Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in August 2007 and works across the South. Our mission is to promote justice by partnering with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights. SCSJ’s focus areas are community-driven, and currently include voting rights, justice system reform, youth justice, and environmental justice. SCSJ provides comprehensive resources for communities seeking to create structural change in areas from research and litigation to organizing and communications and utilizes all mechanisms for supporting those communities, including movement lawyering strategies.

For more information about our work and our unique community lawyering approach, visit our website at www.scsj.org.

Justice System Reform's Vision and Framework: 

The Justice System Reform (JSR) program promotes social, economic, and racial justice by focusing on directly affected communities who bear the brunt of our deeply flawed and intractably racist system of mass incarceration. Informed and led by community input, we use litigation, organizing, issue advocacy campaigns, communications, and expert policy analysis in a braided approach to disrupt, dismantle, and reimagine. Our work seeks to support, protect, and empower safe and healthy communities while creating a less punitive, more accountable criminal legal system. JSR also seeks to increase our grassroots partners’ capacity to build power and achieve demands that change the living conditions of their base.

Responsibilities for Senior Counsel, Justice System Reform: 

  • Consistently identify, develop, and implement litigation, legislative, and policy reform strategies at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with SCSJ’s priorities.
  • Assume “first chair” leadership roles in SCSJ cases, including: strategizing the case and its litigation, handling all anticipated litigation responsibilities, delegating responsibilities to more junior staff where appropriate, communicating effectively with SCSJ team members, co-counsel, and clients about the case.
  • Provide legal and policy analysis and advocacy to grassroots campaigns, partners, and individuals fighting for criminal justice reform, economic justice, racial justice, and dignity for all.
  • Represent SCSJ in advocacy and informational communications and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities, directly impacted individuals, and government officials (e.g., state legislators, prosecutors, county commissioners, etc.).
  • Work with colleagues to identify new partners and potential cases to further SCSJ’s overall mission.
  • Help other members of the JSR team develop their own advocacy skills and serve as a direct participant on a variety of cases and grassroots campaigns.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with SCSJ’s partners and help expand the reach of SCSJ’s criminal justice transformation work throughout the South.
  • Participate in professional development to sharpen skills as a movement lawyer and policy expert.

Required Qualifications: 

  • Licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina, or ability to waive in promptly.
  • At least eight (8) years of relevant legal advocacy or policy reform at the federal, state, or local level in the areas of either criminal justice or civil rights.
  • Excellent research, writing, and public speaking skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice principles and to SCSJ’s community-lawyering model of practice
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage strong relationships and partnerships with coalitions of organizations and community members.
  • Demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically, including an ability to lead and manage litigation or issue-advocacy campaigns involving multiple issues and stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to be self-reliant, self-directed, and highly efficient; to independently resolve problems; to communicate clearly as part of a cross-disciplinary team of lawyers, communications specialists, organizers, and researchers; to take responsibility for multiple cases at a time; and be a strong team player.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; respect for differences in race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, and socioeconomic background
  • As needed, the ability to travel – locally, regionally, and nationally – and work evenings and weekends.

Salary and Benefits:

The Senior JSR Counsel salary for this position is $80,000 to $105,000 a year commensurate with experience and includes comprehensive health and retirement plans.

Location: 

SCSJ’s physical office is located in Durham, North Carolina. SCSJ is a hybrid work environment; staff are expected to work in the Durham office at least three days per week.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement: 

SCSJ is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, creed, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, personal appearance, marital or family status, citizenship, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, genetic information, natural hair styles, or other status as protected by State and Federal laws. It is our intention to promote the full realization of equality in opportunity and employment. 

A Note to Historically Marginalized Job Candidates: 

Research has shown women, nonbinary individuals, people of color and other historically marginalized individuals often refrain from applying for positions unless they believe they fulfill each and every requirement outlined in a job description. However, it's crucial to recognize that meeting every criterion is seldom a reality for any applicant. Our commitment lies in cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment and prioritizing finding the most suitable candidate for the role — who we know may emerge from a less conventional background. We wholeheartedly urge you to submit your application, even if you feel you don't perfectly align with every specification outlined.

To Apply: 

Candidates must upload a resume, cover letter, and two writing samples through the application form here. Please label submissions with your first and last name.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.