Staff Attorney, Impact Litigation Unit
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – OCTOBER 11, 2023
Staff Attorney for Impact Litigation
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for a Staff Attorney to join its Impact Litigation Unit (ILU).
The Southern Center for Human Rights is working for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal systems of the Deep South. SCHR fights for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice.
Over our forty-six-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, reduce the use of solitary confinement, 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 advanced significant decarceration reforms in the Georgia General Assembly. Today, SCHR embraces multifaceted strategies in its fight for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice. For more information about SCHR, visit www.schr.org.
About the Position
The Staff Attorney will join the nine-member ILU, consisting of seven attorneys (unit director, two senior attorneys, three staff attorneys, and one fellow) and two investigators. Specific duties will include investigating and developing prison and/or jail conditions, right to counsel, and other Section 1983 litigation. The candidate will be involved in the day-to-day aspects of class action litigation, including investigating potential cases; establishing and maintaining strong relationships with clients and witnesses; drafting complaints, briefs, litigation correspondence, and discovery documents; taking depositions; preparing for and conducting evidentiary hearings; and so on.
The candidate must have excellent writing and oral advocacy skills and a proven ability to think strategically and creatively about litigation. SCHR seeks an attorney who takes the initiative, responds to rapidly changing demands with flexibility, has skill and comfort working collaboratively with a team, ably balances working on multiple cases and assignments at once, and has a demonstrated track record of grace under pressure. Experience in providing supervision to junior staff and investigators is essential. A positive demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are critical to performing well in SCHR’s culture.
In addition, the staff attorney will co-coordinate SCHR’s internship program with another staff person. These duties will include interviewing and hiring potential students, supervising students during the fall, spring, and summer semesters, evaluating their performance, and providing mentorship. Internship co-coordinators will receive a stipend for their work in addition to their salary.
We are looking for 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 not a transactional law job but rather an opportunity to affect systemic change, working 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 their resiliency through our benefits package and positive, passionate work environment.
Experience and Other Requirements
A minimum of three years’ litigation experience is preferred. Experience in Section 1983 litigation in federal court is highly desired.
SCHR seeks applicants who are highly motivated, detail-oriented, well-organized, communicate well with others, have strong writing skills, and have a deep commitment to SCHR’s work. The candidate should be both a strong team player and able to take initiative and work independently. The ideal candidate is someone who has prior employment or volunteer experience with underserved communities. A willingness to venture into new situations and tenacity are also needed for this job.
Applicants must be:
- willing to travel extensively by car in Georgia, Alabama, and elsewhere and work outside a traditional 9-5 schedule;
- trustworthy with confidential information;
- enthusiastic about working directly with clients and putting in the time and effort required to develop trusting relationships with clients, especially those who are incarcerated;
- committed to serving low-income communities and/or other communities targeted by the criminal legal system; and
- dedicated to uprooting anti-Black racism and working to advance SCHR’s commitment to antiracism.
A driver’s license is required. People with direct personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system are encouraged to apply.
Commitment and Compensation
SCHR seeks a minimum three-year commitment. 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 salary range of $60,000 – $95,000. 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.
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 Staff Attorney position;
- Letter of interest;
- Resume; and
- Legal writing sample.
The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations, as well as those who have been system-involved.