Senior Federal Policy Counsel

Job Title: Senior Federal Policy Counsel

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 55 countries.

To learn more about the Center for Reproductive Rights, go to

The Role:

The Senior Federal Policy Counsel will play an integral role in the Center's federal policy and advocacy work, developing and implementing strategies to ensure protection for reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare in the U.S. by conducting legal and policy analyses and by working with coalition partners, members of Congress and the Administration. This position reports to the Chief Counsel, Federal Policy and Advocacy, partners closely with the Senior Federal Legislative Counsel on the team, and coordinates legal strategies as appropriate with the Litigation and Judicial Strategies teams (both based in NY).

This is a supervisory role, and will have both direct reports and responsibility for supervising matters staffed by junior and mid-level federal policy staff. The Senior Federal Policy Counsel will operate as lead on federal policy analysis and development and chief administrative law expert. They will marshal the resources of the federal team to provide legal and policy analysis on relevant legislation and agency action and work closely with the Senior Federal Legislative Counsel to design a strategy to advance those priorities on the Hill, within federal agencies, and among other audiences.

Position placement:  Washington, D.C.


  • Analyzing and advancing legislation, regulations, policies and programs that will protect and expand the right to abortion care and promote access to the full range of affordable reproductive healthcare for all people in the U.S.;
  • Developing administrative advocacy strategies that support our policy priorities;
  • Advising and partnering on identifying administrative litigation opportunities and as appropriate developing litigation strategies;
  • Coordinating with other public interest litigation partners and assisting in the management of relevant pro-bono partners;
  • Serving as a liaison and providing legal analysis support to civil rights bodies, committees and litigators;
  • Providing legal expertise to federal agencies, Hill and coalition members regarding ACA, abortion policy and other key policy priorities including recommending policy positions and lead cross-departmental teams to craft and execute federal policy decisions;
  • Translating complex regulations, statutes, and federal policies and practices into accessible communications for diverse audiences including lawmakers, advocates and coalition partners; developing public messages and media responses as appropriate while serving as a partner to the Litigation, Communications, and Judicial Strategies teams, and the Senior Federal Legislative Counsel;
  • Drafting materials for use in advocacy and outreach, including model legislation, regulatory analyses, fact sheets, and legal memoranda;
  • Drafting comments for the docket on proposed regulations, and coordinating comment submission with progressive allies;
  • Preparing internal and external updates and other written analysis of legislation, relevant litigation, and other key moments or projects;
  • Identifying inflection points and advocacy opportunities and leading efforts to take advantage of those moments in partnership with the Senior Federal Legislative Counsel;
  • Participating in strategy development across areas of federal policy and advocacy, and leading internal and external efforts to implement those strategies;
  • Developing substantive expertise on the evolving domestic legal landscape;
  • Presenting at professional and advocacy conferences and meetings to lead public discourse on reproductive rights;
  • Advancing relationships with policy makers and coalition allies.

Experience & Qualifications:

  • Strong commitment to the Center's mission, purpose, and values;
  • J.D. required; minimum of 8-10 years of relevant experience;
  • Bar membership in the District of Columbia, or the willingness to become a member within 18 months of hire, required
  • At least 3 years supervising, training, or mentoring junior attorneys or individuals with different levels of experience.
  • Knowledge of administrative law, federal agency structure and process, including regulatory and budget procedures, and enforcement mechanisms; regulatory, agency, or oversight experience preferred;
  • Expertise in reproductive rights, civil rights, or human rights, and/or health law or policy strongly preferred;
  • Effective public speaking skills and writing skills;
  • Outstanding legal analysis skills;
  • Excellent organizational, project management and time management skills
  • Experience in working or building coalitions; leadership within coalitions of social justice movements in the United States strongly preferred;
  • Experience developing and implementing strategies to influence federal government policy.

Candidate Profile:

  • Collaborative: Brings a track record of working effectively with various and diverse individuals and groups. 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.
  • Innovative: Demonstrated ability to be innovative and highly productive, with a focus on excellence in a high energy, fast moving, deadline orientated environment
  • Commitment to learning: Applies a growth mentality to their own and their supervisees' development and pushes self and others to work out of comfort zone.  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 supervisees. Creates opportunities for learning, and leadership, with a focus on harnessing skills for the future development of team members.
  • Integrity: Possesses impeccable integrity and personal and professional values that are consistent with the Center's high standards and mission.
  • Adaptive/flexible: Has a can do/will do attitude and demonstrates comfort with ambiguity and calculated risk-taking.
  • Transparency: Consistently applies openness and honesty in communicating decisions and plans to team members
  • Empathy: An empathetic, approachable team player who engenders trust and confidence, with an inherent ability to interact positively with all members of the Center staff.

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 in order to be considered for this position. Please include these application materials as attachments.

Deadline for Applications:  Applications will be reviewed on a 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.

US Programs
Washington, D.C.