Impact Litigation Unit Director
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – MAY 11, 2023
Impact Litigation Unit Director
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for an Impact Litigation Unit Director to join its team.
SCHR is working for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. SCHR fights for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice. It achieves this work through its Impact Litigation, Capital Litigation, and Public Policy units.
Over our forty-six-year history, SCHR has litigated precedent-setting cases in the South. We have forced county, state, and federal governments to make significant improvements in prisons and jails to reduce overcrowding, provide adequate medical and mental health care, and abate violence and abuse. We have argued and won five death penalty cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, four of which challenged profound race discrimination in capital trials. Our combined litigation and policy advocacy helped bring about the creation of a statewide public defender system in Georgia. For more information about SCHR, see our website at www.schr.org.
The Impact Litigation Unit (ILU) challenges unconstitutional practices in the criminal legal systems of Georgia and Alabama through federal and state litigation. Over the last decade, the ILU’s work has included cases on behalf of incarcerated people held in solitary confinement and other barbaric conditions, people denied their basic right to counsel in criminal cases, people facing debtors’ prison practices, and people who have been harmed by law enforcement. Many ILU actions represent classes of people, though the ILU does take on individual representation from time to time. Frequently, our clients are exposed to discrimination and abuse because of their race; gender; religion; LGBTQ+ identity; physical, psychiatric, and developmental disabilities; and histories of trauma.
About the Position
The ILU Director leads SCHR’s ILU, which is currently made up of two senior attorneys, three staff attorneys, two law fellows, and three investigators. The ILU Director provides strategic guidance and vision to our litigation teams, helps team members manage workloads, provides feedback and mentorship to junior team members, and identifies and spearheads professional development opportunities. Beyond being a unit leader, the ILU Director is also expected to lead litigation teams and engage fully in all aspects of the ILU’s work, including visiting people in prisons and jails; drafting complaints, briefs, litigation correspondence, and discovery documents; taking depositions; preparing for and conducting evidentiary hearings; negotiating settlements; and monitoring and enforcing consent decrees.
Qualifications and Experience
Successful ILU Director candidates will have
- A keen awareness of the racial issues underlying the criminal legal system, and a commitment to antiracism and the continued fostering of SCHR as an anti-racist organization;
- A commitment to serving low-income communities and other communities targeted by the criminal legal system;
- Experience litigating Section 1983 prison and jail conditions cases in federal court, and other litigation involving injustices in the criminal legal system (including in a supervisory capacity);
- A willingness to master litigation tasks and set the example for ILU team members;
- A client- and team-centered approach to litigation;
- A willingness to tackle any task (whether litigation-related or administrative), and an appreciation and respect for all team members’ level of experience, viewpoints, and knowledge;
- Experience managing litigation teams and providing supervision and mentorship to junior staff and investigators;
- Excellent writing and oral advocacy skills, and a proven ability to think strategically and creatively about litigation;
- Initiative and the flexibility to respond effectively to rapidly-changing demands;
- A demonstrated track record of grace under pressure; and
- A positive demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills.
Key responsibilities include:
- Developing and extensively investigating cases for litigation;
- Building relationships with clients and witnesses;
- Participating in and leading litigation teams;
- Working collaboratively with the entire SCHR team on cases and campaigns;
- Mentoring ILU team members;
- Recruiting and working with outside co-counsel;
- Responding to requests for assistance from people in prisons and jails, their families, and attorneys seeking guidance and consultation;
- Leading hiring efforts for new ILU team members in partnership with the Executive Director and hiring committee;
- Serving on SCHR’s Leadership Team and engaging in organization-wide strategizing and decision-making;
- Coordinating unit and litigation team meetings;
- Representing the ILU in a range of settings, including speaking at SCHR Board Meetings, at schools and universities, in community settings, and to the media; and
- Frequent travel throughout Georgia and Alabama.
SCHR is neither a private firm nor a government agency. If you are looking for a 9-to-5 job, if you take a checklist or transactional style to litigation, or if you are anything less than 100% committed to the inherent dignity of our clients and the work involved in carrying that message forward, we are not a fit for you.
Commitment and Compensation
The start date is negotiable, with a strong preference for as soon as possible. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest pay scale of $110,000-$118,000. SCHR offers an excellent, 100% premium-paid benefits package, including medical, dental, vision care, and life insurance. Additional benefits include modest stipends for transportation and wellness, access to a flexible spending account, and childcare assistance (if eligible). This is an in-person position. Georgia bar membership (or a willingness to join the Georgia bar) is required.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply immediately. NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE. Email [email protected] with the following:
- Statement in the subject line of the e-mail that you are applying for the ILU Director position;
- Letter of interest and resume;
- Writing sample; and
- Contact information for three references, including one from a person you supervised.
The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer which welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, nationalities, and military status, as well as those who have personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system.