U.S. Foreign Policy Counsel (DC)

Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Oct 31

Position description

The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the premier global litigation and legal policy organization using the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world. Headquartered in New York City, the non-profit, non-partisan organization has regional offices in Bogota, Geneva, Kathmandu, Nairobi, and Washington, DC; a staff of approximately 200 diverse professionals; an annual budget of approximately $40 million with an additional $22 million in donated services from leading law firms around the globe.

The Center's game-changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in constitutional, comparative, and international human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies worldwide. It has played a key role in securing landmark legal victories in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the United States on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization and child marriage. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, led the development of historic, proactive legislation advancing robust protections for reproductive rights, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in more than 60 countries.

To learn more about the Center for Reproductive Rights, go to www.reproductiverights.org.


The Role: The US Foreign Policy Counsel will play a leadership role in the Center's foreign policy and advocacy work, developing and implementing strategies to ensure protection for reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare within US Foreign Policy by conducting legal and policy analyses; working with coalition partners; members of Congress and the Administration. This position reports to the Senior Federal Counsel, and will work closely with the Chief Counsel for Federal Policy and Advocacy, Director of Global Advocacy, the Director of U.S. Human Rights, and the Deputy Director of the Global Legal Program. The position partners with staff on the US Policy and Advocacy team, the Global Advocacy team, the global regional teams, and the U.S. Human Rights team to identify and implement the Center’s foreign policy priorities.

The US Foreign Policy Counsel will operate as lead on foreign policy analysis and strategy development and implementation. They will marshal the resources of the federal, human rights, and global teams to provide legal and policy analysis on relevant legislation, policies and agency action and ensure effective Center engagement and response.

This position will be based in Washington, DC.


Primary Responsibilities: 

  • Developing, analyzing, and advancing policy that will protect and expand the right and access to comprehensive reproductive health information and services, including access to safe abortion, for women and girls around the world;
  • Monitoring and responding to legislative and other policy developments, including regulations, guidance, hearings, markups, staff briefings, and other events;
  • Developing in partnership with the Senior Federal Policy Counsel, the Chief Counsel for Federal Policy and Advocacy, the Director of Global Advocacy, the Director of U.S. Human Rights and the global regional teams’ appropriate advocacy strategies that support our policy priorities;
  • Coordinating with other coalition partners, progressive allies, and pro bono partners;
  • Serving as a liaison and providing legal analysis support to foreign policy community and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Providing legal expertise to federal agencies, Hill and coalition members regarding the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights, Global Gag Rule, Helms and other key policy priorities including recommending policy positions and leading cross-departmental teams to craft and execute foreign policy positions;
  • Translating complex policies and practices into accessible communications for diverse audiences including lawmakers, advocates and coalition partners;
  • Helping develop public messages and media responses as appropriate and serve as a Center spokesperson on key US foreign policy issues;
  • Cultivating messengers and spokespeople in Washington, DC, to articulate and support the human rights approach;
  • Drafting materials for use in lobbying activities, outreach and on the Web, including legislation, hearing testimony, bill analyses, fact sheets, and legal memoranda;
  • Drafting comments for the administrative record on proposed regulations;
  • Preparing internal and external updates and other written analyses of legislation/policy and other key moments or projects;
  • Identifying inflection points and advocacy opportunities and leading efforts to take advantage of those moments in partnership with relevant members of the federal, global, and U.S. human rights teams;
  • Participating in strategy development across Federal Policy and Advocacy, U.S. Human Rights, and Global Advocacy and Global regional teams, and leading internal and external efforts to implement those strategies;
  • Maintain a high level of substantive expertise on the evolving foreign policy landscape;
  • Presenting at professional and advocacy conferences and meetings to lead public discourse on US foreign policy and reproductive rights;
  • Advancing relationships with policy makers and coalition allies and ensure the Center is a go-to resource on human rights law and reproductive rights for policy-makers and allies;
  • Organizing events on aspects of our international work in DC.


  • For DC attorney positions: Admission to the District of Columbia Bar Required.  If not currently admitted to the DC Bar, candidate must be admitted to the bar of another state and agree to become admitted to the DC Bar within eighteen months.
  • Strong commitment to the Center's mission, purpose, and values;
  • J.D. required;
  • Minimum of 4 – 6 years of relevant experience;
  • Expertise in international human rights law required;
  • Experience developing and implementing strategies to influence US foreign policy;
  • Knowledge and experience engaging with USAID, State Department, and foreign policy processes required;
  • Effective public speaking skills and writing skills;
  • Outstanding legal/policy analysis skills;
  • Excellent organizational, project management and time management skills;
  • Experience in working or building coalitions; leadership within coalitions of social justice and/or human rights movements strongly preferred;
  • Experience working outside the US preferred.


Critical Competencies:

·        Strategic thinking: Applies big-picture thinking while also focusing on the details of implementation.

·        Decisiveness: Consistently makes sound decisions in a timely manner supportive of the Center's mission, core values, and strategic objectives. Blends vision and judgment.

  • Collaboration: Brings a track record of working effectively with various and diverse individuals and groups, and a willingness to actively listen and invite different views and opinions across all levels of the institution to build alignment in support of a common goal.
  • Receives and Provides Direct Feedback: Actively gives and requests feedback to and from peers, supervisors and direct reports (If applicable) about work products, behaviors, values, style and approaches with a view on how this impacts self, other individuals and teams.
  • Transparency: Consistently applies openness and honesty in communicating decisions and plans to team members.
  • Commitment to learn: Applies a growth mentality to their own and their team’s (if applicable) development. Promotes a culture of learning by modeling inquisitiveness and an openness to viewing mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve.
  • Passion for Coaching, and Mentoring Staff: Empowers and motivates employees and creates opportunities for learning, development, and leadership, with a focus on harnessing skills for the future development of team members. (if applicable)
  • Accountability: Follows through on each commitment made to individual contributors, teams and partners and proactively informs others of any delays that occur along the way. Holds team members accountable.
  • Integrity: Possesses impeccable integrity and personal and professional values that are consistent with the Center’s high standards and mission.
  • Empathy: Serves as an empathetic, approachable leader who engenders trust and confidence. (if applicable)
  • Adaptability/Flexibility: Demonstrates comfort with ambiguity and calculated risk


Compensation: The Center offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits program.

How to Apply: Please complete the application below to apply. A cover letter and resume must be included in your application. Please include these application materials as attachments.

Application instructions

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