SPLC’s Children’s Rights Practice Group is dedicated to ensuring that vulnerable children in the Deep South have access to the resources they need—particularly education and health services—to grow and thrive, and that they are neither excluded from nor denied such resources due to their background or characteristics. Vulnerable children in SPLC’s states are pushed into the school to prison pipeline at disproportionate rates, attend school in underresourced education systems, and often have little or no access to vital health services.
The Senior Supervising Attorney (Alabama) leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s children’s rights work throughout the state of Alabama. This person is responsible for working with the Deputy Legal Director to develop the vision and strategy for children’s rights work in Alabama. The Senior Supervising Attorney will supervise a dedicated team of staff attorneys, policy counsel, advocates, support staff, and others. Under the Senior Supervising Attorney’s leadership, the team will use every tool at our disposal to challenge the structural inequalities that send children into the school to prison pipeline, educate them in unjustly inadequate schools, and prevent them from accessing the services they need to flourish in their communities.
Specifically, the Senior Supervising Attorney will be responsible for developing and litigating impact cases raising constitutional and statutory claims in Alabama and federal courts, at both trial and appellate levels. The Senior Supervising Attorney will engage in litigation and myriad forms of public advocacy related to civil rights issues, particularly relating 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, segregation/re-segregation); and improving children’s access to Medicaid and other vital health services.
The focus of the position may change as warranted by changes in the law, the circumstances in Alabama, and/or the needs of the organization.
Under the supervision of the Deputy Legal Director, the Senior Supervising Attorney will:
• Lead the development and implementation of SPLC’s children’s rights work in Alabama;
• Develop new cases and campaigns and lead litigation and public advocacy;
• Supervise and manage the work of Policy Counsel, Senior Staff Attorneys, Staff Attorneys, Law Fellows, and other legal staff;
• Assist in supervising and managing the work of the regional data analyst and regional researcher/policy specialist;
• Collaborate with the Deputy Legal Director and the Policy Counsel to identify and support the advancement of state and local policy priorities and testify to legislative bodies upon request;
• Collaborate with the Deputy Legal Director and the Communications Department to develop communication strategies around cases and campaigns and serve as spokesperson upon request;
• Supervise outreach activities related to cases and campaigns;
• Communicate regularly with SPLC staff across the southern region about cases, campaigns, and strategies;
• Represent SPLC in various forums, including before community groups, legislatures, state agencies, and the press; and
• Other duties as may be assigned to meet SPLC needs.
• Juris Doctorate (JD) Degree;
• At least seven (7) years of federal court civil litigation or comparable legal experience, except in unusual circumstances to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis;
• At least two (2) years of managerial experience, preferably of legal staff, including experience in hiring, training, performance evaluation, mentoring, etc.;
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity;
• Demonstrated leadership in building and maintaining an innovative and positive working culture;
• Excellent research and writing skills; and,
• Admission to the Alabama Bar or willingness to sit for the next Bar Exam.
• Analytical skills applied 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;
• Demonstrated experience assisting with or conducting briefings with internal and external partners and other stakeholders, when necessary;
• Demonstrated knowledge of at least two of the following areas: 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, Olmstead/integration mandate policy, home and community-based services); and
• Spanish or other language skills relevant to the Southeast.
Knowledge, skills and abilities:
• Creativity and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies;
• Initiative, vision, and a commitment to social justice;
• Leadership skills and experience, including leading large-scale litigation;
• Excellent communication and 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;
• Ability to prioritize responsibilities and 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; and
• Aptitude for and willingness to be a team player.
Other Special Considerations:
This job is performed under general office conditions and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions. Willingness to travel and willingness to work varied/flexible hours are a must. The amount of travel will vary based upon the needs of SPLC.
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.
Please submit your resume, cover letter, a writing sample (up to 10 pages), and a copy of your post-secondary transcript(s) (official or unofficial).
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.