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The Immigration Legal Fellowship is a California state funded legal fellowship program. The Fellowship aims to develop the organizational capacity of legal service providers and increase the number of qualified immigration attorneys able to provide legal services in underserved areas of the state such as Central Valley (greater Fresno area), Central Coast (Watsonville/Salinas), and Inland Empire (Riverside/San Bernardino.)

The Position

California ChangeLawyers is partnering with the California Department of Social Services, immigrant rights organizations, including Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and CHIRLA, to provide three-year fellowships to up to 9 attorneys or law graduates committed to providing immigration legal services in underserved regions of the state. There will be a strong preference for candidates pursuing legal careers in those regions beyond the term of the Fellowship.

Immigration Legal Fellows will receive intensive legal training on immigration law, particularly removal defense representation, and immigrant rights as well as hands-on experience representing clients before federal agencies and the immigration court.

Fellows will be placed in host organizations in underserved regions of the State to be determined. Each host organization will act as the Employer of Record for the Fellows for the duration of the Fellowship. Each Fellow will be assigned a Mentor Attorney who will provide guidance, technical assistance, and mentorship through the three-year fellowship. Fellows will be treated as a cohort and have access to leadership development and networking opportunities provided by California ChangeLawyers as well as ongoing legal training with the ILRC.

Fellowship Duties will include:

  •  Participate in all orientation and training sessions provided to the cohort.
  • Directly shadow experienced attorneys working on immigration cases, participate in Know Your Rights orientation sessions at immigration detention centers, and provide pro se assistance to detained individuals.
  • With the assistance of Mentor Attorneys during initial training, work on a variety of immigration cases, including preparing applications, declarations, and supporting evidence as well as providing co-representation in immigration interviews, bond hearings, and removal hearings.
  • Provide representation for individuals in a variety of immigration matters, including: preparing applications, declarations, and supporting evidence as well as providing representation in immigration interviews, bond hearings, and removal hearings under the guidance of the Mentor Attorney.
  • Participate in on-going legal training and capacity building opportunities as well as regular case rounds sessions with the entire Fellowship cohort.
  • Actively participate in ChangeLawyers’ leadership development activities including annual Fellows Convening and monthly webinars.


  • Law school graduate including those planning to take July 2023 California bar exam.
  • California or other state bar license preferred but not required.
  • Record of experience or demonstrated commitment to serving immigrant communities.
  • Prior experience working in an immigration legal service organization preferred but not required.
  • Strong ties to California’s Central Coast, Central Valley, or Inland Empire regions, with a preference for those pursuing long-term careers in those regions.
  • Willing to live and work in the Central Coast, Central Valley, or Inland Empire regions. Fellows must be open to working in any of the host organizations’ locations.
  • Willingness and flexibility to be as responsive to community needs as needed.
  • Able to travel for training and for legal representation.
  • Must be fluent in Spanish or another language widely spoken in the target regions (such as Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer, Mixteco, Pashto, Punjabi, Vietnamese, Urdu, or other).
  • Strong writing skills and attention-to-detail.
  • Diverse candidates from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession are strongly encouraged to apply.

Position Details, Salary & Benefits

This is a three-year fellowship that will start in September 2023 through August 2026. Fellowship salary range is $72,000 annually. Medical benefits and professional fees included.

Application Instructions

To apply, please apply via Submittable application portal below.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 29, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.