Legal Fellow in the Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice



The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is seeking a Legal Fellow.

The Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice provides vital pro bono representation to people facing deportation at the trial court level and in the federal appellate courts to advance the law to benefit immigrants in Maryland and nationally. The Center also trains law students, as well as already-practicing attorneys, to represent immigrants and the interests of the immigrant community in post-conviction proceedings to minimize the lasting effects and racial inequities of disproportional criminal enforcement. It supports a Citizenship Initiative to promote naturalization so that Maryland’s immigrant community can have more stability and more of a political voice to advocate for itself, and its students engage in legislative and policy efforts to promote critical law reform advocacy.

Students in the Immigration Clinic, which is part of the Center, represent low- and moderate-income immigrants in matters relating to immigration status. Students represent individuals fleeing persecution, those facing deportation because of criminal convictions, and those seeking to ameliorate the consequences of or obtain citizenship following a criminal conviction. They may advocate before the Department of Homeland Security, the Baltimore Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals or in the federal courts. Clients may, in some cases, be detained by DHS. In addition, students advocate in the state legislature and in local jurisdictions for law reform and funding for representation in immigration cases. Clinic faculty supervise all work. Students will build professional and collaboration skills in a litigation setting; learn immigration law in the context of practice; explore issues of professional responsibility in client representation and the role of the attorney in providing access to the justice system; and look at wider issues of US immigration policy. Law School Professor and Faculty Director Maureen Sweeney has led the Immigration Clinic since 2004. Associate Director Gabriela Kahrl has been with the Clinic since 2017.

Primary duties of the Fellow :

The Fellow will work with the faculty of the Chacón Center to launch the Center on both a national and local level and to create the infrastructure necessary to grow the programs as envisioned to achieve the Center’s long-term goals. The position will require both legal and programmatic work including:

  • Advocating with lawmakers during and in anticipation of the Maryland General Assembly, to support ongoing law reform work.
  • Taking the lead on developing the Center’s new Citizenship Initiative, including providing naturalization representation and identifying and working with new citizens interested in law reform advocacy.
  • Working with campus personnel to develop a social media presence for the Center and promoting its work.
  • Working with campus personnel to develop the Center website content, including developing and coordinating creation of a blog to promote positive narratives of immigrants in MD (working title: Immigrant Humans of Maryland, à la https://www.humansofnewyork.com/ ).
  • Organizing an inaugural symposium for Spring 2022 to inaugurate the Center in the academic sphere, bringing together national experts on the intersection of criminal and immigration law and highlighting the Center’s work.
  • Nurturing community partnerships to develop the Citizenship Initiative and other projects (including a nascent partnership with Balt City public schools to support indigent students at risk of deportation).
  • Supporting fundraising efforts for Center staffing and proposed projects.
  • Other duties as required.


Qualifications :

Minimum Qualifications :

  • J.D. from an ABA accredited school.
  • One year of experience in immigration law and policy, which can be satisfied by law school clinical or externship experience or relevant paid work during law school.
  • Spanish or French proficiency strongly preferred.
  • Applicants must be barred in Maryland or another United States jurisdiction or be planning to take the 2021 July Bar Exam.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent research, writing, oral communication, and presentation skills.
  • Familiarity with basic concepts and practice of immigration law, especially naturalization.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office products, including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Excellent coordination and organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail.
  • Ability to network and interact as well as support effective partnerships with key groups and individuals.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people, including law students, immigrant clients, community representatives, and government officials.
  • Ability to handle multiple ongoing tasks that require daily or weekly updating and attention.
  • Openness to critical feedback and sincere desire to learn and grow as a professional.
  • Experience with community organizing, knowledge of the local MD/DC immigrant legal services landscape, and grant writing experience are a plus.


This is a one-year position with the possibility of a one-year renewal, subject to Fellow performance.

Start date: August 16, 2021

Salary: $50,000

Interested applicants should submit (a) a cover letter, (b) resume, (c) the names and telephone numbers of at least three references by July 25, 2021.

In the Fall of 2021, UMB will require all faculty, staff, and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Exemptions for medical or religious reasons will be processed through Human Resources.

UMB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, protected Veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law or policy. For assistance related to employment, please contact the Staffing department at HRJobs@umaryland.edu.

If you anticipate needing a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), during any part of the employment process, please submit a UMB Job Applicant Accommodation Request . You may also contact HRDiversity@umaryland.edu. Please note that only inquiries concerning an ADA request for reasonable accommodation will be responded to from this email address.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs