REMOVAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY (SAN JOSÉ, CA)
A little about us!
Our vision is to live in a world where people have the right move and resettle across borders with dignity and respect. We work towards this vision through our mission: defending immigrants against deportation, promoting community education and empowerment, and engaging in policy advocacy. We also work towards this vision internally by building a horizontal, consensus-based organization.
Our team: We started in 2013 with a team of 1.5 and now are 11 (3 in San Jose and 8 in San Francisco). Our staff and board of directors are diverse in their migration backgrounds, and extremely supportive of each other. What brings us together is our dedication to our work, each other, and the larger movement for immigrants’ rights.
Our work: We operate on three levels: direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and community empowerment and education. Attorneys at Pangea participate in traditional lawyering – zealously representing immigrants in their removal proceedings and appeals. Attorneys also act as movement lawyers – working with clients, their families, grassroots organizers, legislators, and media to create systemic change. Our goal for representation is not only to achieve positive legal outcomes for each client, but also to provide our clients with opportunities for politicization and social transformation, thus advancing the larger movement for immigrant rights.
Our offices: Pangea’s main office is located in downtown San Francisco, near key immigration offices, including the detained and non-detained immigration courts, ICE, USCIS, and the asylum office. Pangea’s Santa Clara County office is located in the San José Unified School District office, giving us access to parents, teachers, and students. Our San José office is also within biking distance of the Caltrain Diridon station, downtown San José, San José State University, the historic Alameda district, and the Rose Garden district.
Our internal work: Pangea is more than a job; it’s an opportunity to become a director and share ownership in an organization that reflects the values we want to see in the world. Over the last 5 years, we have built an organization where everyone receives equal pay, authority is delegated by consensus, and everyone’s responsibilities are equally important regardless of organizational role. All employees serve on 1-2 organizational “hubs” that help run, build, and strengthen our organization. After 6 months of employment, new employees become directors of the organization and voting members of at least one hub. We are committed to continuing to develop our organizational model guided by our social justice ideals, and we invest significant time in its upkeep and growth.
We are hiring an attorney in our San José Office.
We are excited about growing our South Bay team! We are specifically looking to expand our non-detained asylum work, as well as our partnerships and community empowerment work in Santa Clara County.
This position will mostly focus on representing non-detained asylum seekers in immigration court. It is based in our San José office, with occasional days required in our San Francisco office to attend court hearings, immigration interviews, and important team meetings (approximately 2-4x/month).
Our San José team is currently comprised of 3 (and soon to be 4) attorneys. Each attorney has a different focus, including detained cases, non-detained asylum cases, crim-imm cases, and habeas petitions.
This is why working in San José is great.
San José is a great place to live and work. It has all the amenities of a large city, but with a more low-key vibe. The weather is amazing. It is sunny about 300 days a year, and has an average annual temperature of 70 degrees. San José has incredible access to outdoor adventures all year round, including expansive open space preserves, Pinnacles National Park, Big Basin Redwoods, and the Santa Cruz beach and mountains.
Santa Clara County is diverse and vibrant. Mexican, Vietnamese, and many other migrants from all over the world make up almost 40% of the county’s population. The community is growing daily with new immigrants who move to San José to reunite with family members (and also those who join the many Silicon Valley companies that are based in Santa Clara County).
There is a critical need for removal defense services in the South Bay. Santa Clara County has the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area. San José residents, in particular, have more pending immigration court cases than any other city in the Bay Area. There is a blossoming community of immigration and deportation defense service organizations in Santa Clara County. Pangea has many partners in the field, and our legal and grassroots immigrant rights collaboratives are well organized and welcoming.
This is who we are looking for.
We are looking for someone who is passionate about our mission and vision, excited to represent asylum seekers in court, and energized about helping to grow and shape our organization. We are also looking for someone who has roots in the South Bay, or is motivated to make a long-term investment in (and ideally live in) the South Bay community.
Represent immigrants (primarily asylum seekers) in removal proceedings
Engage in community empowerment activities, including media interviews, outreach to the San Jose Unified School District community, Know Your Rights presentations, and more
Create opportunities for clients to share their stories, participate in community empowerment activities, and join the larger movement for immigrant rights
Participate in local coalitions, and cultivate relationships with partner organizations
Help to maintain and grow Pangea as an organization, and actively participate in 1-2 organizational “hubs”
Required Skills and Experience
License to practice law in the United States or DOJ Accreditation (and we are willing to explore options with 3L law students)
Spanish language proficiency
Demonstrated commitment to immigration issues
Excellent written communication skills
Bonus Skills and Experience
Spanish language fluency, proficiency in other languages
Experience working in asylum law
Experience in movement-building / community organizing
Experience working with survivors of trauma
Excellent verbal communication skills
Ability to wear multiple hats and juggle various responsibilities / roles
Alignment with Pangea’s Points of Unity
We are looking for someone who can relate to and embody our Points of Unity. These are the internal organizational principles that our team created together in 2015, and we frequently turn to them when making difficult decisions.
We believe that all people are equal in rights and should be free to move. We dream of a world without borders.
We were created to fill a gap in free and low fee deportation defense services.
We recognize that education, legal empowerment, and policy advocacy are essential to changing perspectives around migration and migrants’ rights.
We believe in the oneness of all people and we embrace the common humanity of every person; our interactions are guided by love.
We treat every person we meet as an individual with a unique story.
We are committed to excellence and providing high quality services.
The law is a living document. Its flaws do not constrict us. We use it strategically to ask boldly for the best for our community.
We are positive and solution oriented. We value fresh attitudes, innovation, and creativity. We challenge conventional thinking in order to redefine what is possible.
We practice humility. We listen, learn, reflect, evaluate, and grow.
We value our team’s individual and collective well-being. We create mechanisms to support well-roundedness and our team’s mental, physical, and spiritual health.
We recognize a tension between serving as many people in need as possible, taking challenging, legally complex cases, and valuing our own health and well-being. We strive to maintain a balance between these three goals.
We are committed to equity regarding compensation, responsibilities, and shared ownership.
We strive to create an organization that is both financially sustainable and autonomous.
All about benefits and compensation.
First 6 months: The first 6 months at Pangea are considered a “sponge” period. During this time, an employee receives and absorbs significant supervision, legal training, and orientation around our horizontal model. During the sponge period, an employee is a non-voting member of the team, and receives $5,000 less in salary than the rest of the staff.
After 6 months: After successfully completing the 6 month sponge period, an employee becomes a full member of the team. Their title is updated to that of a Director, they get voting rights in our hubs, and their salary increases to the same salary as all other teammates (currently $58,000/year).
In terms of benefits, we offer Kaiser medical (Silver plan) and dental insurance, up to $800 in health reimbursements (for things like glasses or co-pays), and a socially responsible Simple IRA plan with a 2% employer contribution. We pay for state bar and other professional membership fees. Our vacation benefits start at 15 days in the first year and increase with tenure. We also close our office for 13 holidays a year.
The start date of this position is flexible but must be by December 2019. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. We started evaluating applications on April 1, 2019. However, we welcome additional applications and will continue to schedule interviews with new applicants until this posting is removed. Please submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, copy of your law school transcript, and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your cover letter, please answer the following two questions: 1) How does immigration directly impact you or your family; 2) What experiences do you have with collectively run organizations, or what draws you to a non-hierarchical organization? Please indicate “South Bay Attorney Application” in the subject line of your email.
We encourage immigrants and those directly impacted by Pangea’s work to apply.