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Senior Public Policy Counsel

Senior Public Policy Counsel


Senior Public Policy Counsel

The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for a Senior Public Policy Counsel to join its Public Policy Unit (PPU).

About SCHR

The Southern Center for Human Rights is working for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. SCHR embraces multifaceted strategies in its fight for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice.

Over our forty-five-year history, SCHR has 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 United States 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. Our advocacy has also advanced significant reforms in the Georgia General Assembly as well as in local governmental bodies.

We are a dynamic and forward-thinking advocacy organization dedicated to promoting policies that advance true justice and foster healthy communities. With a passionate team committed to social justice and equity, we work tirelessly to advance legislation that reflects our values and serves the needs of our communities. For more information about SCHR, visit

About the Position

The Senior Public Policy Counsel (Counsel) works closely with the Public Policy Director and the Public Policy Unit to develop and advocate policies that further SCHR’s mission This is a high responsibility, fast-paced position requiring strong research and writing proficiencies, policy analysis, legislative advocacy, and project management. The role of Counsel is to assist SCHR’s Public Policy Unit in the advancement of statewide criminal legal policy reforms in Georgia. The Counsel reports to the Public Policy Director.

We are seeking a talented and experienced Counsel to lead our legislative advocacy efforts at the state capitol. As a key member of our team, you will be responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives to advance our policy priorities through engagement with lawmakers, stakeholders, and the broader community. The ideal candidate is someone with a deep and authentic commitment to the inherent dignity of our clients and our mission to create a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty and racial injustice.

This is an opportunity to lead in an organization where we all give 100% in an environment that tends to be high stakes, high energy and does not conform to traditional 9 to 5 schedules. Achieving our bold mission often requires weeknight or weekend hours and a can-do attitude while we also strive to support our staff in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through our benefits package and positive, passionate work environment.

Key Responsibilities

Lobbying, Direct Advocacy & Technical Policy Assistance

  • Represent SCHR in meetings with members of the Georgia General Assembly, testify in legislative committee hearings, and be present throughout the legislative session to track and advocate legislative reforms;
  • Be present and actively lobbying at the State Capitol during the legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly on legislative and committee days;
  • Represent the organization until adjournment at Crossover Day and Sine Die, ensuring support for SCHR policy priorities and those of our key partners;
  • Track, report on, and analyze various legislative and regulatory actions regarding criminal justice policies and practices in Georgia;
  • Draft and review legislation, amendments, testimony, and other advocacy materials;
  • Provide legal and policy expertise to inform advocacy strategies and campaigns;
  • Monitor legislative developments, track bills, and provide timely updates to internal stakeholders.
  • Build and maintain relationships with legislators, government officials, and advocacy partners to influence the legislative process effectively;
  • Plan events and other opportunities for SCHR to conduct outreach to legislators and their staff; and
  • Develop and advocate for policy positions aligned with our organization’s mission and values.

Research & Writing

  • Draft, conduct research for, and help develop content for SCHR one-pagers, talking points, issue briefs, related charts and visuals, infographics, and presentations to be used with selected internal or external audiences to advance SCHR’s policy activities;
  • Conduct comprehensive research and analysis on legislative issues, policy proposals, and relevant legal frameworks;
  • Monitor emerging research and important developments in the field; and
  • Provide monthly legislative updates to the Justice Reform Partnership on behalf of SCHR.

Community Engagement & Policy Assistance

  • Coordinate grassroots organizing and mobilization efforts to support legislative priorities;
  • Actively participate in criminal legal forums, meetings, and strategy sessions with community members, partner organizations, public officials, unlikely allies, and other relevant stakeholders; and
  • Conduct literature reviews, analysis, and online research on various policy topics related to criminal legal systems in Georgia.

Internal Collaboration & Strategic Planning

Assist in developing, proof-reading, fact-checking and reviewing documents, presentations, and data analysis on behalf of the Public Policy Unit;

Work with communications staff to ensure policy material on SCHR’s website is current and accurate;

Supervise interns and volunteers in the public policy unit by delegating tasks and assignments, providing support and feedback, and identifying opportunities for practicing skills and building a professional network; and

Assist in the assessment of potential advocacy efforts in other southern states, to include connecting with partners in other jurisdictions such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida.

Key Strengths

  • Passion for justice, equity, and transformative shifts in criminal legal systems that mitigate harm caused to marginalized people;
  • Strategic thinking with excellent research, prioritization, analytical, organizational, and interpersonal skills;
  • A ‘big picture’ mindset as capable of translating ideas into realistic, actionable plans; and
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office, Westlaw, and the Georgia General Assembly website.


  • Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and active membership in a state bar;
  • At least 10 years of experience in statewide and/or national legislative policy advocacy;
  • Qualified to register as a lobbyist on behalf of SCHR in Georgia;
  • Demonstrated experience in legislative advocacy, policy analysis, or related fields;
  • Strong understanding of state government, legislative processes, and political dynamics;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to convey complex ideas clearly and persuasively, often on a short timeline; and
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment and manage multiple priorities effectively.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Smart self-starter with a track record of initiative and success;
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills;
  • Track record of successful advocacy campaigns or legislative achievements;
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups and communities;
  • Ability to take on responsibilities independently and work as a team with only general supervision;
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with low-income communities and communities of color and a keen awareness of the race and class issues underlying the criminal legal system;
  • Background in coalition-building or community organizing and policy advocacy is highly desired;
  • Experience working in a legislative or policy role within a nonprofit organization, government agency, or legislative office; and
  • Familiarity with issues relevant to our organization’s policy priorities, such as mass incarceration, the criminalization of poverty, the death penalty, and racial injustice.

Commitment and Compensation

SCHR seeks a commitment of at least three years. The start date is negotiable. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest salary range of $85,000-$105,000. SCHR offers an excellent, 100% premium-paid benefit 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 position is in-person at our Atlanta office. Our office maintains a hybrid schedule, with staff required to be in-person three days of the week (absent travel, illness, or other excused absences), and flexibility to work remotely the remaining two days. Accordingly, all applicants should be willing to live in the Atlanta area.

How to Apply

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 Public Policy Counsel position;
  • Letter of interest;
  • Resume; and
  • Writing sample (could be an article for a blog, academic paper, policy brief, or whatever shows your style and voice).

Join us in making a difference and shaping the future of the South!

The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, nationalities, and military status, as well as those who have personal experience with the criminal legal system.