Accountability Counsel is seeking a Communities Associate to be based in our San Francisco office, with domestic and international travel required. The Communities Associate will be part of Accountability Counsel’s Communities program, reporting to a Senior Communities Associate, and working in close coordination with Accountability Counsel’s Policy Advocacy and Research programs. The Communities Associate will offer legal support for communities harmed by internationally-financed projects. We are seeking someone equally talented at sensitively working with communities at the local level, as they are at effective international advocacy.

About Accountability Counsel

We amplify the voices of communities to protect their human rights and environment. Our team of world-class attorneys works directly with communities challenging abuses financed from abroad. We do not litigate in courts, but instead specialize in the non-judicial accountability offices that have been created to address these abuses. Our team of policy advocates works to ensure that those accountability offices are transparent, independent, fair, accessible, and effective. We conduct research to track global complaints and expose patterns in data that can be used to prevent harm. We also convene a global network of advocates to foster a movement for accountability in international finance. We have been recognized as a high impact social enterprise by Echoing Green and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation.

In the nine years since our founding, our team has partnered with nearly 40 communities to defend their rights, demand justice, and achieve historic victories. We have helped Chinanteco communities in Oaxaca, Mexico stop a hydroelectric project from destroying their critical natural and cultural resources and nomadic herders in the Mongolian South Gobi desert negotiate a series of agreements that address harm from a massive mine that threatened their traditional livelihoods. We have improved accountability policy at every multilateral development bank, at three United States agencies, and within international institutions. Our advocacy has led to the creation of several new accountability offices, and we have a new groundbreaking initiative on impact investing. Our research is, for the first time, exposing patterns in the global system of accountability that show advocates, policy-makers, financial institutions, and the accountability offices themselves best practice and where improvement is needed most. Our approach employs respect-based methods to ensure that marginalized people, particularly women and girls, are included as full participants in community strategies seeking accountability.

Specific Responsibilities

A. Communities Program (90%)

Support achievement of Accountability Counsel’s organizational mission and Communities program strategy. Duties include working closely with Communities staff and Accountability Counsel partners to:

  • support communities to access justice for human rights and environmental violations using accountability offices tied to international finance. Specifically by:
    • conducting trainings, meetings and workshops with communities, and local and regional advocates on how to trace financing and use accountability offices;
    • at the request of communities, preparing and filing formal written complaints regarding human rights and environmental abuses, including documenting abuses through field investigations, interviews, document reviews, legal and technical analysis, consultation with experts, and other research;
    • engaging and supervising consultants, law fellows, interns, pro bono attorneys, and/or law school clinical programs as relates to specific cases;
    • supporting communities in all aspects of the complaint process, in particular by navigating the dispute resolution and compliance review processes associated with accountability offices;
    • advocating for case-specific and systemic outcomes at development finance institutions, corporations, government agencies, complaint offices, and other relevant authorities; and
    • drafting other written materials for internal and external use, including letters, memos, blogs and other materials.
  • increase awareness of and access to accountability offices to enable widespread and effective replication of our model. Specifically:
    • participating in formal training opportunities for community advocates and civil society organizations;
    • engaging in direct case partnership with other civil society organizations;
    • providing specific, short-term advice to organizations that are actively using accountability offices;
    • creating and participating in strategic information exchange opportunities; and
    • sharing lessons learned from our cases in a variety of forums.

B. Other (10%)

Additional duties include:

  • attending regular internal organizational meetings and events;
  • contributing work as part of Accountability Counsel’s communications strategy; and
  • occasional administrative or fundraising duties.


The Communities Associate must have the following qualifications:

  • law degree (J.D. or similar); bar membership preferred;
  • demonstrated commitment to social justice;
  • positive attitude, a sense of humor, and excellent interpersonal skills, including a high degree of empathy, patience, and ability to work in a multicultural environment;
  • excellent written, verbal, analytical, and organizational skills, including the ability to review and evaluate highly technical information and/or consult with experts on technical issues related to internationally-financed projects;
  • ability to work under pressure, organize, and prioritize workload, and meet multiple and often tight deadlines;
  • ability to take initiative, work independently, and execute work efficiently and with exceptional quality;
  • good judgment and the ability to think strategically in a fast-paced environment;
  • willingness to travel regularly within the U.S. and internationally;
  • fluency in English; proficiency in Spanish preferred; and
  • ability to legally work in the U.S. (please confirm in your cover letter).

The following qualifications are highly valued:

  • experience working with or for non-governmental organizations;
  • direct experience with advocacy in local community settings;
  • experience living and/or working in developing countries;
  • experience advocating with senior administrative or political officials;
  • experience related to international financial institution and corporate accountability, human rights law and/or environmental law;
  • knowledge of, or experience with, accountability offices; and
  • proficiency in French, Portuguese and/or additional languages.

Compensation and Benefits

Accountability Counsel offers competitive compensation commensurate with experience. Our superb benefits package includes full health, vision, and dental coverage with the option to add a Flexible Spending Account (FSA); 401(k) retirement plans; and other unique benefits that make Accountability Counsel a wonderful place to work.

Application Process

To apply, please complete the application form below. Your application should include:

  • cover letter stating your qualifications;
  • resume; and
  • short writing sample (no more than 5 pages).

Applications will be received and reviewed until Thursday, January 10, 2019. Position to be filled as soon as possible. Due to the expected high volume of response, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted regarding next steps in the application process.

Accountability Counsel is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other prohibited category. We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, and all qualified persons to apply for this position.

Application Form