Local Legal Initiative Attorney - Oklahoma
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (Reporters Committee) 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 its online resources.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (Reporters Committee) is hiring an Oklahoma Local Legal Initiative (LLI) Attorney. The Local Legal Initiative was launched by the Reporters Committee in 2020 to provide pro bono legal support to journalists and news outlets engaged in local enterprise and investigative journalism in their states. The Oklahoma LLI Attorney will advise and represent news organizations and individual journalists in Oklahoma in impact and defense matters involving access to judicial records/proceedings, freedom of information, and other newsgathering and First Amendment issues. The Oklahoma LLI attorney also will contribute to the Reporters Committee’s amicus and pre-publication/vetting practices for matters within Oklahoma; facilitate and conduct trainings for journalists and news organizations in their state; and work with stakeholders across Oklahoma to, among other things, increase the visibility of the LLI. This full-time position reports to the Deputy Legal Director.
The Oklahoma LLI Attorney must be based in Oklahoma; Tulsa or Oklahoma City are preferred. Some travel throughout Oklahoma and to the Reporters Committee’s office in Washington, D.C. is required.
Key Responsibilities Include:
- Representing Oklahoma journalists and news organizations in litigation and other matters involving access to judicial records/proceedings, freedom of information, and other newsgathering and First Amendment matters; this includes, among other things: intake/case selection and other strategy decisions; drafting correspondence, administrative appeals, pleadings, briefs, and other filings in trial and appellate courts; and appearing on behalf of the clients in state and federal court;
Providing counsel to Oklahoma journalists on legal issues related to newsgathering, access to information, libel, and privacy;
Drafting amicus briefs and—depending on the seniority level and experience of the attorney—supervising the drafting and work of more junior RCFP attorneys on amicus briefs in cases presenting important newsgathering and First Amendment issues in Oklahoma;
- Educating Oklahoma journalists about First Amendment and newsgathering rights, including by conducting trainings for journalists and news organizations on media law topics;
- Responding to hotline inquiries from journalists in Oklahoma and working with RCFP communications staff to provide comment to local journalists and news organizations for publication;
- Working collaboratively with stakeholders in Oklahoma and internally at RCFP to promote the LLI and its strategic goals;
- Depending on the seniority level and experience of the attorney, working with the Legal Director and Deputy Legal Director to provide guidance, supervision, and performance feedback to legal fellows.
- Admitted to practice law in Oklahoma or eligible for admission to practice law in Oklahoma;
- 3+ to 10+ years of litigation and advising experience, with significant to substantial experience representing journalists and other media clients in matters involving newsgathering, access to public records, and other media law and First Amendment issues;
- Self-directed with the ability to handle independently all aspects of litigation, including drafting papers, formulating strategy, and negotiating with opposing parties;
- Strong leadership skills with the ability to successfully manage—or demonstrated experience successfully managing—litigation matters and the work of less-experienced attorneys;
- Outstanding legal research skills, and excellent written communication skills;
- Excellent public speaking and oral communication skills, with the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with a broad range of clients and stakeholders;
- Good judgment and the highest level of professional integrity.
Compensation and Benefits:
Starting salary, based on experience, will range from $84,438-89,129. The Oklahoma LLI Attorney must be based in Oklahoma; Tulsa or Oklahoma City are preferred. Our generous benefit package also should be considered. For all regular, full-time positions, the Reporters Committee offers:
- A competitive base salary with 3 weeks paid time off, 4 annual floating days, and all federal holidays;
- A retirement savings plan, including a 5% employer contribution after 3 months of service;
- Comprehensive employer paid insurance coverage, including medical, dental, and vision, life and accidental death, and disability;
- Ability to use pre-tax dollars for dependent care and commuting expenses.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and contact information for three references. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.
All Reporters Committee employees must be fully vaccinated/boosted against COVID or present a satisfactory medical or religious/ethical/moral accommodation.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 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 the Reporters Committee are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, ethnicity, age, religion or belief, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. The Reporters Committee will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics.