Overview of the Organization:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the preeminent organizations in the United States dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
For more than four decades, SPLC has won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms — toppling remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroying violent white supremacist groups; shattering barriers to equality for people of color, women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled; protecting migrant workers from abuse; ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners; reforming juvenile justice practices; and more. To achieve its goals, SPLC employs a variety of strategies, including litigation, legislative and media advocacy, research, and community education and mobilization.
SPLC’s legal department focuses on impact litigation and advocacy campaigns in five practice areas: Immigrant Justice, Children’s Rights, Economic Justice, LGBT Rights/Special Litigation, and Criminal Justice Reform.
In addition to its legal work, SPLC, through its Teaching Tolerance project, combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom; monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists and exposes their activities to the public, the media, and law enforcement; and operates the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, AL.
SPLC currently seeks a Senior Supervising Attorney to lead its Children’s Rights Practice Group in New Orleans, Louisiana.
About the Children’s Rights Practice Group:
The Senior Supervising Attorney will lead children’s rights-related litigation and other forms of public advocacy related to the school to prison pipeline, educational equity, and children’s services (focusing on mental health care). This may include, but will not be limited to: addressing disproportionality and discrimination in school discipline, referrals to alternative school, expulsion, and school-based arrest; curbing seclusion and restraint; pushing back against school-imposed fines and citations; addressing a variety of equity issues (school funding, deregulation, privatization, vouchers, segregation/re-segregation); and improving children’s access to Medicaid and other vital health services. The Louisiana Children’s Rights team is committed to ensuring that all schools in the state have the resources necessary to educate all children, no matter the child’s race, sex, national origin, religion, disability status, or poverty status.
Summary of the Position:
The Senior Supervising Attorney for Children’s Rights in Louisiana (SSA) works in collaboration with the Deputy Legal Director (DLD) to implement SPLC’s vision and strategy for children’s rights work in the state. With the DLD, the SSA will supervise a dedicated team of staff attorneys, policy counsel, advocates, support staff, and others as they use diverse tools to achieve SPLC’s identified children’s rights priorities: (1) stopping the school to prison pipeline; (2) fighting for educational equity; and (3) protecting children’s access to vital health services.
Specifically, the Senior Supervising Attorney will be responsible for developing and litigating impact cases in Louisiana state courts and in federal courts, at both trial and appellate levels. The SSA will engage in litigation and public advocacy related to children’s rights issues in the identified priority areas. This work may include, but will not be limited to: addressing disproportionality and discrimination in school discipline, referrals to alternative school, suspensions, expulsion, and school-based arrest; curbing seclusion and restraint; challenging school-imposed fines and citations; addressing a variety of equity issues (school funding, deregulation, privatization, school vouchers, segregation/re-segregation); and improving children’s access to Medicaid and other vital health services.
The ideal candidate will be an exceptionally talented impact litigator, strategist, and manager with a deep personal passion for pursuing justice on behalf of vulnerable children. He/she/they will have an understanding of the challenges facing children in Louisiana or states with similar demographic, social, and legal contexts and a natural intellectual curiosity to pursue new learnings and knowledge. He/she/they will bring at least seven (7) years of litigation experience and two (2) years successfully managing and leading a highly-talented team and will be barred or willing to sit for the next bar exam in Louisiana.
1. Lead the development and implementation of SPLC’s children’s rights work in Louisiana, using all possible tools including litigation, legislative campaigns, and public advocacy to advance the rights of children across the state. The Children’s Rights team understands that successful litigation often means looking at the relationships between privatization, federal and state school policy, and politics with new eyes. The SSA will need to be particularly strategic as he/she/they identifies otherwise overlooked policy and legal avenues and arguments to weaken and eventually eliminate policies and practices that disproportionately harm children from poor and vulnerable communities.
2. Effectively manage and grow a highly talented litigation, policy, organizing, and support team for children’s rights work across Louisiana. The SSA will supervise a team of exceptionally talented team members, including Policy Counsel, Senior Staff Attorneys, Staff Attorneys, Law Fellows, and other legal staff and will assist in managing the work of the regional data analyst and regional researcher/policy specialist.
3. Develop strategic children’s rights-related cases and lead cutting-edge litigation across Louisiana. The SSA will execute an agenda that includes litigation, advocacy, policy work, and coordinated campaigns on behalf of children across the state. He/she/they will lead cases and will oversee matters that the SSA delegates to senior staff attorneys with the SSA’s support and consultation.
4. Develop and lead public advocacy and awareness campaigns related to Children’s Rights priority areas in Louisiana. The SSA will collaborate with the Deputy Legal Director, Policy Counsel, and Communications Department to identify and support the advancement of state and local policy priorities through public awareness and advocacy campaigns and targeted testimony to legislative bodies. The SSA will supervise outreach activities related to cases and campaigns in the state.
5. Represent SPLC’s Louisiana Children’s Rights work to a diverse array of internal and external stakeholders. The SSA will work collaboratively with other SSAs across the Children’s Rights team, other practice areas, and the entire SPLC legal team to coordinate resources, strategy, and messaging on key issues. The SSA will represent SPLC in various forums, including before community groups, legislatures, state agencies, and the press. He/she/they will also build partnerships with other nonprofits, municipalities, state agencies, and universities to advance various projects and with other law firms and impact litigation organizations to secure and collaborate with co-counsel when necessary.
1. A commitment to social justice and a keen awareness of the indelible relationship between impact litigation, policy advocacy, and social change;
2. Exceptional litigation skills and at least seven (7) years of federal court civil impact litigation or comparable legal experience (such as motions practice; engaging in discovery; negotiating settlements; monitoring settlements/consent decrees; leading/participating in federal civil trials);
3. At least two (2) years of demonstrated success inspiring and leading highly talented and diverse teams, including proven success hiring, training, conducting performance evaluations, and mentoring teams;
4. Initiative, vision, creativity, and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies;
5. Drive to succeed and understanding of the personal commitment to going above and beyond in service to mission and success;
6. Personal commitment to diversity and inclusion; proven success in engaging with diverse communities; experience that informs an authentic understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable communities and a sophisticated understanding of the historical nature of structural power differences with a lens into how that impacts social justice efforts today;
7. Excellent communication skills, including research and writing, interpersonal and public communication skills, and an ability to translate vision and strategy into external messaging;
8. Excellent interpersonal skills, including maturity, keen judgment, the ability to facilitate challenging conversations and quickly read interpersonal dynamics, and the ability to work with people from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives and across projects;
9. Ability to create a positive atmosphere in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment; excellent and consistent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;
10. A natural intellectual curiosity and personal drive for self-reflection, improvement, and learning;
11. Patience, a sense of humor, gravitas and a high tolerance for ambiguity; the ability to adapt quickly to change; an optimistic outlook, a natural orientation towards collaboration with the self-confidence to move forward in areas of uncertainty or where there is not necessarily agreement;
12. The ability and willingness to travel regionally; and
13. Admission to the Louisiana Bar or willingness to sit for the next Bar Exam.
1. Demonstrated knowledge of at least two of the following areas is preferred: the school-to-prison pipeline (e.g., classroom management, exclusionary discipline, restraint, corporal punishment, alternative schools, school-based law enforcement); educational equity (e.g., school funding, education models differing from traditional public schools, desegregation); and/or children’s mental health (e.g., EPSDT/Medicaid Act, ADA/Olmstead/integration mandate policy, home and community-based services);
2. Experience applying analytical skills to public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue;
3. Demonstrated experience assisting with or conducting briefings with internal and external partners and other stakeholders, when necessary.
Knowledge, skills and abilities:
• Excellent communication skills, including research and writing, interpersonal, and public communication skills;
• Ability to work with people from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives;
• Ability to have fun and produce quality work in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment;
• Excellent and consistent attention to detail;
• Ability to prioritize responsibilities and meet deadlines;
• Self-driven with a desire to learn and improve continuously;
• Demonstrated capacity to work with diverse populations, including communities of color, people with disabilities, impoverished communities, and/or LGBTQ communities; and
• Commitment to social justice.
Along with a resume, please submit a writing sample of 5 pages, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial transcript.
Other Special Considerations:
This job is performed under general office conditions, and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.
The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.
An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.
Level of Language Proficiency
Minimum Education Required
How To Apply
Along with a resume, please submit a writing sample of 5 pages, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial transcript using the web address below.