Attorneys with 7 years post-bar experience wanted urgently for Immigration Judges

Attorneys with 7 years post-bar experience wanted urgently for Immigration Judges

Kathryn Troutman, President, The Resume Place, Inc.,
May 17, 2018

The Justice Department is looking for a few good immigration judges. Actually, 150 of them are needed ASAP, to cut into a backlog of immigration cases that has passed the 1 million mark when you count both active cases and inactive ones that are still pending.

The great news for lawyers interested in these important, well-paying positions: The Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review [EIOR] is so desperate to fill these vacancies that it is not requiring otherwise qualified attorneys to have experience in immigration law (listen to the C-Span Interview, James McHenry states that past immigration experience is NOT required).

The Director James McHenry was on a C-Span interview recently talking about the hiring changes and requirements for the Immigration Judge positions.

Current Immigration Judge Announcement closes May 21, 2018. But there will be others posted to hire more Immigration Judges.

IMMIGRATION JUDGE HIRING IS FASTER NOW

To speed the onboarding of new immigration judges, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a streamlined hiring process in April 2017. The time it takes to hire an immigration judge has been cut in half, though it still takes up to a year, says James McHenry, director of the EIOR. The office has hired 56 immigration judges in the past 18 months and plans to bring on 40 or 50 more this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. A further 100 immigration judgeships have already been authorized by Congress.

WHAT DO IMMIGRATION JUDGES DO?

Immigration Judges preside in formal, quasi-judicial hearings. Proceedings before Immigration Judges include but are not limited to deportation, exclusion, removal, rescission, and bond. Immigration Judges make decisions which are final unless formally appealed. In connection with these proceedings, Immigration Judges exercise certain discretionary powers as provided by law, and are required to exercise independent judgment in reaching final decisions. Immigration Judges may be required to conduct hearings in penal institutions and other remote locations.

IMMIGRATION JUDGE SALARIES

Immigration judges are high-paid federal employees, earning $132,606 to $174,500 per year, and they enjoy the full range of federal employment benefits.
Many vacancies for immigration judge are near coasts or land borders, but many others are elsewhere in the United States. Recent openings were in Seattle, Fort Worth, Las Vegas and New Jersey, among other locations. Some judgeships come with considerable travel, to conduct hearings at facilities where immigrants are detained, for example.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB?

“Applicants must have a full seven (7) years of post-bar experience as a licensed attorney preparing for, participating in, and/or appealing formal hearings or trials involving litigation and/or administrative law at the Federal, State or local level. Qualifying litigation experience involves cases in which a complaint was filed with a court, or a charging document (e.g., indictment or information) was issued by a court, a grand jury, or appropriate military authority. Qualifying administrative law experience involves cases in which a formal procedure was initiated by a governmental administrative body.”

An applicant for immigration judge must have a law degree and be a licensed member of the bar with seven years of legal experience.

You will write six quality ranking factor narratives

Among other requirements, a candidate must submit a legal writing sample and narratives addressing the six quality ranking factors (QRFs):

  • Demonstrated appropriate temperament to serve as a judge
  • Knowledge of immigration laws and procedures, if any (if you do not have immigration experience, write about other knowledge of laws and procedures)
  • Substantial litigation experience, preferably high volume
  • Experience handling complex legal issues
  • Experience conducting administrative hearings
  • Knowledge of judicial practices and procedures

Applicants are required to address each of the 6 QRFs in narrative form, to the best of the applicant’s ability. The QRFs must be addressed on a separate document which indicates the number of the specific QRF you are addressing. Applicants should be thorough in addressing the QRFs. For example, when addressing QRF #3 (substantial litigation experience) address the approximate number of cases handled in a given period of time, the applicant’s specific role (first chair, co-counsel, responsible for the written brief only, etc.), and the length of time involved in a given role (lead counsel in 20 jury trials In 10 years).

Applicants should also include specific examples of the types of cases, the number of court appearances made in those cases, and the case dispositions (plea, settlement, bench trial, Jury trial, etc.) Conclusory statements (such as “the applicant has been involved in a substantial amount of litigation”) will receive little or no weight in the evaluation of the QRFs.

FEDERAL RESUME FOR IMMIGRATION JUDGE APPLICATIONS

The average federal resume length for a government attorney resume is 4 pages. The average length of a private sector resume for an attorney is 2 pages. The federal resume requires more content, descriptions – as you can see from above.


GET THE ALJ WRITING GUIDE TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR IJ FEDERAL RESUME AND 6 NARRATIVES:

You can see samples of attorney federal resumes in the ALJ Writing Guide. You can also see the definitions of the ALj Competencies (which would be similar to IJ Competencies).

The book also includes two narrative statement samples for Administrative Law and Litigation. These could be style guides for your 6 narratives. There is a case list example in the book also.

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IMMIGRATION JUDGE APPLICATION EDITING SERVICES

We can provide professional editing and review of your resume and narratives. Please request a quote here.

Please request a quote here


HOW DO YOU APPLY TO BE AN IMMIGRATION JUDGE?

On the face of it, applying for an immigration judge vacancy is fairly straightforward: Look for the Immigration Judge vacancy announcement on USAJOBS.gov and follow the step-by-step instructions. But the required format for the federal resume is long and demanding, and requires much attention to detail. (GET THE BOOK)

After you submit a complete application, you will receive an email from Executive Office for Immigration Review in Falls Church, VA about whether you are found Qualified, Best Qualified or Referred to a supervisor. Then there are several reviews within the Justice Department, and interviews before some candidates are designated best qualified. As we said in the beginning, the entire process will take one year.

TWO MONTHS OF TRAINING

New hires receive two months of training before they take the bench, on topics ranging from docket management to the substance of immigration law. An immigration judgeship is a great opportunity to ply your legal skills in public service. And right now is a great time to apply!

THE IMMIGRATION JUDGE ANNOUNCEMENT – THIS ONE CLOSES 5/21. But there will be more of these in the near future! Get ready for the next round! LOTS of hiring of Immigration Judges.


Attorney Federal Resume Samples, Legal Competency Definitions, Case List, Samples of Narratives.

ALJ Writing Guide (also works for IJ and other attorney federal resume applications.

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Kathryn’s YouTube Playlist for Federal Resume Writing