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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy, Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY

Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy

Posted on: August 13, 2013
Application deadline: September 12, 2013
Posted by: Center for Reproductive Rights


The Center for Reproductive Rights (the "Center"), a global human rights organization founded in 1992 with expertise in constitutional and international law, seeks a Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy for the U.S. Legal Program, to be based in its New York City headquarters. This new position will play a major role in the Center's aggressive campaign to restore robust constitutional and legal protection for reproductive rights throughout the U.S.

The Senior Attorney for 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.

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 our 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 Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy will be joining the Center at an exciting time for the institution and at a critical time for reproductive rights globally. 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 our strategic plan is to restore heightened protections for abortion rights, as promised to American women in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade (1973). We have recently received a grant that allows us to scale up for high impact for this effort, in which the Senior Attorney will play a key role.

Over the next four years, we 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. Our 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 press, 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 our Constitution. This work will be managed by the Special Counsel & Director of Judicial Strategy and integrated with work of new and existing staff within the Center's U.S. Legal Program and Communications Program.


The Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy's main responsibilities will include:
  • Contributing to the development of the Center's strategies for development of legal theories and engagement of key influencers in order to change the jurisprudential landscape
  • Developing and sustaining strategic relationships with key influencers (including key government actors, legal media, legal academics, think tanks, and professional organizations)
  • Collaborating with Director of Pro Bono Services and other Center staff to engage members of the private bar in work advancing the Center's strategies
  • Developing, drafting, and eliciting participation by key influencers in opinion pieces, blogs and other materials for placement in legal media, in collaboration with Center communications staff
  • Implementing strategies to develop and enlist amicus support for our desired changes in legal doctrine
  • Creating white papers and other materials to advance and support favorable legal theories and jurisprudential changes
  • Engaging in legal and factual research and overseeing others in their research
  • Providing strategic and practical support for litigation undertaken to move the jurisprudence
  • Representing the Center externally through public speaking, participation in conferences and coalition meetings, with media, and with funders
  • Assuming additional duties as assigned
  • JD degree
  • Minimum of 5 years legal experience (but 7 or more strongly preferred), including some litigation experience
  • Creative and strategic thinker with good judgment and excellent legal analytical capabilities
  • Excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing
  • Strong interpersonal skills and track record of effectively working collaboratively within an organization and with external partners
  • A high level of energy, self-confidence, initiative, and follow-through; ability to recognize and act on opportunities in a fast-paced environment
  • Principled, ethical, professional, and committed to exceptional work quality and standards
  • Strong commitment to the Center's mission, purpose, and values
  • 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
  • Must be available for some travel


Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references (email preferred) to: Please indicate "Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy", [your last name] and Code 196" 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.: Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy - Code 196
120 Wall Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10005

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