Center for Human Rights - Fellow

Washington, DC, USA Req #617
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

During this current situation with COVID-19, the ABA will continue to accept and process applications for job opportunities.  We will conduct our recruitment process via alternative means (virtual interviews) for the time being.

The ABA recruits employees seeking opportunities for challenging and substantive work defending liberty and pursuing justice in the U.S. and around the world.  The ABA offers competitive employment benefits which include medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k), commuter benefits, and more.

The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights (ABA CHR) accepts applications from law students and recent graduates with secured funding for 50% or more of their salary from a law school, foundation, law firm, or other funding opportunity who are seeking a fellowship host for a postgraduate public interest fellowship.

ABA CHR seeks to host a one-year legal fellowship to support its Justice Defenders Program. Candidates with substantial experience working on issues pertaining to human rights who have already secured outside funding for 50% or more of their salary are encouraged to apply.

1)          Background

The Justice Defenders Program provides pro bono legal assistance to human rights advocates working in difficult environments and vulnerable circumstances by:

             Advising on, and raising public awareness of, sensitive trials and cases;

             Connecting pro bono lawyers with requisite expertise with local lawyers to provide advice on international law standards, share best practices, and assist in developing advocacy and litigation strategies; and

             Observing trials that have garnered local, regional, or international attention and/or have the potential of changing the law, for better or worse, within the country, and providing analysis of those trials.

The Justice Defenders Program’s global reach enables it to help human rights defenders in virtually any country.  The Program is sensitive to varied political and factual circumstances and its assistance is tailored to realities “on the ground.”  With experienced staff and a dynamic network of pro bono lawyers at the ready, the Program can respond rapidly to acute crises or take on long-term projects as needed.

2)            Job Description

The Fellow will report directly to the Senior Program Manager of the Justice Defenders Program. 

Responsibilities shall include:

1)            Undertaking substantive legal work for the Justice Defenders Program and providing substantive support and expertise to Staff Attorneys, working in a collaborative environment with ABA members, ABA staff, and other Fellows.

2)            Case Management: The Fellow will assist regional staff attorney leads in vetting potential cases, conducting preliminary assessments of legal issues, and coordinating the provision of pro bono legal assistance to at-risk human rights defenders.

3)            Research and Writing: The Fellow will conduct legal and other research and write memoranda, reports, articles and/or technical analyses, including for publication.  The Fellow will analyze laws, regulations, policies, and court rules and provide substantive advice and information on potential cases.

4)            Other duties as assigned:  The Fellow will support regional staff attorneys in a range of duties relating to case strategy, management, advocacy and other matters regarding the execution of case work.

5)            Advancing a technical or process innovation aimed at improving the provision of legal services internationally.

6)            Contributing to the advancement of the Center's goals.

7)            Helping to brainstorm and advance assigned project(s).

8)            Proposing individual projects or cases and developing legal and advocacy strategies to pursue identified projects and cases in collaboration with regional staff attorney leads

Fellows shall be expected to begin no later than September 2021. This is a one-year fellowship position.

3)            Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

             Possession of a Juris Doctorate from an ABA-accredited law school by start date of fellowship.

Preferred qualifications:

             A track record of innovative approaches to the provision of legal services in the United States and internationally, and basic knowledge of legal tech.

             Must have practiced law less than five years.

             0 – 3 years legal experience

             Outstanding legal writing and research skills.

             Excellent organizational, communication, and analytical skills

             Ability to exercise independent judgement

             Strong interpersonal skills in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity. 

             Foreign language fluency in Arabic, French, Spanish, or Russian preferred. 

             Active bar admission is not required for this fellowship, although it is preferred that the fellow have or be in the process of obtaining an active bar admission in at least one jurisdiction.

4)            Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

Successful candidate must have a JD. Active bar admission is not required for this fellowship, although it is preferred that the fellow have or be in the process of obtaining an active bar admission in at least one jurisdiction.

5)            Physical Requirements

Typical office work environment

6)            Extent of Travel Required in the Job

Currently, staff are not travelling due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, once travel is authorized, as a normal course of business, this job will typically require travel less than 5% of the time.

7)            Compensation

Applicants must have secured funding for at least 50% of their salary from a law school, foundation, or law firm and must indicate funding source in application materials. ABA CHR will cover up to 50% of salary and all fringe expenses.

The American Bar Association is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.
Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with the American Bar Association please call 312-988-5188.

Residency requirements may apply.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Hiring Rate $40,000.00
  • Washington, DC, USA