Externally Funded Fellowships

Job Title:   Externally Funded Fellowships

Department: Global Legal Program, U.S. Policy & Advocacy Program, U.S. Legal Program

Center Background: The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the premier global legal organization dedicated to advancing women's reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity.  Its mission is straightforward and ambitious: to advance reproductive health and rights as fundamental human rights that all governments around the world are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.  Headquartered in New York City, the Center has regional offices in Bogota, Geneva, Kathmandu, Nairobi, and Washington, DC and a staff of more than 130 diverse professionals.  Its annual operating budget is approximately $23 million, the result of an extraordinary growth trajectory; the Center is now poised for a new phase of significant expansion through its next Strategic Plan.

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 the U.S., Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe 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 55 countries.

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

The Center welcomes Externally Funded Fellowship candidates.  YOU MUST IDENTIFY THE EXTERNALLY FUNDED FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY ON YOUR OWN BEFORE CONTACTING THE CENTER. The Center is happy to participate in supporting such a Fellowship if the criteria and timing outlined below fits, however we do not provide the connection to the Externally Funded opportunities. We have three programs, all of which potentially have Externally Funded Fellowship spots available. Please see the information describing each program below:

U.S. Policy & Advocacy Program: based out of our D.C. office

The U.S. Policy and Advocacy Program is interested in hosting an externally funded fellow to work on federal policy and advocacy out of our Washington, D.C., office.  Fellows will be an integral part of the team, and will be given responsibilities that may include:

  • Monitoring and responding to legislative, regulatory, and other policy developments, including hearings and markups, rulemakings, litigation, and other events;
  • Conducting in-depth legal and legislative research, analysis, and drafting; and
  • Developing and drafting policy and advocacy materials, including bill analyses, fact sheets, and talking points.

Qualifications include excellent research and writing skills.  Public-policy experience is a plus, as is a relevant post-graduate degree, such as law, public policy, or public health.

U.S. Legal Program: based out of our N.Y. office

U.S. Legal Program is interested in hosting an externally funded fellow to assist in our U.S.-based court-focused litigation work to ensure access to abortion and affordable reproductive healthcare.  The fellow will be an integral part of the team, and will be given responsibilities that may include:

  • Conducting fact and legal research for new and active cases at the trial and appellate court levels;
  •  Drafting court documents and portions of briefs for our cases at the trial and appellate stages;
  •  Engaging in legal analyses of state and federal legislation and regulations and new developments affecting reproductive justice and access to reproductive healthcare; and
  • Researching legal perspectives on reproductive health and justice issues for publications, articles, and more.

The U.S. Legal Program also is interested in hosting an externally-funded fellow in our separate “Judicial Strategy” initiative.  Our Judicial Strategy work is a focused campaign to influence court doctrine on access to abortion services.  This campaign includes development of powerful allies and new court strategies to move the jurisprudence.  We are working to systematically build new allies and support amongst elite institutional players that influence the federal courts and to promote a national narrative about these state attacks that focuses on the broad story about what is at stake legally and factually. The fellow would be an integral part of the team, and will be given responsibilities that include:

  • Conducting legal research to develop judicial strategy
  • Conducting factual research related to influencers
  • Assisting with the Center’s amicus strategies for cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court
  • Assisting with outreach to influencers

For the U.S. Legal Program externally-funded fellow positions, candidates with a degree in law and commitment to the Center’s mission, purpose, and values are invited to apply. Knowledge of reproductive rights issues or other issues relating to human rights, civil rights or racial and social justice is a strong plus.  The candidate must be capable of complex legal analytical work and possess excellent writing and legal research skills. Candidates should indicate in their cover letter whether they are interested in USLP’s litigation or judicial strategy work (or both).

Global Legal Program: based out of our N.Y., Nairobi, and Bogota offices

International Legal Fellows support the Center’s global priorities and are responsible for legal and policy analysis of a variety of reproductive rights issues including:

  • Undertaking research on international law, human rights law, and foreign and comparative law;
  • Drafting submissions to UN and regional human rights bodies: and
  • Supporting the Global Legal Program’s national and international human rights litigation. 

Candidates with a degree in law, knowledge of international human rights and women’s rights and of reproductive rights or women’s health are eligible to apply. The candidate should be capable of complex legal analytical work and possess excellent writing, editing, research and oral advocacy skills. Some international travel may be required.

Compensation: Since this Fellowship is Externally Funded, the funding will be provided by the sponsoring organization, not by the Center. 

Duration of Position:  This will be determined by the terms of the Externally Funded Fellowship.  However, typically we prefer Fellows who can commit to at least one year. 

How to Apply: Please send a cover letter, résumé, at least one writing sample, and contact information for three references to the individual below who represents the department you are interested in applying to.  Please include these application materials as attachments. 


  • Not all externally-funded fellowships are willing to support abortion-rights work.   Applicants should thoroughly research the parameters of the fellowship program before contacting the Center. 
  • In some cases, we are willing to work with an applicant to develop a fellowship proposal.
  • Only applications associated with an Externally Funded Fellowship will be accepted via this application process.  If you are looking for a Center funded Fellowship, please review the open Fellowship opportunities on our website and follow those application instructions.  If you send your application materials to one of the individuals below and you are not associated with an Externally Funded Fellowship, you will not be considered for this Fellowship opportunity or any other Fellowship position.    

U.S. Policy & Advocacy Program
Susan Inman

U.S. Legal Program
Jenny Ma

Global Legal Program
lejandra Cardenas: 

The Center for Reproductive Rights is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff.  We strongly encourage candidates from all groups and communities to apply.