Deputy Legal Director & Policy Counsel

  • 1156 15th St NW, Washington, 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

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) is currently seeking an attorney with at least twelve years of experience to serve as its Deputy Legal Director and Policy Counsel.  This position presents a unique opportunity for an experienced media attorney to help oversee a growing, mission-driven legal team working to defend the First Amendment and newsgathering rights of journalists, and to take a lead role in policy and advocacy efforts on behalf of the Reporters Committee.

The Deputy Legal Director & Policy Counsel will work closely with and be responsible for assisting the Legal Director in managing the Reporters Committee’s legal portfolio, including developing and implementing legal program priorities, and overseeing RCFP attorney development, and legal fellowship and summer legal intern hiring.  This non-litigation position will also work closely with Reporters Committee leadership and support the Legal Director in implementing the Reporters Committee’s strategic goals.

The Deputy Legal Director and Policy Counsel will also collaborate with other senior leadership, including the Executive Director and the Director of the Technology and Press Freedom Project to advance RCFP’s public policy priorities at the federal, state, and local levels.  RCFP uses an integrated advocacy approach—including legal work, policy analysis and research, and public education—to preserve and promote newsgathering and First Amendment rights. 

The position will require an attorney with significant media law experience, excellent writing and oral communication skills, as well as experience managing teams and successfully supervising the work of less-experienced attorneys.  Experience representing journalists and news organizations in matters involving access to judicial records/proceedings, freedom of information, libel, and other newsgathering and First Amendment matters, is required.

This full-time, non-litigation position will be based in Washington, D.C. and will report to the Legal Director.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Working with the Legal Director and other Reporters Committee senior leaders to develop and implement RCFP’s legal program priorities and manage RCFP’s legal portfolio, including the Local Legal Initiative;
  • Working with the Legal Director to oversee RCFP attorney career development, including performance assessments, and managing legal fellow and summer legal intern hiring;
  • Assisting the Legal Director with managing and supervising the work of less-experienced attorneys, including reviewing amicus briefs and other filings;
  • Identifying, developing, and implementing public policy advocacy strategies at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with the Reporters Committee’s mission and priorities;
  • Monitoring, researching, and analyzing issues in proposed federal, state and local legislation and/or agency action affecting the First Amendment or newsgathering rights of journalists and news organizations;
  • Drafting and delivering legislative testimony at the federal, state, and local levels; preparing administrative comments, letters, or other advocacy material; and participating in meetings with elected and administrative officials and their staff;
  • Representing the Reporters Committee in coalitions, partnerships, and task forces working to defend the First Amendment and newsgathering rights of journalists;
  • Working collaboratively with RCFP attorneys and other staff to advance national, state, and local reforms consistent with the Reporters Committee’s mission and priorities;
  • Researching, writing, publishing, and disseminating policy briefs, fact sheets, talking points, reports, and other documents regarding RCFP’s legislative and policy issues consistent with the Reporters Committee’s mission and priorities.

Qualifications

Required 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 12 years of combined legal and policy experience, with meaningful experience representing the interests of journalists and news organizations in matters involving access to judicial records/proceedings, freedom of information, libel, and other newsgathering and First Amendment matters;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Must have strong leadership skills and be able to successfully mentor and supervise the legal work of less-experienced attorneys;
  • 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.