DC Center for Human Rights - Staff Attorney 2/Chief Counsel

  • Posted on 12 April 2019

Job Description

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 (ABA) Center for Human Rights is seeking an experienced Russian Speaking Staff Attorney to join the Eastern Europe and Eurasia division of the Justice Defenders Program. Candidates with substantial experience living and working in Eurasia are encouraged to apply. All applicants must have authorization to work in the United States. The ABA does not sponsor visas. Russian fluency is required, knowledge of other Eastern European languages is a plus.


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;
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.

Principal Duties/Job Responsibilities

Outreach and Maintenance of Eastern European and Eurasian Human Rights Defender Network: The staff attorney shall develop and maintain relationships with human rights advocates in your region.

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 and coordinate the provision of pro bono legal assistance.

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.

Counsel: The staff attorney shall serve as the resident expert(s) on matters related to their region (see list above) and shall be expected to remain up to date on pertinent developments in regional law, politics, and human rights.

Programmatic Support Activities: The staff attorney will be responsible for website maintenance, social media, contract drafting, reimbursements and other programmatic activities, as required.


Doctoral Degree (JD, PhD), or equivalent degree is required.

Basic Qualifications

JD and admission to the bar in at least one jurisdiction. At least 4 years working in relevant specialized area of law. High level of skills at legal writing and research, oral and written communications, and organizational skill. Substantial experience in policy analysis.

Preferred Qualifications

The successful candidate(s) will have: a minimum of one (1) year of legal experience gained in a foreign country and/or a minimum of one (1) year of criminal litigation experience; excellent communication, analytical, and writing skills; strong interpersonal skills in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity. Russian fluency is preferred, knowledge of additional Eastern European languages is plus. In addition, candidates with grant writing and management experience and/or experience in communications are highly encouraged to apply.

To apply, please apply here: https://usr55.dayforcehcm.com/CandidatePortal/en-US/aba/Posting/View/331

Due to the high volume of applications received, we are only able to follow up with candidates who are selected for interviews. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and this position may be filled prior to the close date

About the Organization

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.

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