OSF is recruiting a Legal Officer to be based in London or NY. The post will have a focus on migration. The closing date is July 20th.

Apply here: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/jobs/jr-0001005/legal-officer

Legal Officer

The Justice Initiative, an operational program of Open Society, uses litigation and other forms of legal advocacy to empower people, defend the rule of law, and advance human rights. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, we promote and defend accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination and statelessness, support criminal justice reform, challenge abuses related to national security and counterterrorism initiatives, expand access to and exercise of freedom of information and expression, and confront corruption linked to the exploitation of natural resources. To our activities we bring deep and varied practice of litigation and other forms of legal advocacy, familiarity with legal and related political fora, substantive knowledge of human rights issues, and issue- and place-specific expertise and experience.

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 it inhabits. More information on the Justice Initiative and its activities can be found at www.justiceinitiative.org.

This post is conceived with a specific focus on migration and the work will be carried out in consultation with OSF’s International Migration Initiative (IMI) , and in support of strategic directions  agreed by the Justice Initiative  and IMI.  These directions may include issues linked with migration such as citizenship, discrimination, and policing.  This position will also involve litigation to advance OSF goals and hands-on engagement assisting NGOs with legal advocacy and governments to design and/or implement legislative and institutional reform.

Job profile

Based in New York or London, and reporting to the Head of Equality and Inclusion, the Legal Officer for Equality and Inclusion (Migration) will work with a high degree of autonomy, developing and implementing projects.

We are looking for a candidate with practical experience using a combination of international policy advocacy, law and litigation, community engagement, and strategic communications, among other tools, to extend legal protection for migrants and asylum seekers.  The team brings together a diverse group of compassionate and committed professionals with a common drive to think creatively about how to use law and legal remedies.

Essential duties and responsibilities include:

  • Advise and support IMI and other OSF programs and their partners working on migration.
  • Develop and manage strategic litigation projects jointly designed by the Justice Initiative and IMI, including strategies for litigation; draft legal applications, briefs, pleadings and other documents for submission to domestic courts and human rights courts, and review and revise documents drafted by other lawyers; liaise with domestic co-counsel, law clinics, pro bono lawyers, and other partners.
  • Undertake legal and factual research and analysis into complex issues of human rights law and procedure.
  • Design and implement advocacy plans to support strategic litigation.
  • Build relationships with civil society partners, affected communities, institutional officials, academics and OSF colleagues working on migration and linked issues.
  • Organise and conduct training for civil society, institutions and officials on relevant substantive areas, skills and good practice.
  • Contribute to strategic planning at team and organizational level, and to the implementation of specific projects, as required, including day-to-day monitoring and regular internal reporting on progress.
  • Manage successful execution of project activities in areas of responsibility, including identifying potential partners, and developing and overseeing the execution of project-related service agreements and grants in close collaboration with partners and OSF colleagues.

Candidate profile

  • Law degree, and at least seven years’ post-qualification experience, with significant experience representing clients before national and/or international tribunals
  • Experience with civil society groups and migrants/asylum seekers working for migrants’ protection and asylum rights using law, capacity-building, community organising and campaigning; practical experience of working with migrant communities highly desirable
  • Strategic thinking: ability to identify patterns of violations and develop legal strategies for challenging these.
  • Fluency in English, with strong written and oral communication skills; fluency in another major language very desirable.
  • Experience working in developing country contexts desirable.
  • Exceptional collaboration skills, including the ability to work within a complex organizational environment, to identify opportunities from working with others, to show sensitivity and respect for people working in different roles, and to empathize with different points of view.
  • Project management and strategic planning skills, including the ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership and gather evidence and research to inform strategies, work plans, activities and internal results assessment
  • Strong analytic and organizational skills
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Extensive international travel and possibility of extended periods of stay in project countries

Suitable candidates of migrant or minority background and those from communities affected by these issues are strongly encouraged to apply.

To Apply:

Please submit your CV and Cover Letter as one single PDF document. The Cover Letter should describe your experience working with refugees and migrants, and your thoughts on the role of law and lawyers in addressing migration issues, in not more than two pages.

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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