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Legal Internship Opportunity at CILA

About CILA

The Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA) is an expert legal resource centre created by the American Bar Association (ABA). CILA’s mission is to empower champions for unaccompanied children, and advocates who guide children through complex legal procedures, to do so with courage, competency, compassion, and creativity. CILA builds capacity for those working to advance the rights of children seeking protection through training, technical assistance, resource development, and collaboration.

CILA is a project of the American Bar Association’s Commission for Immigration (COI), which is part of the Center for Public Interest Law, a group within the ABA. CILA is closely aligned with its sister projects within the COI, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) and the Immigration Justice Project (IJP).

About Internship

The Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA), a project of the American Bar Association (ABA), seeks a hardworking legal intern ready to learn more about children’s immigration law to join the team this summer.

The internship is a 10-week, full-time internship. CILA’s office is located in the Heights neighbourhood of Houston, Texas. The internship will be hybrid/in-person—with some of the working weeks in the office and other times working remotely.

The training program that will train the legal intern to:

  • Understand the sources of immigration law and policy including working with unaccompanied children, removal proceedings, asylum, and special immigrant juvenile status;
  • Enhance both oral and written presentation skills;
  • Learn practical trial skills for immigration court;
  • Learn practical lawyering skills including research, assessing legal options, and counselling clients; and
  • Connect with the immigration legal community in Houston and across Texas.

Qualifications

  • Applicants should have an interest in immigration law and/or working on behalf of children.
  • Applicants should have strong research and writing skills.
  • The Spanish language is not required.
  • CILA encourages and supports students who are seeking fellowships or course credit during their internship. 

Projects and Opportunities

  • Legal Research and Writing (50%): The legal intern would spend about half of their time assisting staff attorneys with research requests that come in from advocates working with immigrant children. Additionally, the legal intern will be responsible for one to two independent research projects to be completed over the course of the summer under the supervision of a CILA attorney. The completed project(s) will be used to create original resources for advocates and shared on CILA’s website and in CILA’s newsletter.
  • Collaboration with Advocates (20%): The legal intern will have the opportunity to participate in two to four working groups, depending on their scheduled time with CILA.
  • Training (20%): The legal intern will have the opportunity to participate in training designed to empower advocates to better meet the legal needs of unaccompanied children as scheduled over the summer. 
  • Systemic Advocacy (10%): Through its unique lens as a legal resource centre, CILA identifies systemic trends and legal barriers to permanency in the United States for children facing deportation. The legal intern will have the opportunity to conduct legal research and help collect and analyze data that CILA collects to identify these trends and share with community stakeholders including the ABA. 

Application Process

To apply, please send your resume, a writing sample, and a cover letter to: cila@abacila.org between February 1, 2023, and March 1, 2023. CILA will set up interviews on a rolling basis.

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