Job Listing: Human Rights Staff Attorney

Title: Staff Attorney – International Human Rights and Access to Justice Program

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

The Vance Center advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation. A non-profit program of the New York City Bar Association, we bring together leading law firms and other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives and provide pro bono legal representation to social justice NGOs.

The Human Rights and Access to Justice Program protects individuals from discrimination, violence, injustice, and corruption and supports international human rights bodies committed to such protection. The program partners with local organizations and engages in projects related to advocacy and capacity building at the local, regional and international levels in furtherance of these goals. Through the Human Rights Program, the Vance Center assists NGOs worldwide on a variety of human rights issues such as violence against women, LGBT rights, prison conditions, atrocity prevention and post-conflict transition, rights of afro-descendants, and refugees. The Human Rights program is also engaged in a global project to study the causes, conditions and consequences of women incarceration. In addition, the program includes a Business and Human Rights initiative where we are assisting NGOs in the United States and abroad with research and advocacy on business and human rights and contribute to sharing best practices in this area. The Vance Center’s Human Right program also serves as Secretariat for the New York City Bar Association’s Business and Human Rights Working Group whose mission is to examine the intersection between business practices and human rights and provide a framework for the City Bar to speak on these issues.

The Program undertakes research and analysis into complex international and comparative law issues to assist clients with advocacy, training, legislative reform, and international and regional human rights litigation. Our clients include U.S. based NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as well as local NGOs abroad, in Latin American and in Africa.

The Vance Center recruits private law firms from the Vance Center Committee to work alongside our program staff on the projects. However, Program staff also engage in substantive legal work, including legal research and analysis, advocacy, and litigation.


Job Description

  • The Human Rights Staff Attorney will be an integral part of the Human Rights Program and is expected to work on all aspects of the Program. Under the supervision of the Human Rights Program Director, the main responsibilities of the Staff Attorney will include, but not be limited to:
  • Conduct research and analysis on international human rights law and, in some cases, domestic laws.
  • Research and write background papers on countries where the Program is looking to engage.
  • Research and contact new clients, particularly human rights NGOs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
  • Maintain communications with clients and law firms.
  • Assist in coordinating and managing pro bono projects.
  • Draft materials for publication on the Program’s activities, cases, or current events.
  • Plan and organize events, in the United States and abroad.
  • Undertake specific administrative duties related to the Program.



  • J.D. or LLM from U.S. law school. Specialization in International Human Rights Law or Public International Law is a plus. Degree from non-U.S. law school required in absence of U.S. J.D.
  • 1-2 years experience in International Human Rights or Public International Law.
  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills.
  • Written and oral fluency in English. Fluency in Spanish or Portuguese is highly desirable.
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills and great attention to detail.
  • Team spirit, including facility working with colleagues and partners from varied backgrounds and collaborating in virtual groups.
  • Ability to work quickly and well under pressure, to juggle multiple tasks, and to meet tight deadlines.
  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Familiarity with conditions affecting vulnerable people and groups around the world, with experience living in Global South desirable.
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.


This position will need to be able to work remotely until such time as the New York City Bar employees return to the Association’s building.

We provide a competitive benefits package including generous paid time off (vacation, personal, sick time, holidays, day off for volunteer work, extra time off in summer), choice of medical plans, dental, vision, 401K, life insurance, commuter benefits, Employee Assistance Program, std/ltd, employee discounts, and more!


Application instructions:

The deadline for applications is October 30th. Please email a resume, a short writing sample on an international human rights issue, and a list of three references to In the subject line please write "Human Rights Staff Attorney". . No phone calls please.

The Cyrus R. Vance Center is a proud equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. It is the policy of the Organization to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, arrest or conviction record, pregnancy, credit history, salary history, caregiver status, marital status, partnership status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, religion, sex, genetic information, military status, unemployment status or any other characteristic as protected by law. With regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other related laws, the Organization will endeavor to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.