Staff Attorney

About San Diego

San Diego, with a population of nearly 1.5 million people, is the second largest city in California, and the eighth largest city in the country. Known for its beautiful year-round climate, miles of gorgeous beaches, and its small city vibe, San Diego is also in the midst of a dramatic political realignment, recently electing a Democratic super majority to its nine-member city council, which includes five women.

San Diego sits on the U.S. - Mexico Border just north of Tijuana, and the two cities comprise the world’s largest metropolitan, binational region. San Ysidro, one of three border crossings in the region, is consistently cited as the world’s busiest port of entry. San Diego is also the number one refugee resettlement site in California, with more than 86,000 thousand resettled from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa since 1975.

Refugee resettlement and the cross-border character of the region make San Diego a rich blend of racial/ethnic, linguistic, and country-of-birth diversity. The region presents unique opportunities to be on the front lines of the fight for human rights, and to be a part of a public interest community that is incubating cutting edge refugee and racial justice policy and litigation for the entire country.

About PANA

The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans - PANA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization fighting to advance the full economic, social, and civic inclusion of refugees in San Diego, throughout California, and across the country. PANA works at the intersection of African, Middle Eastern, Muslim, & South Asian (AMEMSA) refugee communities impacted by racial/ethnic profiling, religious bias, increased government surveillance and harassment, and poverty among the many issues affecting our refugee communities.

PANA advances significant policy reforms at the city, county, and state level to ensure newly resettled refugees have equal access to family sustaining jobs, quality and healthy homes, and meaningful education that translates to upskilling in the workforce. In addition to policy and legal advocacy, PANA uses an integrated voter engagement approach to build and leverage deep community networks, develop community leaders, and establish a civic engagement infrastructure to amplify the voice, visibility and impact of our community.

Staff Attorney Position

San Diego County’s refugee and Muslim communities face ongoing and growing legal needs, and PANA is already a part of a national network of organizations bringing impact litigation to challenge the Muslim ban and other discriminatory immigration practices. PANA is hiring a full-time attorney to develop a legal program that will triage legal services for refugees and asylum seekers; develop human rights and national security impact litigation; and develop a rapid response legal infrastructure in San Diego to respond to the growing, urgent threats to Muslim and other refugee communities. These threats include:

  • increased law enforcement harassment and requests for meetings with the FBI and DHS;

  • prolonged detention for asylum seekers;

  • difficulty with what were formerly simple adjustments to immigration status;

  • criminal charges with immigration consequences; and

  • increased need for Know Your Rights information.

The Staff Attorney will report directly to the Executive Director.


  • Foster relationships with local, state, and national organizations providing legal defense and support to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.

  • Conduct thorough intake interviews, triage legal response, and conduct necessary follow-up with community members with legal needs.

  • Prepare public records requests and conduct related public records litigation.

  • Work with state and national partners to develop and advance impact litigation strategies.

  • Build relationships with local and national law firms, recruit pro bono attorneys for direct services and impact litigation, develop legal materials and a pro bono training program, and provide ongoing technical assistance to attorney representing PANA community members.

  • Develop Know Your Rights legal materials and conduct trainings for community members and local nonprofit partners.

  • Participate in advancing county, state, and national policies focused on protecting California’s growing refugee and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA/MASA) communities.

  • Support the policy and organizing teams with legal research and analysis of state and federal laws and treaties.

  • Create evaluation tools to measure and reflect on the success of the legal program.

Qualifications and Skills Required

  • J.D. and California bar admission.

  • A minimum of two years of experience providing direct legal services and/or working on impact or other complex civil litigation.

  • Experience with the intersection of immigration and criminal law a plus.

  • Experience analyzing legislation and policy a plus.

  • Demonstrated commitment to refugee and immigrant communities.

  • Ability to coordinate and advance strategies within a coalition.

  • Ability to juggle multiple priorities and work effectively with a team in a rapidly moving environment.

  • Extremely organized with close attention to detail and accuracy.

  • Ability to speak Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Kurdish, Vietnamese, or Somali strongly preferred.


Competitive salary commensurate with experience and excellent benefits.

To Apply

Applicants should email a resume, writing sample, and cover letter to No phone calls.