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Director and Legal Fellow for the Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights at The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute

December 24, 2015 8:15 AM | Anonymous member


The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute invites applications for 2 positions of Director and Legal Fellow for the Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights, who will be hired at the level of Research Scholar and Associate Research Scholar at Columbia Law School.

The Director and Legal Fellow will lead an innovative legal research and advocacy program to advance respect for international human rights law and humanitarian law in counterterrorism and armed conflict operations, particularly those undertaken by the United States and its allies.

Together with the Human Rights Institute’s Faculty Co-Directors, the Director and Legal Fellow will be responsible for collaborating in developing the Project’s programmatic work and strategic agenda, and providing vision, research, writing, and public engagement for the projects. They will provide legal expertise on questions of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and produce reports, white papers, blog posts and other publications, and solicit relevant research from outside experts. They will organize and actively participate in expert meetings of government and non-government representatives from the U.S. and abroad to explore key legal issues and best practices, and organize legal trainings for journalists, judges, or other groups, often in conjunction with other civil society organizations such as the ICRC. They will design and implement U.S. and international advocacy strategies to promote human rights. The work includes pursuing cutting edge factual, policy, and legal research and engaging with U.S. and foreign governments and civil society advocates on a variety of issues, including: promoting rights-protecting legal and policy standards for the use of armed drones; government investigations of civilian harm; compensation to victims in armed conflict; strengthening legal protections in non-international armed conflict; states’ “support” activities (military training, weapons provision, intelligence) to non state armed actors and other states; training journalists and judges in international law; and related issues.

The Director and Legal Fellow will report to the Human Rights Institute’s Faculty Co-Directors, but they will have significant independence in developing the work plans for the projects. They will be responsible for managing teams of research assistants, and may have the opportunity to teach in the Human Rights Clinic and supervise Human Rights Clinic students. The positions will also generally contribute to the work of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School, including through event planning and grant writing.

Job Requirements – Applicants should have:
A J.D. or foreign equivalent law degree;
Demonstrated commitment to advancing human rights;
For the Research Scholar, 8 or more years of experience is preferred. For the Associate Research Scholar, 3 or more years of experience is preferred. At either level, the researcher must have experience in law and practice of international humanitarian law and/or human rights;
Demonstrated ability to manage, provide creative and strategic vision, develop and run new projects
Excellent legal research and analytic skills, as well as oral and written communication skills;
Prior experience engaging on humanitarian law and human rights issues with representatives of governments, the UN, civil society, victims and impacted communities in the U.S., Europe, in countries where the U.S. and its allies are engaged militarily, and elsewhere;
Experience engaging with the general public and the media, writing press releases and conducting interviews, writing blog posts, managing meetings and designing workshops;
Experience in grant writing and engaging with donor organizations;
Fluency in at least one foreign language strongly preferred.
These positions provide a unique opportunity to be a central part of Columbia Law School’s longstanding institutional commitment to human rights scholarship, education and advocacy, both in the academy and beyond. Founded in 1998 by Louis Henkin, the Human Rights Institute sits at the heart of human rights teaching, practice, and research at Columbia Law School. It draws on the law school’s deep human rights tradition to support and influence human rights practice in the United States and around the world. In addition to the two positions posted here, the Institute comprises two Faculty Co-Directors, a Human Rights Clinic, an Executive Director, Administrator, and several additional professionals working in project-specific areas. For further information on the Human Rights Institute, visit our website:

Salary will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applicants must apply online through Columbia University’s Recruitment of Academic Personnel System (RAPS) at:

Applications are open now, and will be considered on a rolling basis. The positions are available immediately.

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. In furtherance of Columbia University’s and Columbia Law School’s fundamental commitment to diversity, minority group members and women are strongly encouraged to apply.

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