Senior Counsel, Litigation

Job Title: Senior Counsel, Litigation 

Department: U.S. Programs

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, D.C. and a diverse staff of more than 150 professionals.  Its annual operating budget is approximately $29 million, the result of an extraordinary growth trajectory. The Center is now poised for a new phase of significant expansion through its current and 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 ground-breaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, has 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 

The Role: 

The Senior Counsel, Litigation will report directly and serve as a thought partner to the Senior Director, Litigation and will assist in managing the Center’s U.S. litigation strategy as well as serve as a mentor and strategic leader on the litigation team.  In addition, the Senior Counsel will directly participate in impact litigation on reproductive rights and justice issues in federal and state courts around the country.  The Center’s high-profile and fast-paced litigation often involves novel legal claims, and our groundbreaking cases have changed the law and improved the lives of women throughout the U.S.

This position will be based in either New York City or Washington, D.C.


  • Serve as a mentor, collaborator and thought-leader in the Center’s U.S. Litigation Program to ensure successful execution of the Strategic Plan, as well as implementation of wider institutional priorities, and to shape new strategies as opportunities and challenges arise. 
  • Work closely with the Senior Director, Litigation and in collaboration with other senior litigation and US program staff to provide leadership and direction in the planning, development and implementation of strategic and annual planning, including by effectively supporting the development of long-term, mid-term, and annual plans and aligning the US litigation program behind core goals and strategies.
  • Support the Senior Director, Litigation to ensure that key litigation program outcomes are evaluated and leveraged for maximum impact.
  • Support the Senior Director, Litigation in forming and managing teams assigned to specific projects and cases to leverage strategic opportunities and maximize efficiencies and professional development opportunities.
  • Lead, supervise and engage (as needed) in all stages of litigation (including leading/conducting investigations, securing clients, case development, trial and appellate work), particularly as supervising attorney, as lead on complex cases, and as Center attorney on cases in which pro bono firm takes lead;
  • Identify and cultivate new Center clients; develop and maintain client relationships; and engage in client compliance work.
  • Maintain and develop relationships with key partners.
  • Assist and mentor other department attorneys in development of new cases (e.g., working up claims, preparing initial filings, case budgeting).
  • Supervise, mentor and coach litigation team members (from senior staff attorneys to legal assistants), identifying skills gaps and addressing professional development needs.
  • Coordinate with Center’s state and federal advocacy teams on legislative work as-needed.
  • Undertaking special projects as requested by the Senior Director, Litigation or the SVP, US Programs.
  • Represent the Center externally, including with partners, donors, media, academic and professional audiences.
  • Work closely with the Director of Pro Bono to cultivate and leverage new and existing pro bono partnerships and projects with law firms, law associations, and law schools to leverage the Center’s litigation program.
  • Lead with and help to create an environment and culture that fosters constructive problem-solving, good communication, flexibility, and a “can do/will do” attitude, with honesty, respect, and good humor. 
  • Other duties as assigned.

Candidate Profile: 

The ideal candidate will have proven leadership, analytical, legal, program management and management skills and will ideally have been instrumental in the establishment of a strong, inclusive, diverse, and innovative team in a prior role.  She/he will embody the values of transparency, collaboration, and open communication to foster and inspire a positive team environment within and across departments.  

Experience and Qualifications: 

  • Strong commitment to the Center’s mission, purpose, and values. 
  • J.D. required. 
  • Active Bar membership in New York or Washington D.C., depending on placement.  
  • 12+ years of litigation experience including significant experience in both trial and appellate courts; with at least 5 years managing an inter-disciplinary team.
  • Strong familiarity with constitutional law.
  • Successful experience in developing, implementing and managing complex litigation. 
  • Successful experience in cultivating and maintaining client relationships.
  • Demonstrated experience in conducting or supervising investigations in preparation for complex litigation.
  • Proven track record of building high performing teams, delivering through others, creating continuous process improvements, and driving change with a focus on excellence, including demonstrated ability to lead, mentor, coach, and develop varying levels of staff.  
  • Demonstrated track record building, managing and leading diverse teams.
  • Clear vision and insight coupled with the ability to empower a team to implement and follow through on strategies. 
  • Outstanding legal analysis skills.
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Ability to write clearly and effectively. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, high emotional intelligence, and positive demeanor to implement program goals while supporting organizational and team morale. 
  • Demonstrated ability to be innovative and highly productive. 
  • Willing to travel between New York and Washington, D.C. and/or to other states monthly on average.
  • Experience with reproductive rights issues, or experience with human rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, economic justice, or social justice combined with an ability to connect and integrate this experience with reproductive rights and justice.  Other related experience will be considered. 
  • Experience working with or on behalf marginalized communities. 
  • Travel required.
  • English language fluency required; additional languages, especially Spanish, a plus. 

Leadership Qualities: 

  • Strategic thinker:  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. 
  • Collaborative:  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. 
  • Transparency:  Consistently applies openness and honesty in communicating decisions and plans to team members.  
  • Commitment to learn: Receives and provides direct feedback and constructive criticism professionally.  Applies a growth mentality to their own and their team’s 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. 
  • Accountability:  Holds themselves and others 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. 
  • Adaptability/Flexibility:  Demonstrates comfort with ambiguity and calculated risk-taking. 

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

How to Apply:  Please click on the link below to apply.  A cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references must be included in your application to be considered for this role.  It is encouraged to include these application materials as attachments.

Deadline for Applications: Applications will be reviewed on rolling basis until the position is filled.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. 

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 people from all groups and communities to apply.