Application Open: Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and Clinic and Clooney Foundation for Justice 'TrialWatch Legal Fellow'
The Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and Clinic (“HRI” and “the Clinic”), and the Clooney Foundation for Justice (“CFJ”) are seeking a full time TrialWatch Legal Fellow. The Legal Fellow would be appointed at Columbia University as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar or an Associate Research Scholar, depending on experience. The appointment will run from August 2018 to May 2020.
The Human Rights Institute and the Clinic work in partnership with civil society to advance human rights around the world, and train the next generation of strategic advocates. Established in late 2016, CFJ is dedicated to advancing justice in courtrooms, classrooms, and communities around the world.
In connection with a collaboration between CFJ, HRI, and the Clinic, the Legal Fellow will play an integral role in the development and implementation of CFJ’s TrialWatch initiative. This initiative will monitor and respond to trials that pose a significant risk of human rights violations, with a particular focus on trials in which the law may be used as a tool to oppress vulnerable groups, to silence speech, or to target political opponents or critics. The Legal Fellow will also work in the Clinic, designing and implementing a clinical project in connection with the TrialWatch initiative, as well as contributing to syllabus development, seminar teaching, and scholarly research and writing.
CFJ’s TrialWatch initiative seeks to expand the use of trial monitoring by training and facilitating the deployment of a new cadre of trial monitors, including non-lawyers. The initiative will use technology to take a data-driven approach to trial monitoring, and will grade trials according to their compliance with international fair trial standards. CFJ will also, where appropriate, engage in advocacy in connection with trials being monitored and ultimately contribute to the development of a ‘Justice Index’ that ranks states’ performance in this area.
Under the day-to-day supervision of CFJ’s senior program manager for the TrialWatch project, and in collaboration with the Human Rights Institute’s Faculty Directors, the Legal Fellow will participate in the development and implementation of the TrialWatch initiative, including by undertaking research, participating in trial monitoring and trial-monitoring training, analyzing fairness-reports and other materials detailing the findings of monitors and cataloguing rights violations, developing advocacy materials and other written products to advance the work of TrialWatch initiative generally as well as advocacy related to particular proceedings, and helping to build a community of practice around trial monitoring.
In the Clinic, the Legal Fellow will supervise a TrialWatch project, under the supervision of the Clinic Director. The Fellow’s work will include project design, as well as close supervision, guidance, and feedback to teams of students working on that project. The clinic project will involve students in work such as: (a) researching, innovating, and testing analytical methodologies and tools; (b) helping to identify proceedings of potential interest, engaging with trial monitors in the field, and participating in and supporting other field work as appropriate; (c) supporting efforts to evaluate the fairness of particular proceedings monitored under the auspices of the TrialWatch initiative; and (d) conceptualizing and implementing advocacy campaigns.
Specifically, the Legal Fellow will:
- Supervise the TrialWatch project within the Human Rights Clinic, while contributing to the other pedagogical and scholarly goals of the clinic;
- Facilitate TrialWatch’s global field-based trial monitoring program, including travel as necessary;
- Engage with and support the work of the TrialWatch Experts Panel, a group of experienced lawyers who will evaluate the fairness of particular proceedings monitored under the auspices of the TrialWatch initiative;
- Participate in the development of advocacy materials for trials being monitored;
- Organize and help to lead a major conference on trial monitoring to share lessons learned surrounding trial monitoring and raise the profile of the practice;
- Participate in TrialWatch’s effort to recruit, train, and deploy a new cadre of trial monitors, including engaging with prospective trial monitors in the field; and
- Contribute to the development of TrialWatch’s approach to data analysis, by assisting with methodology development, testing, and implementation.
The Legal Fellow will also contribute to the overall work of the Clooney Foundation for Justice and the Human Rights Institute and Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School.
Applicants must have a law degree from any country. Applicants must be admitted (or eligible to be admitted) to the bar of any state in the United States or country in which they received their legal training. This position will be filled as either a Postdoctoral Research Scholar or an Associate Research Scholar. Postdoctoral Research Scholars will have received their law degree within three years of beginning the fellowship. Associate Research Scholars will have a minimum of three years of post-graduate training or experience.
There is a strong preference for candidates with a background in advocacy, including experience in litigation. Preference may also be given to candidates who demonstrate the following:
- Two or more years of experience in the law and practice of human rights;
- Background in international fair trial standards and/or criminal procedure;
- A deep commitment to teaching and mentoring new generations of advocates, a passion for education, and a strong interest in pedagogy theory and practice;
- Interest and/or background in mixed methods research (i.e., qualitative and quantitative methods);
- Demonstrated commitment to strategic, creative, and self-reflective human rights work;
- Prior experience engaging with the UN and regional human rights systems;
- Project development and management experience, ability to work in teams, time management skills, flexibility, and strong organizational and interpersonal skills;
- Experience engaging with the general public and the media, writing press releases, conducting interviews, drafting reports, blog posts, and legal memoranda, and designing convenings;
- Strong interest and ability in challenging existing norms and methods in the human rights field, and an interest in pursuing new interdisciplinary and critical research and scholarship;
- A strong education in and awareness of critiques of human rights, and a commitment to integrating those critiques into human rights practice; and
- Strong interest and commitment to fostering an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment within the clinic, as well as to empowering others to bring their full identities, backgrounds, and perspectives to seminars and projects.
Limited travel may be required.
In order to apply for this position, please visit Columbia University's Recruitment of Academic Personnel System (RAPS) by clicking here.
Applicants will be instructed to upload the following information into the RAPS system: (a) a cover letter, describing the applicant’s qualifications and interest in the position; (b) a resume; (c) a law school transcript; (d) the names of three-five references; (e) a representative writing sample of no more than 10 pages, with a strong preference for persuasive (advocacy style) writing.
Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled, but are strongly encouraged to apply by May 15, 2018. The ideal start date for the post is August 1, 2018 (flexible).
Competitive salary and benefits.
Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer -- Race/Gender/Disability/Veteran.