Associate Legal Officer

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 06

Position description

Associate Legal Officer. New York. Posting Date: 04/05/2019. Deadline: 04/28/2019

The Open Society Foundations promotes vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to all rights holders.

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 counterterrorism, 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 national security and counterterrorism, the Justice Initiative conducts litigation, research and documentation, and advocacy to promote transparency and accountability for human rights violations perpetrated in the name of preserving security. This work includes challenging human rights violations associated with "counter-extremism" policies, laws criminalizing the "glorification" of terrorism, extrajudicial killings (including through drones), rendition, torture, and arbitrary detention.

Job profile

The Associate Legal Officer (ALO) for National Security and Counterterrorism will be based in New York, London, or Berlin and report to the Director, Accountability, Liberty and Transparency Division, who also leads the national security and counterterrorism (NSC) project housed in that Division.

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 violations associated with national security and counterterrorism policies. The ALO will be part of a team of diverse and committed professionals with a common drive to think creatively about how to use law and legal remedies.

Essential duties and responsibilities include:
  • Engaging in strategic litigation on NSC issues, including addressing client care, conducting legal research and writing, drafting and filing pleadings;
  • Conducting research and documentation on human rights violations associated with NSC policies with a view to producing Justice Initiative publications;
  • Designing and conducting advocacy in domestic, regional and international fora to address such human rights violations;
  • Monitoring global developments on NSC issues with a view to evaluating them for potential Justice Initiative involvement;
  • Providing subject-matter knowledge to team members and partners within and outside OSF; evaluating issues and cases for potential involvement
  • 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

  • Law degree, bar admission, and substantial post-qualification experience, including in the field of human rights
  • 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
  • Practical experience in the field of human rights, work with victims of human rights violations highly desirable
  • 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
  • Proficiency in English, with strong written and oral communication skills
  • Proficiency in at least one additional language highly desirable
  • Project management, including the ability to gather evidence and research to inform strategies, work plans, activities and internal results assessment
  • Experience with developing and running efficient processes, systems, and workflows to ensure well-run projects and operations
  • Experience with record keeping, budgeting management and finance administration highly desirable
  • Excellent political judgment and the proven ability to develop and carry out innovative advocacy strategies
  • Strong analytic and organizational skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and networking skills, with a proven ability to work as part of a multi-cultural team
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Extensive travel


Suitable candidates of minority backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

  • Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions;
  • We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.


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.
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