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OSF - Open Society Foundations 

Litigation Fellow

OSF - Open Society Foundations

London, United Kingdom

One year fixed-term

The Open Society Justice Initiative is pleased to invite applications for a one-year Litigation Fellowship in the London office of the Open Society Foundations. The fellowship is designed for lawyers early in their careers who are interested in working with a global public interest litigating organisation.

The Open Society Foundations works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. The Justice Initiative, an operational program of Open Society, uses litigation and other forms of legal advocacy to empower people, defend the rule of law, and advance human rights. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, we promote and defend accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination and statelessness, support criminal justice reform, challenge abuses related to national security and counterterrorism initiatives, expand access to and exercise of freedom of information and expression, and confront corruption linked to the exploitation of natural resources.

To our activities we bring deep and varied practice of litigation and other forms of legal advocacy, familiarity with legal and related political fora, substantive knowledge of human rights issues, and issue- and place-specific expertise and experience. We collaborate with a community of dedicated and skillful human rights advocates across the globe, and form part of a dynamic and progressive justice movement that reflects the diversity of the world it inhabits.

The Justice Initiative Litigation Fellowship program is designed to give lawyers in their early careers who are interested in international human rights a realistic experience of work as a human rights lawyer through casework, training on human rights litigation, and other core activities.

The primary function of the Litigation Fellow is to support the Justice Initiative’s litigation across the breadth of its thematic and geographic areas of function. Rather than work on one project, they will work on multiple cases at the same time, giving them a broad experience. The tasks they will work on reflect the varied roles that a human rights lawyer plays. The Litigation Fellows’ support to the Justice Initiative’s litigation efforts will involve a range of long-term and short-term cases, on various different themes, and across all of the regional human rights systems.

Fellows will undertake research on legal issues, respond to procedural questions, prepare draft pleadings, attend case conference and other meetings, and, where possible, engage with clients and witnesses and attend court hearings. Litigation Fellows will also gain experience in the other tools that are often essential to successful strategic litigation, including research, national and international advocacy, media work, and community engagement. Fellows will work on some cases over a long period of time, whereas for others the fellow may have to engage on a discrete issue at short notice. Support to the Justice Initiative’s casework may also include updating the website, filing reviews, evaluating our litigation and legal advice, and preparing legal research and analysis for litigation.

Litigation Fellows will also benefit from the Justice Initiative’s intensive training on the concept and practice of human rights litigation. Litigation fellows will be involved in preparing and delivering litigation workshops on specific themes, regional human rights meetings that focus on practice before specific tribunals, and the CEU Summer School on Human Rights Litigation. This will involve travel in order to attend these events. Fellows will also be involved in international discussions and seminars on various aspects of strategic litigation. This will give them a much deeper understanding of strategic litigation, and build contacts with lawyers around the world. Litigation Fellows are also expected to write occasional blogs for the Open Society Foundations’ Voices or Case Watch pages, with additional public writing encouraged as opportunity permits.

Applicants should submit:

A statement of purpose of no more than two pages detailing the applicant’s interest and experience in human rights, generally, and the Litigation Fellowship, specifically. Curriculum Vitae. A legal writing sample that has not been (or has been only minimally) edited by someone else. Names and current contact details of two references.

Applications must be received by 5PM UK time on Friday, 20 October 2017.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews and writing exercises. The final selection decisions will be announced as soon as interviews have been contacted with the successful applicant beginning the fellowship in January 2018.

Applicants for this Fellowship position must already have leave to work in the United Kingdom, as the Open Society Foundations will not be able to procure work authorization for the selected fellow.

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