Senior/Staff Attorney – The Center for Justice and Accountability – San Francisco, CA

The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) seeks a Senior Staff Attorney or a Staff Attorney.

CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.


Reporting to the Legal Director, the Senior Staff Attorney or Staff Attorney investigates and litigates impact cases on behalf of survivors of torture and other severe human rights abuses. Job duties include non-litigation advocacy involving community outreach, coalition building, writing and publishing reports, planning and participating in public meetings, legislative research and lobbying, and media interviews.

Applicants for the Senior Staff Attorney and Staff Attorney positions should have a minimum of five years of experience as a practicing attorney, including litigation experience that prepares the applicant to handle human rights impact litigation. Senior Staff Attorney applicants are expected to possess experience sufficient to allow them to work with substantial independence in furtherance of CJA’s mission, require little direct supervision, and may have supervisory responsibility and other significant Legal Department responsibilities in addition to handling an individual docket of cases and investigations.

Candidates should have excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Spanish, excellent project management skills, and a keen interest in CJA’s mission.

Primary Responsibilities

Investigation responsibilities include:

factual and legal research in the U.S. and abroad,
developing contacts with survivor communities and human rights activists, and
analyzing relevant political and legal issues in the home country to assess the viability and likely impact of potential cases.

Litigation responsibilities include:

legal research, litigation strategy, drafting legal documents, calendaring, representing clients in trial and appellate courts, writing amicus briefs, and organizing amicus strategies;
keeping adequate files and completing reports;
keeping current with developments in the fields of ATS and TVPA law, international criminal and humanitarian law, and related legal issues;
assisting in securing pro bono co-counsel and expert witnesses;
keeping clients informed on case development, acting as liaison between clients and the legal team, and assuring that clients’ interests are safeguarded and their needs, including for therapy and social services, are met.

Transitional Justice responsibilities may include providing expertise on witness preparation and testimony, the introduction of evidence, charging human rights crimes and other areas related to human rights prosecutions.

Policy responsibilities may include legislative drafting and analysis, preparing advocacy materials, liaising with congressional and executive branch staff, and organizing grassroots campaign strategies.

Development, Education, and Outreach responsibilities include:

drafting and reviewing grant proposals and reports, participating in fundraising events and meeting with donors;
reviewing fundraising, outreach and website materials regarding assigned cases to ensure accuracy; and
engaging in education and outreach efforts to advance public awareness of CJA and its mission.
Education duties may also include selection and supervision of legal interns.

Professional Qualifications:

J.D. or equivalent;
Membership in good standing with at least one State Bar;
Fluency in spoken and written Spanish, strongly preferred;
Superb legal research, writing and analytical skills;
Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
Ability and willingness to travel in the United States and internationally;
Demonstrated commitment to human rights;
Knowledge of U.S. and international human rights litigation;
Experience working directly with clients and/or non-governmental organizations;
A high level of independence, initiative, creativity, and good judgment;

How to apply

Applications welcome immediately; position open until filled. Applications must include: 1) a letter that addresses your goals and your interest in this position; 2) resume; 3) writing sample; and 4) names of three references. Submit electronic application to with the words “Staff Attorney” or “Senior Staff Attorney” in the subject line.

CJA is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from those who will enhance our staff diversity. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please. Only those applicants selected for an interview will receive a response.