immigration law including extensive experience with direct client work and preferred experience in international refugee legal assistance. Experience supervising staff working remotely is a plus.
- Experience supervising teams or units and a deep commitment to leadership development and mentorship.
- Strong project management skills including a record of success in managing, training, developing, and supervising legal staff.
- Commitment to and experience in successfully employing an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens to foster a diverse, equitable working environment and creating diverse teams that reflect communities served;
- Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a leadership team to set organizational and departmental priorities and pursue opportunities that further impact across departments
- Experience developing or improving organizational capacity, with an eye toward opportunities for process improvement;
- Experience working with community-based and NGO partners and sensitivity to client empowerment and to working with clients of all backgrounds, including LGBTI clients, and survivors of trauma.
- Comfort with technology and data management.
- Must be highly organized and motivated, able to multitask, manage a high-volume workload, and have excellent time management skills.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with a preference for experience working in diverse and international work environments.
- Excellent writing, analytical, and oral communication skills;
- Excellent oral and written English skills. Excellent skills in a second language, particularly Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, or Spanish, is a plus but not required.
SALARY: $150,00 – $180,000 depending on years of experience.
IRAP offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits including healthcare and retirement plans, a flexible work schedule, and vacation and sick leave.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and a list of three references at this link. Application materials should be submitted in English. Your cover letter must indicate in which office you would apply to work, whether you have work authorization in that country, and your language abilities.