DC Center for Human Rights at American Bar Association

The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is seeking a staff attorney to join its Justice Defenders Program. Candidates with substantial experience working on issues pertaining to human rights in the Middle East and North Africa 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 will report directly to the Senior Program Manager of the Justice Defenders Program.

Responsibilities shall include:

1) Case Management: The staff attorney shall assist regional staff attorneys leads in vetting potential cases, conduct preliminary assessments of legal issues, support regional staff attorneys in the observation of trials and the coordination of the provision of pro bono legal assistance.

2) Research and Writing: The staff attorney will provide support to regional staff attorneys by conducting legal and other research and writing memoranda, and articles, including for publication. The staff attorney shall analyze laws, regulations, policies, and court rules and provide substantive advice and information to the regional staff attorneys to whom they report.

3) Other duties as assigned: The staff attorney 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.

3) Qualifications

The successful candidate(s) must have:

JD and bar admission in at least one jurisdiction; 0-3 years legal experience; Outstanding communication skills; excellent organization skills and ability to exercise independent judgment. May occasionally conduct attorney trainings and/or plan/host conferences

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience in Middle East and North Africa region;

4) Travel: 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.

How to apply

Interested applicants please submit your application per above using the URL below:


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