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Public Defender (Operation Lone Star Project - Misdemeanor)

Public Defender | Operation Lone Star Project (Misdemeanor)

Eagle Pass - Edinburg - Del Rio - Floresville - Mercedes - Rio Grande City - San Antonio - Weslaco - Hybrid/Remote Possible

($58,000 - $80,000)

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) seeks full-time public defender attorneys to provide zealous legal representation to clients charged under Operation Lone Star with misdemeanors. Operation Lone Star is a state initiative that attempts to militarize the border, criminalize seeking asylum, and create a separate and unequal criminal justice system targeting migrants. Attorneys within the Operation Lone Star Project will work with the Operation Lone Star Team under the supervision of the Project Manager to provide clients with high-quality representation from intake to resolution, including advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. 

Attorney benefits include law school loan repayment assistance, paid vacation, healthcare insurance, retirement plan, and training & travel stipends. Our defenders train with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense, and other defender-minded associations. We offer the advantage of having robust staff support with a 2-1 attorney-to-support staff ratio, and the flexibility and willingness to support employee growth.  


Preferred applicants will demonstrate a strong interest and dedication to defending migrants ensnared in the Operation Lone Star criminal justice system, including a commitment to providing fierce advocacy. Preferred applicants will also have demonstrated a commitment to immigrants’ rights and social justice and have experience working with diverse populations including non-English-speaking immigrant communities. All applicants should possess the ability to work independently and cooperatively, stay calm in a crisis, and flexibility to respond to urgent client needs in an evolving legal environment. OLS misdemeanor attorneys may be licensed in any state and can do much of the work remotely.  


All attorneys will work with clients arrested under Operation Lone Star collaboratively with other team members and under the supervision of the Project Manager. The attorneys’ duties will include, but not be limited to, the following: 

  • Defend individuals charged with misdemeanor cases under Operation Lone Star;  

  • Review, assess and analyze discovery, and draft correspondent legal memoranda;  

  • Provide individual client communication and know-your-right presentations to migrants charged under Operation Lone Star; 

  • Conduct legal research and draft pleadings and briefs; 

  • Collaborate with Asylum Defense Project on immigration-related issues impacting Operation Lone Star clients to mitigate adverse immigration consequences; 

  • Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records; and 

  • Manage cases from intake to final resolution, including pretrial, trial, appeals, and additional motion practice, as it arises.  



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

  • One year of criminal litigation experience or comparable academic or clinical experience in criminal law; 

  • Courtroom experience, including contested hearings and trials preferred; 

  • Appellate or legal writing experience related to contested matters at the trial level preferred;  

  • Proficiency in Office365 and legal research software;  

  • Professional fluency in Spanish (highly preferred); and 

  • Located in or willing to relocate to Eagle Pass - Edinburg - Del Rio - Floresville - Mercedes - Rio Grande City - San Antonio - Weslaco - (may start remotely). 


Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package including law school loan repayment. TRLA will provide reimbursement for the bar application fee and bar preparation course to new employees who have not yet taken the bar exam.  

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

This position requires, consistent with TRLA’s policy and subject to applicable law, a candidate to provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination prior to commencing employment.

To Apply: 

Complete online application.  You will need to upload a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and a list of professional references.





Submission Deadline: 
August 10, 2023
Organization Information: 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)
301 S. Texas Avenue
Mercedes, TX 78750
United States
Phone: 956-447-4800