• Staff Attorney - Criminal Justice Reform

    Job Locations US-LA-New Orleans
    Req No.
    Regular Full-Time
  • Overview

    The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Criminal Justice Reform practice group focuses primarily on (1) reforming the juvenile, criminal justice and immigration enforcement systems so they operate fairly and equitably; (2) ensuring the dignity and humanity of those interacting with these systems; and (3) reducing the population of individuals detained and incarcerated in the states where we work.


    The United States’ mass incarceration problem extends beyond just incarceration under criminal laws—it also includes the civil incarceration of noncitizens. Each year the United States detains just over 350,000 people in connection with civil immigration laws. Our legal team’s work includes campaigns and litigation to improve conditions of confinement in immigrant prisons (including medical and mental health care, violence, excessive heat, poor sanitation, failure to protect from harm, First Amendment rights, etc.); end solitary confinement; ensure people detained in immigration prisons have access to counsel; and end the privatization of immigrant prisons.


    The Staff Attorney will litigate individual and class action cases raising constitutional and statutory claims in federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. S/he may engage in legislative work and public advocacy. The focus of the position may change as warranted by changes in the law, the circumstances in Louisiana, or the needs of the organization.


    • Litigate cases and work on campaigns under supervision of the Senior Supervising Attorney;
    • Research legal and policy issues related civil and criminal immigration imprisonment;
    • Draft briefs, motions, memos, reports and other documents in support of litigation and policy work;
    • Communicate regularly with SPLC’s clients, co-counsel, and partner organizations;
    • Represent SPLC in various forums, including before community groups;
    • Respond to requests for legal assistance;
    • Supervise and manage the legal work and related tasks of Law Fellows, Interns, and Outreach Paralegals;
    • Supervise outreach activities related to cases and campaigns; and
    • Other duties as may be assigned to meet SPLC needs.


    Education and Related Work Experience:

    • Juris Doctorate Degree;
    • At least two years federal court civil litigation or comparable legal experience, preferably including litigation of systemic reform cases;
    • Strong academic background;
    • Excellent research and writing skills; and
    • Admission to the Louisiana Bar or willingness to sit for the next bar exam.


    Knowledge, skills and abilities:

    • Excellent and consistent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;

    • Spanish language ability; 

    • Aptitude for and willingness to be a team player;
    • Initiative, vision, and a proven commitment to the struggle for social justice;
    • Ability to prioritize responsibilities and have fun in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment;
    • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively and efficiently;
    • Strong organizational skills, follow-through and flexibility around changing priorities and deadlines;
    • Ability to work on several campaigns at once in conjunction with Center attorneys;
    • Strong communication skills;
    • Understanding and sensitivity to issues client populations face;
    • Commitment to a non-hierarchical, client-centered approach to advocacy and ability to work on delicate issues in a compassionate and sensitive manner;
    • Experience working with diverse groups of partners; and,
    • Willingness to learn and use internal computer systems and databases; 

    To Apply:

    Along with a resume, please submit a writing sample of 5 pages, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial law school 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.


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