Staff Attorney (New York City)

Children’s Rights is a leading national children’s advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children. Every day, children are harmed by America’s broken child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights holds governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Children’s Rights uses civil rights impact litigation, policy expertise, and public education to create positive systems change, with a 25-year track record of raising accountability, protecting rights and improving outcomes for children in the area of child welfare reform. We are seeking a staff attorney to be an integral part of our organization and our evolving legal program.

The core strength of our national advocacy program has been the grassroots development and highly skilled litigation of reform campaigns to address dangerous structural failings in child welfare systems across the country. The organization has built on this core strength to expand the populations of vulnerable children we fight to protect, leverage system change across multiple sectors that serve children, create deep partnerships with other non-profits and the private bar in our work, and sharpen our reform strategies. Additional areas of reform include attacking the pervasive practice of administering powerful and dangerous psychotropic drugs to children in foster care without adequate controls and oversight, the systemic discrimination against LGBTQ youth in custodial settings, the failure to provide adequate mental and physical health services to vulnerable children, the unjust treatment of unaccompanied immigrant minors, the grave outcomes and lack of support for older youth “aging” out of government custodial systems, and the inhumane treatment of incarcerated youth. We are keenly aware of the intersectionality that renders specific youth populations even more vulnerable to systemic failures and the impact of multi-system failures.

Children’s Rights attorneys and policy staff, working with local advocates, thoroughly investigate specific problems in failing systems, develop lawsuits where appropriate, conduct extensive discovery, work with substantive experts and prepare cases for trial or negotiated settlement if possible. Post-judgment work involves regular assessment of performance and extensive negotiations with state agency officials, experts and court-appointed monitors. Attorneys can expect to be deeply engaged in legal research and analysis of claims and issues, as well as complex discovery and motion practice, stakeholder contact and supporting active investigation and litigation teams.

We are seeking an energetic attorney with 5-8 years of applicable litigation experience, interested in further developing their litigation skills under high-quality supervision, and in developing professionally to take on increasing leadership roles in complex impact litigation. The attorney will become an active member of several Children’s Rights’ campaign teams, often working in conjunction with local co-counsel, local advocates and experts.

Experience and Qualifications:

The ideal candidate will have applicable litigation experience, which may include judicial clerkship, law firm or public interest experience. Applicants must possess outstanding research, writing and analytical skills, sound strategic judgment, strong interpersonal skills, a healthy sense of humor, and a passion for social justice and the broader aspects of systemic reform and its policy implications. The successful candidate will be expected to perform at the highest level of practice, and to take advantage of opportunities to further develop professionally. Preference will be given to applicants with complex class action litigation, federal court experience and other transferable professional and life experience. Travel is required.


Salary is commensurate with experience and is competitive with top-level public interest organizations. Children’s Rights provides an excellent benefit package.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter of interest, resume, and one recent writing sample (preferably including discussion of a constitutional, federal court, or complex issue) via email to HR@childrensrights.org and include “Staff Attorney” in the subject line.

Due to the high volume of submissions, only applicants of interest will be contacted. No telephone calls, please.

Children’s Rights is an equal employment opportunity employer, and women, people of color, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people, people with disabilities, and people with unique lived experience or diverse professional or personal backgrounds and perspectives, are encouraged to apply.

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