Senior Director, Legal Strategy and Innovative Partnerships
Deadline: Until filled
Location: New York, USA
Organization: The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center)
The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the premier global legal organization dedicated to advancing women's reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity. Its mission is straightforward and ambitious: to advance reproductive health and rights as fundamental human rights that all governments around the world are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill. Headquartered in New York City, the Center has regional offices in Bogota, Geneva, Kathmandu, Nairobi, and Washington, DC and a staff of more than 150 diverse professionals. Its annual operating budget is approximately $29 million, the result of an extraordinary growth trajectory; the Center is now poised for a new phase of significant expansion through its next Strategic Plan.
The Center’s game-changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in constitutional, comparative, and international human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies worldwide. It has played a key role in securing landmark legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization and child marriage. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, led the development of historic, proactive legislation advancing robust protections for reproductive rights, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in more than 55 countries.
The Senior Director, Legal Strategy and Innovative Partnerships will be a critical member of the Center's management team and the U.S. Programs' leadership team, reporting directly to and acting as a strategic advisor to the Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs. This individual will develop, refine, and lead an innovative program area and work with the Center's U.S. litigation, policy advocacy and domestic human rights program leads and collaborate with other Center departments to advance the Center's mission and goals. This position will be based in the Center's New York office; will consider placement in Washington, D.C.
The Center is seeking a candidate who is committed to the Center's mission and who can:
- Lead a team of experienced lawyers and other experts to proactively design, build and implement new strategies to support and expand reproductive rights jurisprudence, including by linking to other areas of law and to doctrines that have the potential to alleviate multiple inequalities.
- Develop signature publications and influence academic and legal media discourse. Liaise with the Center's Communication Department and academics to spur the development of creative articles and media placements that advance reproductive rights.
- Engage in intersectional legal work to support the Center's litigation and to protect the rule of law and safeguard constitutional rights in the Courts.
- Engage new amici and build networks of supporters and powerful champions, including those in new sectors and diverse communities.
- Serve as a thought partner and collaborator to the Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs and the leaders of the U.S. Litigation, U.S. Policy and Advocacy, and U.S. Human Rights programs to leverage and maximize cross-program collaboration and approaches.
- Collaborate with the Director of Pro Bono Services to engage members of the private bar in the Center's work.
- Serve as an external thought-leader and spokesperson representing the Center, through public speaking, participation in conferences, and conversations with funders.
Current bodies of work that the Senior Director will be responsible for overseeing and leading to ensure further development and refinement include:
- Judicial Strategy: Develops legal approaches and advances strategies e.g., amicus campaigns, publications, and engagement with legal influencers and cross-movement partners to shape court doctrine on abortion and other reproductive rights issues.
- Lawyers Network: Engages legal leaders from corporate legal departments, law firms, and other areas of the profession by working with national, state, local, and affinity bar associations to educate and elevate the importance of reproductive rights and the Center's work.
- Business Leaders Engagement: Develops strategies to engage the private sector and cultivates champions to encourage influential businesses and business leaders to take action and/or vocally support the range of reproductive rights issues.
The Senior Director will also envision and develop new bodies of work to serve the Center's goals. Specific responsibilities include:
Project, program, and strategy development and implementation:
- Create and articulate an inspiring proactive vision for the program, translate it into actionable plans, and set compelling goals and aggressive schedules.
- Lead and inspire a team in the creation of concrete, long-term jurisprudential outcomes in the face of identified opportunities and challenges.
- Drive team engagement in developing and executing projects, programs, and strategies to achieve the Center's goals linked to the strategic plan and mission.
- Serve as a thought-leader and partner within and on behalf of the Center as evidenced by collaboration, public speaking, and development of written products to influence new strategies and address common goals.
- Conduct risk analysis, identify what success looks like as programs and projects evolve, and determine whether to continue or end investment of organizational resources.
- Lead team in strategic planning and ongoing evaluation and learning.
- Oversee program and project planning, including budget planning and oversight.
Leadership and management:
- Serve as an active and engaged partner and peer on the U.S. Programs Management Team to help inform program priorities and help solve department/organizational challenges.
- Serve as a collaborator and thought-leader on the Center's Management Team to ensure successful execution of the Strategic Plan and shape new strategies.
- Lead with and help to create an environment and culture that fosters constructive problem-solving, good communication, flexibility, and a "can do/will do" attitude, with honesty, respect, and good humor.
- Manage, coach, mentor and build a team of multilevel staff that can work together and grow professionally.
- Effectively work with and develop a multidiscplinary team to implement and evolve program strategies.
- Represent the Center externally, including with partners, donors, media, academic, and professional audiences.
- Nurture and build external relationships and networks on behalf of the Center.
- Implement a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The ideal candidate will have proven leadership, analytical, legal, and management skills and will ideally have been instrumental in the establishment of a strong, inclusive, innovative legal team in a prior role.
The person in this position will be accountable for innovating and executing an ambitious strategy; conceptualizing, prototyping, and implementing new program ideas; mentoring and partnering with lawyers and a multi-disciplinary staff; and collaborating across Center programs and departments, as well as outside partners, to ensure that the Center accomplishes its mission. The Senior Director will also need to bring a new lens to help evaluate and reshape legal advocacy strategies to create an enabling environment to advance reproductive rights in the United States beyond its current state and/or to prepare for continued success with a potentially more challenging Court environment.
He/she will embody the values of transparency, collaboration, and open communication to foster and inspire a positive team environment within and across departments.
- J.D. required.
- Bar Membership required or a commitment to obtain membership within 18 months of hire.
- Strong commitment to the Center's mission, purpose, and values.
- 15+ years of legal experience including substantial and successful litigation experience; with at least 5 years managing an inter-disciplinary team.
- Extensive understanding of constitutional law and court strategy, and outstanding legal analysis skills.
- Proven track record of building high performing teams, delivering through others, creating continuous process improvements, and driving change with a focus on excellence.
- Demonstrated ability to lead, mentor, coach, and develop varying levels of staff.
- Successful experience in developing, implementing and managing multi-faceted programs and projects.
- Clear vision and insight coupled with the ability to empower a team to implement and follow through on strategies.
- Ability to write clearly and effectively.
- Excellent advocacy and oral presentation skills, including the ability to communicate to multiple audiences, from law professors to business persons to lay audiences, and to effectively persuade, whether in public speaking or in one-on-one meetings.
- Strong interpersonal skills, high emotional intelligence, and positive demeanor to implement program goals while supporting organizational and team morale.
- Demonstrated ability to be innovative and highly productive.
- Experience with reproductive rights issues, or experience with human rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, economic justice, or social justice combined with an ability to connect and integrate this experience with reproductive rights. Other related experience will be considered.
- Experience working with or on behalf marginalized communities.
- Strategic thinker: Applies big-picture thinking while also focusing on the details of implementation.
- Decisiveness: Consistently makes sound decisions in a timely manner supportive of the Center's mission, core values, and strategic objectives. Blends vision and judgment.
- Collaborative: Brings a track record of working effectively with various and diverse individuals and groups, and a willingness to actively listen and invite different views and opinions across all levels of the institution to build alignment in support of a common goal.
- Transparency: Consistently applies openness and honesty in communicating decisions and plans to team members.
- Commitment to learn: Receives and provides feedback and constructive criticism professionally. Applies a growth mentality to their own and their team's development. Promotes a culture of learning by modeling inquisitiveness and an openness to viewing mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve.
- Passion for Coaching, and Mentoring Staff: Empowers and motivates employees and creates opportunities for learning, development, and leadership, with a focus on harnessing skills for the future development of team members.
- Accountability: Holds themselves and others accountable.
- Integrity: Possesses impeccable integrity and personal and professional values that are consistent with the Center's high standards and mission.
- Empathy: Serves as an empathetic, approachable leader who engenders trust and confidence.
- Adaptability/Flexibility: Demonstrates comfort with ambiguity and calculated risk-taking.
The Center offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits program.
How to apply:
Please click on the link below to apply. A cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references must be included in your application in order to be considered for this role. It is encouraged to include these application materials as attachments.
Deadline for Applications: Applications will be reviewed on rolling basis until the position is filled. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring, and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage people from all groups and communities to apply.