Litigation Fellow London - Justice Initiative

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    May 16

Position description

Litigation Fellow London - Justice Initiative. London. Posting Date: 05/15/2019. Deadline: 06/15/2019

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 counter-terrorism 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. More information on the Justice Initiative and its activities can be found at www.justiceinitiative.org .

The Litigation Fellowship

The Justice Initiative Litigation Fellowship program is a full-time, two-year program that offers junior lawyers with at least three years of experience, who are interested in international human rights, the opportunity to gain practical experience in international, regional, and national human rights litigation across a broad range of thematic areas and geographies, embedding them as an integral part of the Justice Initiative's litigation team. Additionally, the fellowship offers a realistic and intensive experience of work as a human rights lawyer through casework, training on human rights litigation, and other core activities.

Litigation Fellows undertake research on legal issues, respond to procedural questions, prepare draft pleadings, coordinate with partners, attend case conference and other meetings, and, where possible, engage with clients and witnesses, and attend court hearings. Litigation Fellows also gain experience in the other tools that are often essential to successful strategic litigation, including investigations, research, national and international advocacy, media work, and community engagement. Support to the Justice Initiative's casework may also include updating the website, file review, developing initial drafts of litigation and legal advice, and preparing legal research and analysis for litigation.

Litigation Fellows also benefit from the Justice Initiative's intensive training on the concept and practice of human rights litigation. In addition, litigation fellows are involved in preparing and delivering litigation workshops on specific themes at regional human rights meetings that focus on practice before specific tribunals, and the Summer Schools on Human Rights Litigation . Fellows are also involved in international discussions and seminars on various aspects of strategic litigation. The objective is to is to give them a much deeper understanding of strategic litigation and build contacts with lawyers around the world. Litigation Fellows often write occasional blogs for the Open Society Foundations' Voices or Case Watch pages, with additional public writing encouraged as opportunity permits.

The selected Litigation Fellow will meet the following requirements:
  • Law Degree, and at least three years' experience as a lawyer;
  • Up to five years practical experience in the human rights field;
  • Exceptional legal research, reasoning, analysis, and writing skills;
  • A high degree of English proficiency (speaking, writing, and reading) is required. Ability to work in a second language (including Arabic, Spanish, French, or German) is also required;
  • Proven ability to work efficiently in a fast-paced environment; to troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, consistently on schedule, without loss of attention to detail and budget;
  • Excellent written, verbal, organizational, analytical and interpersonal skills;
  • Excellent listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences;
  • Ability to show discretion and to handle confidential issues;
  • High level of self-motivation ability to work independently when necessary;
  • Poised, work well under pressure and attentive to detail;
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks;
  • Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with senior management, co-workers, and the public.


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

The Justice Initiative provides a competitive financial award and benefits package for the duration of the fellowship.

Application Instructions

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 edited by someone else.
  • Names and current contact details of two referees.


Applications must be received by 15th June 2019 . Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews and writing exercises. The final selection decisions will be announced by October 2019, with the successful applicant beginning the fellowship in January 2020.

Contact Information

For any additional information about the application process and the program itself, please contact: [email protected] g

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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