DC Center for Human Rights - Senior Program Manager

Washington, DC, USA Req #639
Wednesday, April 7, 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) is seeking a human rights attorney or professional with experience supervising staff attorneys to join its Justice Defenders Program as a Senior Program Manager (SPM). Candidates with substantial experience working on issues pertaining to labor and business and human rights 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 Senior Program Manager (SPM) for Labor will report directly to the Director of the Justice Defenders Program. 

Responsibilities shall include:

1)            Supervision: The SPM shall supervise program staff across the labor portfolio, including:

a.            Monitoring work plan implementation;

b.            Reviewing monthly and quarterly reports and other aspects of monitoring and evaluation related to the labor portfolio;

c.             Tracking the budget for the labor portfolio;

d.            Ensuring ABA CHR’s goals related to the labor portfolio are being advanced;

e.            Ensuring commitments to funders are being met;

f.             Monitoring compliance with grant award requirements and ABA policies and procedures.

2)            Donor Engagement: Meet with donors and other relevant stakeholders to assess ABA CHR’s standing, to address any issues they might have with the program, and to provide back-up to staff managing these relations.

3)            Grant Research and Writing: In coordination with the Director of the Center for Human Rights, explore and develop new programmatic and financial partnership. Raise funds from third party donors to continue and expand upon the activities related to labor, business, and human rights. Advise and/or participate in/lead development of proposals for potential funders.

4)            Outreach and Maintenance of Thematic Human Rights Defender Network: The SPM shall develop and maintain relationships with human rights advocates abroad working on cases related to labor and, funding permitting, additional business and human rights constituencies. 

5)            Case Management: The SPM shall vet potential cases, conduct preliminary assessments of legal issues, place the case with pro bono counsel, manage the observation of trials, provide strategic guidance on advocacy activities, and coordinate the provision of pro bono legal assistance in labor rights cases that meet the criteria of the Justice Defenders Program.

6)            Research and Writing: The SPM shall conduct legal and other research and write memoranda, speeches, and articles, including for publication.  The SPM shall analyze laws, regulations, policies, and court rules and provide substantive advice and information to the Director.

7)            Counsel: The SPM shall serve as the principal ABA expert on matters related to labor and business and human rights and shall be expected to remain up to date on pertinent developments in regional and international law, politics, and human rights. SPM shall be in contact with government entities and the media.

8)            Programmatic Support Activities:  The SPM will be responsible for website maintenance, social media, contract drafting and management of consultants, reimbursements, management of interns/externs, and other programmatic activities related to the labor portfolio, as required and in coordination with programmatic support staff.

9)            Other duties as assigned: The SPM will be responsible for a range of duties related to case strategy, management, advocacy, and other matters regarding execution of case work and program development.

Currently, staff are not travelling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel set by ABA policy; however, once travel is authorized, please note that SPMs are expected to travel up to 25% of the time.  SPMs shall be expected to begin immediately, and no later than one (1) month after notification of their successful application.

3)            Qualifications

Required qualifications:

a)            Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university and 7 years of experience, Master’s degree and 5 years of experience, or Doctoral degree (JD, PhD) and 4 years of experience.

b)            Experience working with USG funded programs.

c)            Experience or knowledge of legal reform issues related to labor, business, and human rights.

d)            Fluency in English and at least one additional U.N. language.

e)            Management experience.

Preferred qualifications:

a)            Excellent legal writing and research, analytical, oral and written communications, and organizational skills.

b)            Substantial experience in policy analysis.

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

d)            Grant writing experience

e)            Experience in advocacy on behalf of labor activists and labor rights issues with foreign ministries, corporations, and multilateral institutions

f)             Experience working with local counsel to develop strategies for litigation.

4)            Certificates, Licenses, and Registrations

Successful candidate must have Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university and 7 years of experience, Master’s degree and 5 years of experience, or Doctoral degree (JD, PhD) and 4 years of experience.

5)            Compensation

Compensation shall be commensurate with experience.

6)            Application

Applicants should submit a detailed cover letter, resume or CV, three references, and legal writing sample via the ABA Dayforce Career Portal here.

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
  • Washington, DC, USA