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Accountability Legal Fellow

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Human Rights First


2mo ago

đź’Ľ Graduate Job

Washington, DC +1

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Graduate Job

Legal•Washington, DC, New York


  • Human Rights First leads a coalition of more than 330 NGOs from 50-plus countries that use targeted sanctions, like the Global Magnitsky sanctions programs, to push the U.S. government to sanction human rights abusers and corrupt foreign actors. Working with a diverse array of partners, HRF provides the United States government with well-researched and documented recommendations that identify significant human rights abuses and crimes of corruption and those responsible who may be eligible for targeted sanctions and/or visa restrictions. Over the past six years, approximately one-third of the U.S. government sanctions designations under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program have had a basis in our coalition’s recommendations. 
  • The recipient of this fellowship will have an opportunity to participate in an accountability effort that consistently and concretely impacts human rights outcomes and chips away at systems of impunity. The Human Rights Accountability Legal Fellow will be directly involved in the operation and maintenance of HRF’s large coalition of NGOs, and will be responsible for researching, drafting, and editing recommendation files that identify persons who have committed serious human rights abuses and acts of corruption.
  • The recipient of the fellowship will be actively involved in helping formulate HRF’s strategy to continue growing our work as we build relationships with additional U.S. government agencies and foreign governments adopting similar laws. As such, the fellow will have a meaningful opportunity to grapple with domestic and international legal and policy issues, and will contribute to an area of human rights and anti-corruption advocacy that is expanding rapidly in exciting, challenging, and impactful ways.


  • Secured funding from an outside organization (law school, law firm, foundation, etc.).
  • A Juris Doctorate (J.D.), J.D. equivalent, or Master of Laws (L.L.M.) degree in a relevant field from an accredited U.S. law school, or enrollment in a program working toward completion of one of these degrees by August 2024
  • Authorization to work in the United States
  • Strong legal and policy research and writing skills, including the ability to monitor and analyze relevant national and international policy and legal developments.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate highly technical material for a variety of audiences, ranging from government investigators to congressional staff to readers of mainstream newspapers and specialized blogs
  • Prior experience in human rights or anti-corruption-related law and/or advocacy, with a preferred focus on international human rights law, domestic human rights legislation, and policy
  • Project management experience, strong organizational and interpersonal skills, and an ability to coordinate efforts internally with colleagues and with outside partners
  • A strong work ethic, demonstrated capacity to take initiative, and time management skills to handle multiple tasks and projects
  • A sense of humor and ability to work collegially with other staff members
  • Ability to communicate patiently, respectfully, and empathetically with individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including survivors of trauma or family members of political prisoners
  • High level of integrity and discretion in handling sensitive information
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships with civil society, government agencies, Congressional offices, etc.
  • Foreign language skills are preferred but not required
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise discretion in handling sensitive information

Area of Responsibilities



  • Assist in Human Rights First’s efforts to promote and facilitate the use of targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program and other similar authorities, including working with other civil society groups, the Department of State, and the Department of the Treasury to expand and increase the effectiveness of the administration’s use of its targeted sanctions and visa restrictions programs.
  • In coordination with the Accountability team and other NGOs, prepare recommendations identifying Global Magnitsky sanctions targets to the United States government to quickly respond to emerging human rights crises and identify advocacy opportunities to support the issuance of sanctions.
  • Work with the Accountability team to address time-sensitive issues related to emerging U.S. foreign policy and human rights issues, and conduct fact-finding and research on human rights and rule of law trends in the United States and relevant regions, as assigned.
  • Participate in meetings and other advocacy with executive branch officials and members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill.
  • Research and draft reports, blogs, op-eds, and other materials relating to the use of U.S. and other government sanctions tools and other accountability mechanisms, and the human rights implications of U.S. foreign policy and democratic backsliding.
  • Assist in organizing public events related to the use and adoption of targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions.
  • Update and develop resources related to targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions, such as recommendation templates, sanctions explainers, spreadsheets tracking sanctions designations, frequently asked questions, etc.
  • Assist in advising other governments or legislatures (e.g., in the European Union, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, etc.) on how to design and implement legislation to establish global human rights and anti-corruption targeted sanctions programs.
  • Other duties as requested based on department and/or organizational need.

Application process

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Two writing samples (one legal writing sample and one shorter, policy-oriented sample preferred, ideally related to human rights and/or foreign policy)
  • List of three professional references (may include academic references although at least one must be from a legal internship, externship, or professional position)
  • Timing of application
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. Fellowships will ideally begin in early September and will last for one calendar year. However, HRF is flexible and other arrangements can be made if necessary.
  • HRF will be reaching out directly to individuals for in-person interviews following the initial review of applications.


Work type

Full time

Work mode



Washington, DC, New York