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Managing Attorney (Operation Lone Star Project)


Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) seeks attorneys with demonstrated commitment to rural, indigent defense and exceptional advocacy skills to serve and manage others in rural, southwest Texas. TRLA intends to increase its presence along the Texas-Mexico border by providing defense to those charged with a crime in Maverick, Dimmit and Zavala Counties as a result of Operation Lone Star (OLS). OLS is a state initiative that attempts to militarize the border, criminalize those seeking asylum, and create a separate and unequal criminal justice system targeting migrants and refugees.   

TRLA contracts with many rural Texas counties to provide public defenders in cooperation with the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.  TRLA’s Defenders are frontline advocates who have engaged in the movement to transform the criminal justice system and challenge the injustices faced by indigent defendants in rural south Texas for decades.  OLS has brought on a whole new set of challenges and injustices, and TRLA needs those interested in stepping up.  TRLA expects its public defenders to provide complete, vertical representation from intake to resolution, initial arrest to final appeal.    

TRLA delivers client-centered legal services to address the unique needs and limited resources available to clients residing in rural and border communities.  Special initiatives within TRLA’s Public Defender division include advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, trauma-informed and mental health advocacy, assistance with applying for government aid and/or housing, and assistance with substance abuse as alternative solutions to incarceration.  With caseload controls, staff investigators, mental health and substance abuse caseworkers, and a litigation budget, TRLA is deeply committed to zealous, high-quality representation for its clients.  

Beyond salary, benefits include law school loan repayment assistance, generous paid leave, healthcare insurance, retirement plan, and training & travel stipends. TRLA defenders train with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense, and other associations that are committed to the transformation of indigent defense and criminal justice reform.  

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Assist in the management of attorneys and support staff;   

  • Provide mentorship to newly licensed attorneys;  

  • Serve as lead counsel of record in cases charged under OLS; and 

  • Help manage OLS cases from intake to final resolution, including pretrial, trial, appeals, and additional motion practice.  



  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam; 

  • At least three years of criminal litigation experience as a licensed attorney; 

  • Experience with appeals; 

  • Proficiency in Office and legal research software; and 

  • Professional fluency in Spanish (highly preferred). 

  • Must reside in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Preferred applicants will demonstrate an interest in providing justice to those who need it most; have worked in a public defender office; have strong academic credentials; and want to live and work in communities where our clients have the greatest needs.   TRLA is also looking for attorneys that aspire to become leaders both within our division and in the larger public defender community.    

TRLA, a poverty law firm with a national reputation for effective advocacy, is one of the largest legal services programs in the nation, employing over 200 attorneys across a 68-county service area in Southwest Texas.   

TRLA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to an equitable workplace.   

To Apply: 

Complete online application.


Submission Deadline: 
November 13, 2023
Organization Information: 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)
301 Texas Avenue
Mercedes, TX 78750
United States
Phone: 956-447-4800