HIAS seeks a Director, Legal Protection to provide technical support for its domestic and international legal services programs, which focus on providing legal status and protection to refugees and other forcibly displaced populations. The position focuses on the use of strategic litigation to advance refugees’ fundamental rights; building capacity to increase quality legal services for at-risk refugee populations including separated and unaccompanied children, single parents, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and torture, people with disabilities, LGBTI populations, and older people; building ties to domestic and international pro bono partners; and producing international legal research briefs in collaboration with institutional partners.
This role also oversees HIAS’ small direct resettlement referral program and acts as a conduit for communicating global standards and change initiatives to the field, providing remote and on-site training and technical guidance. Reporting to the VP, International Programs, and working closely with HIAS’ Regional Directors, other Technical Directors, Country Directors and other field staff and partners, the Director, Legal Protection provides technical assistance and build capacity of field and HQ staff, ensuring systems are in place to monitor relevant programs, develop robust program proposals, and build HIAS’ global profile in the sector.
- Develops, implements and monitors legal protection programs in line with HIAS’ refugee rights impact framework, including: (1) public legal education; (2) individual legal representation during asylum, international resettlement referrals, and other relevant procedures; (3) partnership with pro bono lawyers and law school programs; (4) strategic litigation; and (5) targeted legal advocacy.
- Ensures that programming reflects refugee needs and HIAS’ strategic priorities, coordinating closely with other Technical Directors (covering Gender and Gender-Based Violence, Resilience, and Economic Inclusion).
- Provides capacity building and training to HIAS staff and partners.
- Designs and supports the set-up of legal services, bringing an age and gender-inclusion lens to client outreach, support and direct assistance.
- Identifies new donors to HIAS’s legal protection programs and develop high quality proposals in the refugee legal protection sector.
- Coordinates regularly with Regional and Country Directors, Technical Directors, and staff attorneys and other key staff to monitor quality assurance in program implementation, identifying capacity gaps and designing appropriate interventions.
- Coordinates with M&E, other Technical Directors, and program leadership at the field and HQ levels to set a learning agenda, and document and communicate the impact of legal programs.
- Leads HIAS on the application of international legal standards to its legal programs.
- Contributes to HIAS’ advocacy to ensure public policy and legal frameworks permit refugees access to their fundamental rights (e.g., to work, education, medical care, among others).
- Supports HIAS to meaningfully engage relevant policy fora, contributing to global dialogue, learning and advocacy, and promoting HIAS’ thought leadership in this sector.
Qualifications and Requirements:
- Graduate degree required; Juris doctor degree (as a second degree), preferred.
- Fluency in English and Spanish (oral and written) required; French language skills a plus.
- A minimum of ten (10) years successful experience designing, implementing, and monitoring refugee legal services.
- A minimum of five (5) years of field-based experience, particularly in Africa or Latin America.
- Deep understanding of international refugee protection issues and legal frameworks; experience working in partnership with UNHCR and/or the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration a plus.
- Collaborative team player with the ability to think creatively, logically and critically about solutions to gaps in refugee legal protection.
- Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills, including the ability to motivate and support field-based staff, effectively communicate key program achievements and operational challenges to HQ, and represent programs to external stakeholders including donors.
- Meticulous research, drafting and editing skills.
- Travel up to 25% of time.
HIAS is a global Jewish nonprofit organization working across five continents to ensure that refugees and displaced persons are protected. Throughout the United States, we help refugees reunite with families, resettle and become self-sufficient. Guided by our values and history, we help refugees rebuild their lives in safety and security and advocate to ensure that all displaced people are treated with dignity.