Lead Attorney, Department of Legal Strategy

IRAP is currently accepting applications for the following position:

Lead Attorney, Department of Legal Strategy

About IRAP
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), Jordan (Amman), and Lebanon (Beirut). Our legal services are supplemented by a corps of pro bono lawyers from leading U.S. and international law firms and multi-national 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 50 full-time staff, the majority of whom are based in the New York City office, with others working in field offices in Jordan and Lebanon or remotely. 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 is seeking a Lead Attorney for its new Department of Legal Strategy to lead IRAP’s commitment to defining the cutting edge of refugee and forced migration law and upholding IRAP’s standard of excellence in legal practice. The Department of Legal Strategy is a brand new department, aimed at ensuring that we continue to grow forced migration legal rights as an area of law, that our casework is tightly linked with our policy advocacy, communications and litigation, that clients have the highest possible caliber of representation, and that staff have mentorship and high quality professional development and access to expertise across relevant areas of law. The position will report to the Director of Legal Strategy.


  • Working with the Director of Legal Strategy, lead the identification of emerging issues for IRAP to address through its work and advise the leadership team on organizational priorities
    • Lead research into new locations, case types, and issue areas where IRAP is poised to have impact and assess whether or not IRAP should invest in pursuing this area of work
    • Present new opportunities and emerging issues to IRAP leadership for consideration
    • Conduct ongoing consultations with staff, external organizations and partners, and affected communities and clients to ensure programs are reflective and responsive of emerging trends in fact and in law
  • Working with the Director of Legal Strategy, lead IRAP’s development of new and innovative areas of practice, expertise, and legal strategies
    • Lead legal research on how to approach new or changing areas of work and develop plans for how IRAP can build capacity to achieve excellence and impact in these areas
    • As necessary, help identify and initiate potential partnerships to facilitate IRAP’s success
  • Working with the Director of Legal Strategy, maintain IRAP’s position as a leading legal authority in refugee and immigration law
    • Share IRAP’s expertise at in-person events, including conferences, talks, courses or clinics, and trainings, either directly or through the training and preparation of staff.
    • Develop written materials, including articles, and other informational materials to share publicly with attorneys and partner organizations
    • Provide content expertise for the development of pro se, know-your-rights, and other legal information materials for IRAP clients and affected communities
  • Facilitate organization wide information sharing and cross-departmental collaboration to ensure that new legal information surfacing in one area can be utilized across programming
    • Lead IRAP’s internal initiatives (e.g., substance teams) dedicated to increasing expertise in specific case types, with a particular focus on asylum, U.S. border law, family reunification and Terrorism Related Inadmissibility Grounds and security vetting
  • Support IRAP staff to conduct high-quality work and improve their legal skills
    • Directly support staff through trainings and collaboration on challenging casework
    • Identify and develop professional development activities related to strengthening legal skills (e.g., conferences, speaking and teaching opportunities, one-off projects, etc.)
    • Advise on specific legal matters within IRAP departments (e.g., screenings, intake, student chapter work and responsibilities, Intake and Legal Information strategy)
  • Identify and coordinate opportunities for IRAP’s Legal, Litigation, and Policy departments to collaborate (e.g., casework, new litigation opportunities) and learn from each other
  • Contribute to planning and decisions related to IRAP’s organizational strategy and vision
  • As needed, take on casework, litigation, research, and other direct legal work responsibilities

Based out of IRAP’s office in New York, New York, with extended travel to IRAP’s field offices. 


  • Minimum 10 years relevant legal experience in the fields of asylum law, refugee law, U.S. and European family reunification law and/or international migration law
  • Minimum 10 years relevant legal experience doing direct client representation and casework in the area of forced migration
  • Experience connecting direct client representation to broader advocacy and litigation efforts in the field of immigration and refugee law
  • Success in training, mentoring and supervising legal staff and/or volunteer attorneys and law students
  • Sensitivity to client empowerment and to working with clients of all backgrounds, including LGBTI clients, survivors of trauma and other vulnerable populations
  • Highly organized and flexible; able to multi-task and manage a high volume workload; excellent time management skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills and the ability to understand and handle sensitive, complex and confidential information
  • Excellent legal writing, research, analytical and oral communication skills
  • The integrity, patience, and perseverance necessary to advance efforts to ensure displaced persons have greater access to services
  • Law degree and admission to practice law in the U.S.
  • Additional languages (especially Arabic, Spanish, French, Pashto, Farsi) are a plus
  • Must be based in New York City (or willing to relocate) and amenable to frequent travel to other sites where IRAP maintains a field presence or is building partnerships 

Application Instructions
Please submit a cover letter, resume and list of three references at this link

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.

This position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The salary will be based on years of relevant experience after law school per the CBA. 

IRAP offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits including family health, dental and vision benefits with no employee-paid premiums, a retirement plan with an employer matching component, flexible work schedule, and twenty days of vacation, five personal days, and twelve sick days per year.