Open Society Foundations - Associate Legal Officer

The Justice Initiative, part of the Open Society Foundations, uses strategic litigation and other kinds of legal advocacy to defend and promote the rule of law, and to advance human rights. We employ litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance across a range of issues. We pursue accountability for international crimes, support criminal justice reforms, strengthen human rights institutions, combat discrimination and statelessness, challenge abuses related to national security and counter-terrorism, defend civic space, foster freedom of information and expression, confront corruption and promote economic justice. In this work, we collaborate with a community of dedicated and skillful human rights advocates across the globe, and form part of a dynamic and progressive justice movement that reflects the diversity of the world. More information on the Justice Initiative and its activities can be found at www.justiceinitiative.org . In the sphere of criminal justice, the Justice Initiative conducts litigation, research and advocacy and provides direct assistance to governments to create effective criminal justice systems that respect human rights. This work focuses on custodial rights, prevention and accountability for torture, prosecutorial independence and accountability.

Job Profile

The Associate Legal Officer (ALO) for Criminal Justice will join our Criminal Justice division and and work closely with colleagues to implement criminal justice reforms focused on custodial rights and accountability for torture Based in Berlin or New York and reporting to the Senior Managing Legal Officer for Anti-Torture, Criminal Justice. We are looking for a candidate capable of using a diverse set of tools including strategic litigation, research and documentation, community engagement, policy advocacy, and strategic communications to meaningfully address human rights in criminal justice system. The ALO will be part of a team of diverse and committed professionals with a common drive to think creatively about criminal justice and human rights.

Essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Participating in projects on issues of criminal justice, including fair and effective criminal defense, arrest rights and prevention, investigation and prosecution of torture;

  • Conducting primary research and tracking developments in the field, including through review and analysis of primary materials from a range of legal systems, as well research and findings of donors, international and regional organizations and treaty bodies, civil society and technical and academic experts.

  • Providing subject-matter knowledge to team members and partners within and outside OSF;

  • Building relations with local actors in the criminal justice system and civil society in order to implement and assess the progress and impact of specific interventions across a range of stakeholders;

  • Supporting strategic litigation in the area of defense rights and accountability for torture, drafting legal applications, briefs, pleadings and other documents for submission to domestic and regional courts and human rights bodies;

  • Managing project activities, including administrative tasks related to planning, developing, budgeting, executing, monitoring and reporting on project-related activities and contracts

  • Contributing to strategic planning at the team and organizational level.

Candidate profile

Advanced Law degree / equal education required and at least 3–5 years of relevant experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Excellent legal research and writing skills, including in international human rights law, as well as an ability to write and edit a range of different materials including reports, legal documents, blogs and submissions for different audiences adapted to national context.

  • Excellent writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences

  • Practical experience in the field of human rights/criminal justice highly desirable

  • Advocacy and messaging skills with demonstrated ability to adapt to varied political and popular discourses on public security issues, including offending and criminal justice responses

  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to advocate appropriately in diverse and international environments

  • Experience in developing strong relationships with a wide range of actors from diverse cultural, geographic, economic, political, and social contexts

  • Project management, including the ability to gather evidence and research to inform strategies, work plans, activities and internal results assessment

  • Flexible work style, able to work within a program team while also taking individual responsibilities in the field, creating clear information channels across projects, and regions

  • Experience with developing and running efficient processes, systems, and workflows to ensure well-run projects and operations

  • Advanced roficiency in English, with strong written and oral communication skills

  • Advanced in at least one additional language, especially Spanish, Portuguese or Russian, highly desirable

  • Experience with record keeping, budgeting management and finance administration highly desirable

  • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment

  • Experience working in Europe and Latin America, highly desirable

  • Extensive travel may be required

Suitable candidates of minority backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply: Please apply online by answering all questions in the online application form and uploading a cover letter and CV resume.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.