Pro Bono Director

  • 1156 15th St NW, Washington, D.C., DC 20005, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists.

The Reporters Committee serves news organizations, reporters, editors, documentary filmmakers, media lawyers, and many more who use our online resources.

Job Description

With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is collaborating with Microsoft and the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT) to develop a viable national pro bono media law network to support local journalists.  Together, we are testing ways to expand the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program, launched last year by Microsoft and DWT in California and Washington State.  The program has created a pool of pro bono assistance, drawn both from Microsoft’s in-house legal department and the law firm, to work with reporters and small news organizations to help them defend their legal rights and deliver quality journalism to the public.

The Reporters Committee is now looking for a Pro Bono Director to take on two key responsibilities.  First, to evaluate how to scale and expand the project nationwide to new communities and additional law firms and corporate legal departments.  Second, to collaborate directly with the teams at Microsoft and DWT to provide operational support to the pilot programs and the ongoing client matters.  This position presents a unique opportunity for an attorney with entrepreneurial aspirations who is dedicated to pro bono service to join mission-driven lawyers protecting the First Amendment and newsgathering rights of journalists while helping structure and scale an innovative pro bono initiative.  

The position will require an attorney with meaningful legal experience, excellent writing and oral communication skills, and strong administrative capabilities in managing teams and successfully producing detailed work product.  Competitive candidates will have a deep understanding of pro bono programs and institutional culture at law firms and/or in corporate legal departments, and prior job experience within such a program will be a substantial plus.  The capacity to undertake a landscape analysis of pro bono legal needs in an industry is necessary, but experience counseling or representing journalists and news organizations is preferred, not required.

This full-time position will be based in Washington, D.C. and will report to the Executive Director of the Reporters Committee.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Working with Microsoft, DWT, and the Reporters Committee to construct models for the scaling of the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program and facilitating consensus among the partners around network design and other key decision points;  
  • Coordinating outreach with the project partners and assisting with the pro bono pilot by building on existing intake procedures, operating structures, case selection, and impact metrics to enable expansion of the existing program to scale more broadly;
  • Performing a sophisticated landscape analysis of the legal needs in local newsrooms and the resources currently available, identifying supply/demand by types of cases, geographic region, size of news organization, and other factors;
  • Engaging law firms, corporate legal departments, law school clinics, nonprofits, and other stakeholders about participation in the new network;
  • Publishing a public report on the status of legal needs in the news community and the potential for a viable national pro bono media law network; and
  • Generating a pipeline of work for a nationally-scaled network and testing different approaches to growing the client base.

It is anticipated that with the viability of a scaled initiative established, the Pro Bono Director will implement and administer the expanded program. 

Qualifications

  • J.D. from accredited law school; must be admitted to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction and admitted to practice or eligible for admission to practice in the District of Columbia at the start of employment;
  • At least 5-10 years of legal experience, with meaningful litigation and/or pro bono background; prior representation of journalists and news organizations is desirable;
  • Understanding of how to conduct a landscape analysis/feasibility study;
  • Understanding of pro bono departments and contacts with law firms, legal departments, and legal service providers;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills as well as operational and administrative talents;
  • Strong leadership attributes and a demonstrated track record in successfully working with partners to drive consensus on key decision-making; and
  • Good judgment and the highest level of professional ethics and integrity.

Additional Information

RCFP offers a generous compensation package. For this full-time position, RCFP offers:

 

  • A competitive annual base salary based on experience, with 3 weeks paid time off in addition to most federal holidays.
  • A retirement savings plan, including a 5% employer match from date of hire.
  • Comprehensive employer paid insurance coverage, including medical, dental, and vision, life and disability.
  • Ability to use pre-tax dollars for dependent care and commuting expenses.
  • A collaborative and inclusive work environment.

 

To Apply:

Please provide a resume, a list of three references, and a cover letter explaining how your experience relates to the anticipated responsibilities for the position.  We will consider applications immediately and on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

 

The Reporters Committee is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce, and we strongly encourage women, veterans, people with disabilities, people of color, people of all ages, and gender nonconforming candidates to apply.

 RCFP is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Prohibits Discrimination and Harassment of Any Kind: RCFP is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment.  All employment decisions at RCFP are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, age, religion or belief, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.  RCFP will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics.