TrialWatch Staff Attorney

Job Type

Full Time




1050 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 400

United States


The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is seeking an experienced staff attorney to help lead its work on TrialWatch, an international trial monitoring program established by the Clooney Foundation for Justice which the ABA will be assisting in implementing.

The TrialWatch initiative seeks to expand the use of trial monitoring by training and facilitating the deployment of a new cadre of trained trial monitors, including non-lawyers. These monitors will assess the fairness of proceedings under international standards and, working with human rights experts, help prepare Fairness Reports on their findings. These Fairness Reports will then form the basis for a range of advocacy efforts and ultimately will be used to develop a Justice Index that ranks countries on their performance. The initiative will use innovative technology to take a data-driven approach to trial monitoring and engage in comparative analysis to facilitate reforms of the administration of justice around the world.

The ABA Center for Human Rights provides pro bono legal assistance to human rights advocates working in difficult environments and vulnerable circumstances by:

• Advising on, and raising public awareness of, sensitive trials and cases;

• Connecting pro bono lawyers with requisite expertise with local lawyers to provide advice on international law standards, share best practices, and assist in developing advocacy and litigation strategies; and

• Observing trials that have garnered local, regional, or international attention and/or have the potential of changing the law, for better or worse, within the country, and providing analysis of those trials.

The TrialWatch Staff Attorney will undertake substantive legal work on the TrialWatch project; help to build, deploy and supervise a roster of trained trial monitors, organize monitoring and reporting on trials, conduct advocacy around fair trial issues, and provide substantive support and expertise to the Center. The person who is recruited for the position will be supervised by a more senior attorney, but will have significant autonomy. They must have excellent judgment and the ability to handle fast-moving operational issues. They will need to be able to conduct outreach to a wide variety of others, including local contacts to help identify trials of interest, law schools or other institutions to help identify potential trial monitors, and other international organizations. The position requires strong ‘outside of the box’ thinking.

The incumbent may also need to conduct comparative legal research, writing and advocacy. May have supervisory duties of non-attorney staff.


·        Law degree (JD or equivalent, PhD) Experience & Skills Required

·        Requires JD and bar admission in at least one jurisdiction.

·        0-3 years legal experience.

·        Requires outstanding communication skills, excellent organizational skills and ability to exercise independent judgment.

·        May  occasionally  conduct  attorney  trainings   and/or  plan/host conferences.

Experience & Skills Preferred



·        3+ years of experience in law, human rights, or criminal defense.

·        Familiarity with international human rights and fair trials guarantees.

·        Knowledge of criminal law and trials and, preferably, familiarity with trial monitoring and comparative criminal procedure.

·        Excellent organizational skills and ability to exercise independent judgment.

·        Outstanding oral and written communication skills.

·        Strong project management skills with the ability to pursue multiple tasks at the same time.

·        Ability to conduct attorney trainings and/or plan and host conferences.

·        A strong commitment to the Center’s and Foundation’s vision and mission.

·        Experience working in foreign legal systems.

·        Established relationships with human rights organizations worldwide.

·        Cultural sensitivity and an ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

·        Experience advocating on behalf of persecuted individuals or groups (and demonstrated ability to achieve results in this regard) and working with human rights defenders globally.

·        Experience working abroad and willingness to travel internationally as needed.

·        Previous work with the media.

Persons interested in applying should do so by uploading an updated resume, cover letter and writing sample to the ABA Employment portal. Enter RE12201 in "Requisition Number":

All applicants must have authorization to work in the United States. The ABA does not sponsor visas.

The American Bar Association is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with the American Bar Association please call 312-988-5188.

Level of Language Proficiency

Language proficiency in at least one of the major U.N. languages is preferred.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

To apply, please upload an updated resume, cover letter and writing sample to Requisition Number RE12201: