Protect Democracy’s counsels are responsible for driving our legal strategies in areas that are relevant to our core mission. From idea generation through all stages of planning and execution, counsels lead creative impact litigation, investigation, and legal policy strategies to deter, expose, and redress government acts that drive our democracy toward a more authoritarian form of government.
Counsels manage all aspects of legal projects, whether we are doing the work entirely in-house or partnering with law firms providing pro bono assistance. Counsels also have opportunities to draw on our expert and advisory networks for guidance and support and to supervise law students in our affiliated Harvard Law School clinic.
The counsels will be responsible for the following types of work:
- Developing and proposing ideas and priorities for litigation, fact-finding, legislative oversight and policy reform, or other legal projects consistent with our mission, in coordination with the rest of the team.
- Researching and devising innovative legal arguments and potential litigation approaches, and serving as creative thought leaders on subjects within our mission.
- Managing affirmative impact litigation, including developing relationships with clients and co-counsel and working with experts and advisors.
- Drafting and editing pleadings and motions; handling discovery, witness interviews, and depositions; authoring appellate and amicus briefs; arguing motions and cases in court.
- Drafting editorials and opinion pieces and coordinating with communications team to educate the public on legal matters and build support for legal strategies.
- Coordinating with policy and advocacy teams to develop and advance new legal and policy approaches for protecting democracy, including work with the private sector, other NGOs, the Hill, the legal profession, and scholars of law and democracy.
- Developing strategies for conducting oversight and investigations, including overseeing preparation and submission of FOIA requests; devising strategies to ensure appropriate checks and balances from other oversight organizations (e.g., IGs, Congress, OSC, NGOs); and creating legal tools and strategies to protect and assist government whistleblowers.
- A passionate commitment to the preservation of democratic norms and institutions.
- Experience (or the potential to develop rapid proficiency in) conducting relevant legal work, including experience in constitutional and administrative litigation; experience conducting affirmative impact litigation; handling legal policy or oversight in or around federal government; experience with FOIA; experience with government ethics, civil service protection, and democracy-protection laws (note: candidates need not have experience in all of these areas but should have familiarity with some of them and ability to quickly get up to speed in the others).
- Exceptional writing skills for materials intended for both legal and non-legal audiences.
- Excellent critical thinking skills, ability to reason through novel problems, and good instincts about how to get to optimal solutions.
- Entrepreneurial approach and the ability to create, initiate, and direct creative workstreams.
- Ability to track, prioritize, and, where necessary, triage work in order to use time in the most efficient and productive way.
- Rigorous attention to detail and the highest standards for excellence in execution.
- Comfort with full transparency on workstreams and with proactive managing up, down, and sideways to keep team members informed at all times.
- Comfort with an open and transparent culture that values constant feedback up, down and sideways.
- Comfort taking smart, strategic, and calculated risks.
- Comfort working in a startup environment, adapting as necessary to build the organization and support your own work.
- Comfort with team collaboration.
- Comfort developing relevant metrics and then meeting them.
- A healthy mix of idealism, sophistication and practicality, coupled with personal kindness and generosity of spirit.
- Bar membership in good standing in jurisdiction of residence and ability and willingness to waive into DC or other places as required.
About Protect Democracy:
- Competitive pay and phenomenal benefits. All positions are full-time and offer a salary and benefits that are commensurate with experience and designed to be at the leading edge of competitiveness for the social justice and non-profit sector. While we cannot match for-profit sector salaries, our intent is to not make finance a bar to people who want to do this work on the theory that paying for top talent will result in greater delivery of impact towards our mission. For example, our benefits package includes: three months of paid parental leave; a 401k plan in which we match employee contributions dollar for dollar up to 6% of salary; and full coverage for an excellent health care plan.
- Open to applicants from all over the country. The only requirement is that your location be one that allows you to complete the demands of the position and mission. We currently have staff in DC, New York, Boston, Virginia, and North Carolina, and we offer shared workspaces in those cities for those who enjoy working in an office environment.
- Commitment to a diverse workplace. Protect Democracy is an equal opportunity employer. Our culture principles emphasize that there is strength in diversity as we believe diverse teams are more innovative, creative, and productive. Protect Democracy encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.
- Ample opportunities for personal & professional development. At Protect Democracy, we invest in our staff, and that includes fostering connections between members of the team and providing opportunities for training and continued education. Candidates who do not meet all listed criteria should still apply, as our organizational structure focuses on providing mentorship and opportunities for professional growth.