Oct 05, 2021

Vice President, U.S. Advocacy & Litigation

  • NPAG
  • Washington, DC or New York, NY (Remote until further notice)
Full-Time Advocacy/Lobbying Civic Engagement Legal

Job Description

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFKHR) is seeking applications and nominations for its inaugural Vice President, U.S. Based Advocacy & Litigation. Established in 1968, RFKHR is a visionary, high- impact advocacy nonprofit, pursuing strategic litigation on key human rights issues in the United States and abroad. The organization works alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations. The team at RFKHR includes leading attorneys, advocates, entrepreneurs, and writers united by a commitment to social justice. In addition to strategic litigation work, RFKHR educates millions of students in human rights advocacy.

At a critical moment in time for the world, RFKHR is seeking a dynamic and visionary Vice President of Advocacy and Litigation to further develop and scale the organization’s advocacy efforts to advance racial and economic justice and dismantle systems of mass criminalization and incarceration (criminal legal & immigration) in solidarity with frontline movements for social change across the United States. At an important inflection point for the organization, the incoming Vice President will lead the integration of RFKHR strategic framework and support and collaborate with internal stakeholders to drive the mission and direction of the U.S. based advocacy and litigation team. Additionally, the Vice President will play a role in the broader organization’s continued efforts towards long term sustained transformational change for the U.S. based justice system.

The U.S. Advocacy and Litigation team works to dismantle the scale, scope, and power of systems of mass criminalization and incarceration that disproportionately target Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, and those experiencing poverty. The team works in solidarity with frontline advocates who are directly impacted by systems of oppression to amplify their agenda in a way that helps them build local power in the areas of racial and economic justice, criminal justice, and immigrant justice. The team provides infrastructure that fills existing gaps and channels energy and resources directly to local efforts by co-conducting public education and advocacy campaigns, co-producing multimedia for ongoing use, providing policy analysis and strategy assistance, and building bridges with political and cultural influencers to bolster their collective efforts. Through these efforts, RFKHR jointly increases nationwide issue awareness and broadens public demand for the change that communities envision. As RFKHR seeks to integrate their domestic and international programmatic approaches, the Vice President would also lead a process to discern what level of litigation support (if any) to add to the program’s tactics.

Reporting to RFKHR’s Senior Vice President of Programs and Legal Strategy, the Vice President of U.S. Advocacy and Litigation will supervise a staff of attorneys and legal fellows. The new Vice President will be an ambitious, innovative leader, an excellent manager, and a brilliant legal strategist motivated to lead RFKHR’s domestic legal and advocacy work. The ideal candidate will bring a passion for human rights in the U.S. and abroad and a deep and authentic commitment to community centered advocacy and litigation. S/He/They will be adept at building and maintaining strong working partnerships that drive the strategic priorities of the team.

The ideal candidate will be a seasoned legal advocate with demonstrated experience integrating legal strategy across campaigns and program teams. S/He/They will be an excellent people manager with the ability to work collaboratively with the staff in equitable and inclusive ways that honor the identities, backgrounds, and experiences of the team and colleagues across the organization.

Hiring Organization

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights


Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Lead the U.S. Advocacy and Litigation program and manage a small but active and growing team to advance the program’s goals.
  • Assess, further develop, and scale the organization’s U.S. Advocacy and Litigation strategy and programmatic approach with support from SVP of Programs and Legal Strategy.
  • Serve as a primary subject-matter expert and external spokesperson representing the organization in the field and with the media on relevant programmatic areas.
  • Lead on various policy, advocacy, and/or campaign initiatives with partners as needed as the program scales.
  • Manage the U.S. Advocacy and Litigation operational budget and grants, set yearly program goals and priorities, track progress, and measure program impact.
  • Identify and secure funding and resources to sustain and grow the work of the program and our partners.

Supervisor Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the recruitment, hiring, and training of department staff.
  • Serve on the organization’s Senior Team (attending biweekly meetings).
  • Advocate for and support direct reports’ decision-making and innovation within program and collaboration across organization.
  • Provide feedback and guidance for team members to successfully comprehend and align individual goals with program and organization goals and strategies.
  • Provide constructive and timely performance evaluations for program staff.
  • Successfully align programmatic goals across the organizational with RFK Human Rights’ strategic priorities.
  • Advocate for additional resources, staff capacity, or training needed for program success in discussion with SVP of Programs and Legal Strategy.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

  • A JD degree and at least 7 years of experience working in the fields of criminal justice and/or immigrant justice advocacy (with the demonstrated ability to get up to speed on the substance of intersections of both fields) and demonstrated experience in a senior leadership or management role.
  • A demonstrated passion for RFKHR’s mission and demonstrated commitment to community-centered advocacy.
  • Experience with legislative advocacy, policy work, campaigning, and/or litigation as tactics.
  • Demonstrated ability to distill technical legal concepts of criminal justice and/or immigrant justice advocacy for discreet audiences such as policymakers and the general public.
  • Experience with movement lawyering, working with and in support of social justice movements, grassroots organizers, and community-based organizations in the United States.
  • Strong supervisory and leadership skills, you manage individuals and teams collaboratively with a commitment to fostering individual and collective development and growth mindset.
  • Ability to provide effective feedback, you’re able to manage up and horizontally.
  • Ability to initiate new ideas and initiatives with the ability to institutionalize them and build structure as needed.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong attention to detail and able to scope out errors, including a willingness to fix mistakes.
  • Exceptional time management skills, including the ability to manage multiple tasks and projects at once.
  • High level of integrity and discretion in handling confidential information.
  • Innovative thinking, a willingness to voice your opinions, and a strong work ethic are essential.
  • A self-starter who thrives in a dynamic, flexible, fast-paced environment.
  • Strong sense of teamwork that builds positive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and a willingness to help others.
  • Believes in inclusivity when working with colleagues with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Preferred but not required qualifications:

  • Successful track record or experience raising funds from foundations, individual donors, or other grantmaking institutions desirable.
  • Demonstrated experience working on high visibility advocacy campaigns, involving multiple stakeholders (including celebrity influencers) a plus.
  • Lived experience directly impacted by the criminal legal or immigration system a plus.
  • Working proficiency in Spanish a plus.

For the full position description and to apply, please visit: https://npag.com/rfkhr-vp-litadv

Industry/Service Area

Advocacy/Social Action, Crime/Legal, Social Justice





  • Flexibility and independence to help manage your work and home life: Staff have the ability to occasionally work from home or telecommute (post-COVID).
  • RFKHR values your health: RFK Human Rights covers 100% of individual-only costs of our platinum medical, dental, vision benefits, and subsidize the cost for dependent coverage.
  • RFKHR understands the importance of financial planning and saving:
    • An automatic contribution of 7% of your salary after your first year of employment.
    • A College Saveup/Loan PayDown program with an automatic $100/monthly contribution for any current loans or future loans.
    • An automatic monthly cell phone & internet speed stipend of $125/monthly to offset any phone & internet expenses.
    • Employees receive a $1,000 benefits card each calendar year to use towards food and home & life purchases to help support work from home needs.
  • RFKHR values your growth: RFK Human Rights provides an annual $2,000 professional development stipend to all full-time staff to use towards any courses, conferences, or training that would further one's professional learning and development. As well as professional development days/hours to complete these courses.
  • RFKHR loves to celebrate human rights advocates and our hard work! We do so by hosting award ceremonies, galas, summer outings, holiday parties, potlucks, domestic and international staff retreats, and spur-of-the-moment social outings.

Application Instructions

More information about RFK Human Rights may be found at: rfkhumanrights.org

This search is being led by Julian Jackson, Sarah Hecklau, and Robert Diggs of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer and believes we are stronger and more effective by working internally and externally with people of all abilities, diverse backgrounds, and a range of perspectives, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or underrepresented. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We do not discriminate in our hiring practices and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seek a diverse applicant pool.

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