Center for Human Rights - Staff Attorney 2/Chief Counsel - Latin America and Caribbean

Washington, DC, USA Req #644
Wednesday, April 14, 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 an experienced staff attorney to join its Justice Defenders Program. Candidates with substantial experience working on issues pertaining to human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) 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 Staff Attorney for LAC will report directly to the Director of the Justice Defenders Program. 

Responsibilities shall include:

1)         Outreach and Maintenance of LAC Human Rights Defender Network: The Staff Attorney 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. 

2)         Case Management: The Staff Attorney 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 on cases in LAC that meet the criteria of the Justice Defenders Program.

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

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

5)         Programmatic Support Activities:  The Staff Attorney 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 LAC portfolio, as required and in coordination with programmatic support staff.

6)         Other duties as assigned: The Staff Attorney 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 Staff Attorneys are expected to travel up to 25% of the time.  Staff Attorneys shall be expected to begin immediately, and no later than one (1) month after notification of their successful application.

3)         Qualifications

Required qualifications:

a)         JD or PhD and active bar admission in at least one jurisdiction.

b)         At least four years working in relevant specialized area of law.

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

d)         Substantial experience in policy analysis.

Preferred qualifications:

a)         Experience working with USG funded programs.

b)         Experience or knowledge of legal reform issues related to human rights defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

c)         Fluency in English and Spanish. Fluency in additional U.N. languages helpful.

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

e)         Grant writing experience

f)         Experience in advocacy on behalf of human rights defenders with foreign ministries, corporations, and multilateral institutions

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

4)         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