News & Updates

We’re hiring! Resource Attorney with WDA’s Immigration Project
May 28, 2021 | Scott Shoemaker

POSITION OPENING: Resource Attorney with WDA’s Immigration Project 

Who We Are 

The Washington Defender Association (WDA) is the statewide support infrastructure for our state’s public defense community. We serve over 1600+ members who are public defenders, investigators and other legal workers representing people facing the consequences of criminal legal system involvement. We are a small but mighty team guided by the belief that everyone belongs in the circle of human concern. We are dedicated to dismantling the barriers to belonging that burden all who are entangled in Washington State’s criminal legal system and disproportionately fall upon Black, Indigenous and People of Color and other marginalized groups, such as noncitizens, differently-abled people, and those with behavioral health challenges, substance use disorder and neurodivergence. 

We aspire to leverage the opportunities presented by these disruptive times to participate in movement(s) for durable transformational change within ourselves, our organization, our communities and the criminal and civil legal systems within which we live and work.  Our stated core values reflect our goals towards becoming an organization that meaningfully and tangibly integrates an anti-racist, anti-oppression framework into all aspects of our work. And like many nonprofits embedded in our racist, oppressive legal systems, we contend daily with the realities, inside and out, that impede our progress. Despite the long, steep climb ahead we remain dedicated to building a collaborative, learning-based culture of resilience, inclusion, transparency and accountability.  

Our Work 

 Established in 1999, WDA’s Immigration Project provides case assistance expertise, training and other resources to support public defenders in fulfilling their constitutional duties to avoid or mitigate the disproportionate immigration consequences to noncitizen clients. Our “crimmigration” team collaborates with community partners to dismantle racist, inequitable laws and policies at the intersection of the criminal and immigration legal systems. We collaborate with communities, organizational partners and other legal system stakeholders to advocate for systemic legislative and policy change. 

 Who You Are 

   We seek a person with these qualities and skills:   

  • Minimum of three years immigration law experience representing clients in removal defense and a commitment to develop criminal legal and public defense expertise. 
  • Willingness to bring your lived-experience to help further our efforts, inside and outside WDA, to become anti-racist and dismantle our oppressive practices and systems; Resilient, generous, sense of humor and a learning-oriented mind and heart with effective communication skills; thrives in a teamwork environment.
  • Demonstrated dedication to social justice, race equity and community engagement and a strong desire to become a leader in the crimmigration advocacy movement.  
  • Capacity to be self-directed and organized; take leadership on priority issues; engage in creative, strategic thinking and collaborative partnership to further WDA & Immigration Project goals.   
  • Member in good standing of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) or another a state bar association.  Membership in the WSBA is required within one year if currently licensed elsewhere.  

The Job 

WDA staff currently work remotely. No in-person training or travel will be required until COVID restrictions are fully lifted. Post-COVID residency in Washington State required; relocation to Seattle (where WDA’s office is located) negotiable.  

The Responsibilities of WDA’s Immigration Project Resource Attorney include: 

  • Defender Engagement: Cultivate and evolve relationships with public defenders and defender offices throughout Washington that: 
  • Ensure defender practices to provide effective assistance to achieve outcomes that avoid or mitigate immigration consequences.  
  • Identify emergent issues and collaborative response strategies; and  
  • Build capacity to leverage defender engagement toward local, state (and national) systemic changes in the criminal and immigration legal systems.   
  • Immigration Case Consultations: Deliver high quality, timely case-specific support in response to a high volume of assistance requests from defenders. 
  • Training: Provide webinar and in-person training to defenders, community partners and other criminal legal system stakeholders. 
  • Resources: Develop practice advisories and other tools addressing immigration consequences of criminal convictions and criminal legal system involvement. 
  • Systems Advocacy: Engage with community partners and stakeholders to advance systems change advocacy on state and local issues regarding noncitizens who become involved in criminal legal systems; identify opportunities to integrate community partners into WDA advocacy efforts.  
  • Race Equity Work And Other Organizational Evolution Efforts: Participate in WDA’s internal and external work to actualize our commitments to JustLead Washington’s Race Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) framework and other projects focused on our growth and development.  


SALARY RANGE: $66,000 – $80,000    BENEFITS: Excellent health insurance coverage, FSA program for medical, child care and transportation, SIMPLE IRA plan, and generous vacation policy. 

 WDA is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment. We do not discriminate based upon race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, social class, indigenous group membership, age, disability, status as a protected veteran, or other applicable characteristics.