Job Description
Job Title Legal Director (NY)
Job ID 790455
Begin Date 4/17/14
Location New York,  NY 10001
Other Location
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals.  Over its 35-year history, Human Rights First has earned a reputation for pragmatic, results-oriented advocacy that is politically astute, grounded in facts, and driven by sophisticated legal and policy analysis.  Human Rights First is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a track record of success in delivering change that has made a meaningful difference in people’s lives.  
The organization is led by President and CEO Elisa Massimino.  A lawyer and activist with more than two decades of experience in the field, Massimino has been recognized as one of the top 20 public advocates in the country.  Massimino leads a team of more than 70 talented and committed activists based in New York City and Washington, D.C.  Human Rights First’s Board of Directors is a diverse, highly esteemed, and accomplished group of global human rights champions who are leaders in industry, law, media, the arts, and education.
The Legal Director leads and oversees management of the organization’s legal initiatives – including its pro bono legal representation, amicus brief, and legal outreach efforts. Founded in 1978 as the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Human Rights First has strong and deep relationships with the New York City and Washington, DC legal communities. The Legal Director will build on these strong partnerships with law firms and develop new initiatives to engage the broader legal community, including in other cities. The Legal Director will be responsible for the overall management of Human Rights First’s award-winning, multi-city refugee representation work, which pairs lawyers at the nation’s top law firms with indigent refugees in need of counsel, and its new Pillar Project, which aims to advance the reception of human rights and humanitarian law in U.S. courts.  The Legal Director will also be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to strengthen Human Rights First’s partnerships with the legal community.
  • Leads and oversees management of Human Rights First’s legal initiatives:
    • Refugee Representation 
      • Setting annual goals and assessing progress;
      • Overseeing development and regular updating of legal policies and procedures for nonprofit law offices;
      • Overseeing recruitment of legal staff; and
      • Overseeing expansion, assessment, and launch of any new office/s 
    • Pillar Project
      • Overseeing development of concrete, measurable objectives, comprehensive strategies and annual work plans, and assessing progress;
      • Overseeing the development of relations with private bar members, academics and law clinics that will constitute the Pillar Project “panel”;
      • Overseeing the consideration of Pillar Project litigation opportunities and relevant research, policy analysis and advocacy;
      • Overseeing and participating in the establishment of strategic relationships, coalitions, and partnerships to advance Pillar Project objectives, including with other NGOs, government officials, law firms, academics and law clinics
  • Develops and strengthens Human Rights First’s partnerships with the legal community
    • Developing a plan to regularly communicate with current and past Human Rights First volunteers and other stakeholders
    • Coordinating pro bono opportunities for Human Rights First supporters
    • Leading an effort to reconnect with Human Rights First’s pro bono alumni
    • Guiding online and offline efforts to strengthen Human Rights First’s networks with the legal community
    • Identifying opportunities for members of the bar to support human rights advocacy efforts
    • Ensuring that Human Rights First maximizes fellowship opportunities
  • Collaborates with the Development team on fundraising efforts to support legal programs and initiatives and on preparation of foundation reporting and proposals 
  • Manages a team of up to 20 lawyers and legal assistants, including budget oversight
  • Other duties as requested based on department and/or organizational need
ANNUAL SALARY: Competitive with comprehensive benefits package

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  May 2, 2014. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply early. 

Please complete the online application found at our website under ABOUT US / JOB OPPORTUNITIES links.
You will be requested to provide:
·         Resume (upload)
·         Cover letter (secondary upload*)
·         Names and contact details for three (3) references (enter online)
·         Writing Sample (upload)
* After completing the initial application and uploading your resume, please select VIEW PROFILE and UPLOAD ATTACHMENT to upload additional documents.  You can also log into your profile from the top of the Job Opportunities page.  When logged into your profile, you can upload cover letter and any other relevant documents by selecting UPLOAD ATTACHMENT at the top of the page.  Applicants will receive a confirmation email with their username and password once they’ve created a profile.  Please keep this information to access your application and make changes at any time.

Only selected applicants will be contacted for phone or in-person interviews.  NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington DC. We build respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence.

Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting staff across all programs and departments from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective.
Required Skills The successful candidate must embrace the core values and mission of Human Rights First and be well-grounded in human rights issues. In addition, the ideal candidate will have:

•J.D. from an accredited law school and at least 10 years of legal experience, including managing nonprofit legal programs, litigating in the federal courts, and handling immigration and asylum matters
•5+ years supervisory experience at increasingly high levels of responsibility
•Experience measuring performance of employees or departments and a demonstrated understanding of successful processes for measuring performance
•Strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by a history of positive working relationships with peers
•Experience in budgeting and resource allocation
•Demonstrated ability to make timely decisions, evaluate results, identify problems or obstacles in a timely manner, and redirect when necessary in order to ensure favorable results
•Superior oral and written communication skills
•Strong conflict management, resolution, and negotiation skills
•Ability to travel up to 30%, primarily between the NY and DC offices
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