• Deputy Legal Director, Immigrant Justice Project

    Job Locations US-GA-Atlanta
    Req No.
    Regular Full-Time
  • Overview


    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the preeminent organizations in the United States dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. 

    For more than four decades, SPLC has won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms — toppling remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroying violent white supremacist groups; shattering barriers to equality for people of color, women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled; protecting migrant workers from abuse; ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners; reforming juvenile justice practices; and more. To achieve its goals, SPLC employs a variety of strategies, including litigation, legislative and media advocacy, research, and community education and mobilization. 

    SPLC’s legal department focuses on impact litigation and advocacy campaigns in five practice areas: Immigrant Justice, Children’s Rights, Economic Justice, LGBT Rights/Special Litigation, and Criminal Justice Reform. 

    In addition to its legal work, SPLC, through its Teaching Tolerance project, combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom; monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists and exposes their activities to the public, the media, and law enforcement; and operates the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, AL. 

    With its main office in Montgomery and additional offices in Atlanta, New Orleans, Jackson (MS), Miami, and Tallahassee, SPLC has almost 300 staff and a $70 million operating budget.

    SPLC currently seeks a Deputy Legal Director for its Immigrant Justice Project. 



    SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP) fights for the rights of immigrants to be free from abuse, discrimination, and exploitation and against the criminalization and mass deportation of immigrants and their families. Our geographic focus is on the Deep South states, but we aim to have a national impact. 

    In response to the latest attacks on immigrants by the current administration, we launched a new project at four immigrant detention centers in the Deep South -- the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI). The SIFI project has on-the-ground teams that train and support pro bono attorneys to represent detainees in immigration court proceedings. Our goal is to transform the deportation process from lawless assembly-line injustice to a fair consideration of each person’s case on the merits.  

    Our work on the ground in the immigration courts and detention centers are revealing systemic abuses, and we’re ramping up to file impact litigation against those abuses. We’re also fighting against federal and local law enforcement abuse of immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants, including racial profiling and Fourth Amendment violations. 

    Other current IJP work includes a project to enforce the mandate of the Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe guaranteeing the right to a free public education to immigrant children (including those who are undocumented) and a campaign to protect poultry workers across the Deep South from workplace abuses. For a docket of our current and past IJP cases, please visit our website here. 

    The IJP team is comprised of approximately 35 full-time staff, including attorneys, outreach paralegals, and administrative staff. The project is based in Decatur, Georgia (just outside of Atlanta), with team members also located in New Orleans and Miami. 


    The Deputy Legal Director is responsible for the overall vision, strategic planning, leadership, and management of the IJP practice area. This includes developing and overseeing litigation and policy campaigns and managing the case docket; creating and launching new initiatives; managing the IJP team to achieve litigation and advocacy campaign goals; reporting on progress toward goals to SPLC’s Legal Director and staff; anticipating and acting on opportunities for growth in SPLC’s IJP work; and modeling SPLC’s values of an inclusive and respectful workplace and encouraging the same from staff. 

    The Deputy Legal Director reports to the Legal Director. This is a full-time position requiring substantial work hours and frequent travel. The DLD is a member of the legal department’s Legal Leadership Team and also works closely with the directors and staff of SPLC’s other departments. 

    The position is based in Decatur, Georgia.


    The Deputy Legal Director will have responsibility for the following: 

    • In partnership with the Legal Director and others on the IJP team, create the vision, develop strategies, set priorities, and oversee the implementation of SPLC’s Immigrant Justice work.
    • Create annual departmental work plans, set annual goals, and track and monitor performance of staff towards achieving goals.
    • Develop and maintain a leadership role within SPLC, including regular collaboration with colleagues within the legal department and in other SPLC departments to achieve mutual goals and to further communication and cooperation.
    • Develop and nurture partnerships with external stakeholders, including community members, other immigrant justice organizations, legislators, policymakers and others.
    • Serve as spokesperson for SPLC in national and local public forums and meetings.



    The Deputy Legal Director should have the following experience and qualifications: 

    • Minimum of ten years of experience working on immigrant justice cases and campaigns that have used an array of strategies to achieve concrete, measurable results.
    • Substantial experience developing, leading, and executing multi-faceted advocacy campaigns.
    • A law degree and substantial federal civil litigation experience.
    • Experience with federal immigration policy advocacy.
    • Familiarity with immigration law, the immigration bar, the national network of immigrants’ rights advocates, and the Department of Homeland Security and its component parts.
    • A passionate commitment to immigrant justice and to the SPLC’s overall goals, mission, and values.
    • Proven ability to engage effectively in strategic planning and to set priorities, goals, and develop work plans.
    • Ability to think broadly and conceptually.
    • Minimum of seven years of management experience, with a successful track record as a unifying team builder with a collegial, collaborative management style and a demonstrated commitment to the value and power of teams.
    • A strong track record as a successful relationship builder who is able to work effectively and diplomatically with colleagues and external partners.
    • Ability to prioritize responsibilities in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment.
    • Creativity, vision and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies.
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and a strong public presence.
    • Foreign language fluency preferred but not required.

    To learn more about the Southern Poverty Law Center, please visit: 




    This job is performed under general office conditions, and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.   Along with a resume, please submit a writing sample of up to 10 pages, a cover letter, and three references.




    The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.




    Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.


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