Leonard H. Sandler Fellowship

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Multiple locations
Posted on Thursday, August 31, 2023

Leonard H. Sandler Fellowship

Application Deadline: October 9, 2023

Established in memory of Judge Leonard H. Sandler, a 1950 Columbia Law graduate with a lifelong commitment to civil rights and liberties, this fellowship is open to candidates who hold J.D. from Columbia Law School or have a degree granted by June 2024.

Human Rights Watch is strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our staff and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities.

The successful candidate may have the option to work remotely but may be expected to work from the office. We aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.


Fellows typically work full-time for one year in Human Rights Watch’s New York or Washington, D.C. office. In some instances other locations where HRW has an office may be considered. The fellowship begins in September 2024.

Fellows monitor human rights developments in various countries, conduct on-site/ in-office investigations, draft reports and/or other materials on human rights conditions, and engage in advocacy and media outreach aimed at publicizing and curtailing human rights violations.

Past fellows have conducted research and advocacy on numerous different issues in countries all over the world. Examples include projects on: international alternatives to immigration detention; migrant workers’ rights in Gulf countries; barriers to secondary education for Syrian refugee children in Jordan ; hazardous child labor in artisanal gold mining in Tanzania; threats to local communities from unrehabilitated coal mines in South Africa; and the private takeover of public housing in New York City.

Human Rights Watch will ensure that fellows receive training and mentorship, including regular and timely feedback and guidance on professional growth. Human Rights Watch is committed to ensuring a balanced workload for Fellows and monitoring staff well-being.


Education: This fellowship is open to candidates who hold a J.D. from Columbia Law School or have a degree granted by June 2024.

Experience: Prior research experience, including experience conducting interviews, ideally in the context of human rights research, is required.

Related Skills and Knowledge

1. Demonstrated strong background in international human rights and commitment to building a career in human rights are required.

2. Excellent oral and written communications skills in English are required.

3. Proficiency in one language in addition to English is strongly desired.

4. Self-motivation, ability to multi-task effectively, including having good planning and organizing skills and ability to work under pressure are required.

5. Strong initiative and follow-through, exceptional analytical skills, the capacity to think creatively and strategically, excellent editing skills, perseverance and flexibility while maintaining HRW’s high methodological standards are required.

6. Strong interpersonal skills to work collaboratively within HRW, as well as with external partners, are required.

7. Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations are required.

8. Ability to make sound decisions consistent with functions is required.

Salary and Benefits: The salary range for 2024-2025 fellows is US $70,000, plus excellent employer-paid benefits. HRW will pay reasonable relocation expenses and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline: Please apply immediately or by 11:59 PM ET on October 9, 2023 by visiting our online job portal at https://careers.hrw.org/ and attaching a CV/resume, letter of interest, and a brief writing sample (unedited by others). No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed. Due to the large number of applications only shortlisted candidates will be contacted further.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted to submit the following: two letters of recommendation and an official law or graduate school transcript.

Successful applicants should be available for an interview from mid-to-late November 2023.

For more information, please see the FAQs: Fellowship FAQs

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of governments and international institutions.