Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The Center for Reproductive Rights: The Center for Reproductive Rights Seeks Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy:
The Center for Reproductive Rights (the “Center”), a global human rights organization founded in 1992 with expertise in constitutional and international law, seeks a Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy of the U.S. Legal Program to be based in its New York City headquarters. This new position will lead the Center’s aggressive campaign to restore robust constitutional and legal protection for reproductive rights throughout the U.S.
The Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy will join the team of an innovative and cutting-edge organization committed to promoting the equality, reproductive health, and self-determination of women throughout the world. National-level courts, regional human rights courts, and United Nations bodies have increasingly recognized that a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy and reproductive healthcare are basic human rights that must be protected. The Center for Reproductive Rights has played a key role in these groundbreaking victories and works with attorneys and advocates in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Center’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy has transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies, and its undivided focus on reproductive rights has given it unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international and comparative human rights law to hold governments accountable for failing to ensure women’s access to critical reproductive healthcare services.
The Center is governed by a 20-person Board of Directors and employs more than 100 professionals from Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Kenya, Korea, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Slovakia, Sweden and the US. In addition to its headquarters in New York, the Center has offices in Washington, DC, Nairobi, Bogotá, Kathmandu, and Geneva.
In the U.S. Legal Program, the Center’s preeminent litigation team has helped millions of women and their families by striking down abortion bans and other access restrictions, securing government insurance coverage for abortions, and protecting teens’ access to emergency contraception and confidential reproductive healthcare services and information. During the past 21 years, Center attorneys have been counsel in virtually every major U.S. Supreme Court case about reproductive rights. The Center’s complementary legislative advocacy initiatives and strategies have helped local advocates fight restrictive abortion legislation in over 25 states as well as promote reproductive rights and access to health care for millions of women. Through human rights advocacy, the Center has been able to foster the integration and adoption of human rights principles in the domestic sphere while systematically norm-building and elevating local reproductive health issues within international treaty monitoring bodies and partner organizations. The Center’s Law School Initiative – launched in 2008 – promotes legal scholarship and teaching on reproductive health and human rights to shape the thinking of the next generation of lawyers, judges, and policymakers.
The Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy will be joining the Center at an exciting time for the institution and at a critical time for the nation. As opponents of women’s rights are mounting a scorched-earth campaign to turn back decades of hard-won progress, the Center is fighting back with short-, medium-, and long-term strategies, embodied in a new strategic plan launched in 2012, which includes a particular focus on reversing the erosion of reproductive rights protections across the U.S. and establishing the right to affordable reproductive healthcare in the U.S. A key component of the Center's strategic plan is to restore heightened protections for abortion rights, as promised to American women in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade (1973). The Center has recently received a grant that allows us to scale up for high impact this effort, which will be led by the Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy, who will report directly to the Director of the U.S. Legal Program.
Over the next four years, the Center will implement a focused campaign to influence court doctrine on access to abortion services. This campaign will include development of the theoretical foundation, empirical data, and powerful allies needed to move the jurisprudence. The Center's continued litigation in the courts will be strengthened by systematically building new allies and support among elite institutional players that influence the federal courts, including legal academics, the bar, the legal media, professional organizations, and think tanks, and by promoting a national narrative about these state attacks that gets away from the conversation about the merits of the individual laws the anti-choice forces are passing to a broader story about what is at stake for women both in the facts on the ground and the implications for their dignity and respect under the US Constitution. The Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy will manage this work, working closely with new and existing staff within the Center’s U.S. Legal Program and Communications Program. S/he will supervise a senior attorney, a legal fellow, and an assistant, as well as overseeing the work of a communications manager and other Center staff working to advance this work.
The Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy’s main responsibilities will include:
• Designing and advancing strategies for the organization’s work to influence court doctrine on access to abortion services and leading the effective implementation of those strategies
• Managing and engaging in all phases of this work, including the following:
- Leading the development of legal theories to change the jurisprudential landscape;
- Developing content for thought pieces supporting the Center's desired changes in legal doctrine;
- Overseeing factual research and studies to support shifts in the jurisprudence;
- Working collaboratively with the Litigation Director to identify new litigation providing opportunities for moving the jurisprudence;
- Creating the plan for identifying and engaging key influencers (including Supreme Court bar, key government actors, legal media, legal academics, think tanks, and professional organizations), overseeing its implementation, and engaging influencers;
- Fashioning amicus strategy to change the jurisprudential landscape and working with other Center staff and external allies to implement that strategy;
- Developing and implementing strategies to secure pro bono support for research and litigation.
• Leading, managing and mentoring staff engaged in activities advancing this work
• Serving as a key representative of the Center externally through public speaking, participation in conferences and coalition meetings, interaction with the media, and discussions with potential and current funders
• Drafting reports on the work’s implementation and impact for board and funders as needed
• Assuming additional duties as assigned
• JD degree
• Minimum of 10 years legal experience, including some litigation experience
• Creative and strategic thinker with good judgment and excellent legal analytical capabilities
• Successful experience in developing, implementing, and managing multi-faceted projects
• Excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing
• A high level of energy, self-confidence, initiative, and follow-through; ability to recognize and act on opportunities in a fast-paced environment and to work effectively under pressure
• Track record of effectively working in a team environment and in partnership with peers and peer organizations
• Principled, ethical, professional, and committed to exceptional work quality and standards
• Experience with reproductive rights issues and/or with constitutional issues is a strong plus; experience with other issues relating to human rights, civil rights or racial and social justice is a plus
• Strong commitment to the Center’s mission, purpose, and values
• Must be available for some travel
The Center offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits program.
Core Values and Employment
The Center for Reproductive Rights is committed to a set of core values in its culture and work environment and expects its staff to have the same commitment. These values are innovation, integrity, effectiveness, excellence, treating the Center's employees as its greatest asset, and building an inclusive and diverse workplace.
How to Apply
Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references (email preferred) to:firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate “Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy”, [your last name] and Code 193” in the subject line. The cover letter, resume, writing sample, and reference information should be sent as attachments. Please mention in your cover letter where you saw this opportunity.
Center for Reproductive Rights
Attn.: Special Counsel & Director of Judicial Strategy - Code 193
120 Wall Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10005