Legal Officer - Open Society Justice Initiative

Open Society Foundations
Contract Type
Practice Area
Environment , Human Rights
London or New York
Competitive + bens
0-2 yrs, 3 -4 yrs, 5+ yrs
Do you want to help make the world a better place with your practical litigation experience involving climate change and human rights or public interest cases?

Job Description


Three Year Fixed Term

We are seeking a Legal Officer based in London or New York with experience in developing and executing strategies of complex climate change or environmental justice litigation, with strong research and drafting skills.

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. We are active in more than 120 countries, making us the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

The Open Society Justice Initiative (JI) uses strategic litigation and other kinds of legal advocacy to defend and promote the rule of law and to advance human rights. We employ litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance across a range of issues.

As a Legal Officer at Open Society, you will:

  • Conceptualize strategic human rights litigation on climate change and or environmental justice;
  • Identify and assess potential cases on climate change/environmental justice for litigation by the Justice Initiative and or its partners;
  • Develop a holistic litigation strategy for selected cases that incorporates collaboration with technical and community experts, community mobilization/sensitization, general and media advocacy;
  • Manage and execute litigation strategy for selected/assigned cases, including leading/overseeing specific-case litigation teams of lawyers and experts; 
  • Draft legal applications, briefs, pleadings and other documents for submission to domestic and international administrative forums, tribunals and courts;
  • Provide technical assistance and strategic advice to Open Society Foundations network and Justice Initiative partners involved in climate change/environmental justice;
  • Provide litigation advice to and guide on development of subject-matter knowledge for team members and other programs of the Open Society Foundations.

We are looking for someone with a Law degree and substantial experience in human rights law and/or international law. Demonstrated experience in managing litigation teams and in working with technical non-legal experts to support litigation, including analysis and preparation of complex expert evidence for use in litigation. Experience in conceptualizing and managing complex climate change/environmental justice litigation. Practical experience with case and document management in a busy law practice, or with an organization involved in complex litigation.

We offer ample opportunities to learn and grow, from annual professional development allowances to onsite training and brown bag lunches with visiting experts. Along with top-notch benefits and perks designed for your well-being and a healthy work-life balance.

Closing date: 15 May 2020.

We aim to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the populations we support, and actively seek applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and colleagues with disabilities.