The Program: In 2020, the Reporters Committee is launching its Local Legal Initiative (LLI) in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee to provide pro bono legal support for local enterprise and investigative journalism.
The Positions: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press seeks five attorneys with at least three years of litigation experience as part of its new Local Legal Initiative (LLI). One attorney will be based in each LLI state: Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Supported by a generous investment from the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation, these five newly created two-year positions will provide on-the-ground litigation and other legal support to journalists and news organizations in their respective states.
LLI attorneys at the Reporters Committee will participate in all aspects of our First Amendment and media law work. They will represent news organizations and individual journalists in their respective states in impact and defense litigation involving access to judicial records/proceedings, freedom of information, libel, and other newsgathering and First Amendment matters to foster enterprise and investigative reporting. They will also facilitate public records and other media law trainings for journalists, and work with stakeholders across their respective states to increase visibility of the LLI and ensure the program is making a measurable impact on the ability of journalists to do investigative and enterprise journalism in the state.
These full-time positions report to the Legal Director and will last two years, with the potential for an extension. The LLI attorneys will be the only Reporters Committee staff member in their respective states but will be a fully integrated part of RCFP’s legal staff.
Key responsibilities include:
• Litigating impact cases involving access to court records/proceedings and issues arising under freedom of information laws, including the drafting of pleadings, motions and briefs and arguing motions;
• Handling administrative appeals under freedom of information laws and similar pre-litigation matters under applicable laws;
• Managing relationships with partners across the state;
• Conducting educational trainings for journalists and news organizations on media law topics.
Assignment, supervision, and professional development:
• The LLI attorney will work as part of the legal team and will be supervised by the Legal Director.
• The LLI attorney will benefit from professional development and continuing education opportunities.
The Reporters Committee is proud to be an equal opportunity employer open to all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other legally protected status. We are building the foundation for long-term success and cultivating a collaborative and inclusive space and company culture.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, contact information for three references, and a short writing sample to Reporters Committee’s Legal Director, Katie Townsend, firstname.lastname@example.org. Email subject line should state: Candidate for LLI Attorney (please include the specific state where you are are located). Applications that are incomplete will not be considered.
• 3+ years of litigation experience with a law firm, nonprofit organization, or legal department of a news media company; admitted to practice in the local jurisdiction;
• Collaborative self-starter who is enthusiastic to help RCFP launch the LLI in the state and ensure its success;
• Excellent written and oral communication skills;
• Good judgment and the highest level of professional integrity;
• Prior experience handling matters involving Public Records Act requests, access to judicial records/proceedings, and subpoena/libel/defamation is preferred.
Additional Salary Information: Our generous benefit package should be considered. For all regular full-time positions, RCFP offers:
* A competitive base salary with 2 weeks paid time off plus Federal Holidays.
* Additional days off when the office is closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
* 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 accidental death, and disability.
* Ability to use pre-tax dollars for dependent care and commuting expenses.
About Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
A short history:
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was created in 1970 at a time when the nation's news media faced a wave of government subpoenas asking reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides pro bono legal advocacy, resources, and support to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. Funded by corporate, foundation, and individual contributions, the Reporters Committee serves the nation's leading news organizations; thousands of reporters, editors, and media lawyers; and many more who use our online and mobile resources. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter@rcfp.
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