Protect Democracy seeks highly motivated individuals to join our team as counsel. In this role, you will develop and execute legal strategies in key areas relevant to our mission: preventing our democracy from declining toward a more authoritarian form of government. From idea generation through all stages of planning and execution, counsel lead creative impact litigation and other projects that integrate legal, policy, and communications strategies. Counsel manage all aspects of legal projects, whether we are doing the work entirely in-house or partnering with law firms or other organizations. Counsel also have opportunities to draw on our expert and advisory networks for guidance and support and to supervise and mentor law students.
The ideal candidate brings experience as an attorney with entrepreneurial legal instincts and an ability to generate impactful ideas; the ability to stand up and lead impact litigation, from day one, and understand how it fits into broader advocacy strategies; an aptitude for reasoning through novel problems, and good instincts about how to get to optimal solutions; and strong external relationship development skills, including with local partners, potential clients, co-counsel, and validators.
Protect Democracy recognizes that there is strength in diversity, and strongly encourages candidates from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds and from across the political and ideological spectrum to apply. Counsel can work from any location in the United States.
As counsel, you will:
Develop and propose ideas for litigation, policy reform, and other integrated advocacy projects consistent with our mission, in coordination with the rest of the team.
Research and devise innovative legal arguments and potential litigation approaches, and serve as thought leaders on legal issues within the scope of our mission, including election law, First Amendment law, and other constitutional questions.
Manage affirmative impact litigation, including developing relationships with clients and co-counsel and working with experts and advisors.
Draft and edit pleadings and motions; handle discovery, witness interviews, and depositions; author appellate and amicus briefs; and argue motions and cases in court.
Work with the communications team to draft editorials and opinion pieces and develop communication strategies to build support for legal and advocacy strategies.
Work with policy advocates to advance legislative and other advocacy projects, including by working with diverse partners ranging from grassroots organizations to the private sector to scholars of law and democracy.
Develop relationships with journalists and validators and pitch our work.
A passionate commitment to the preservation of democratic norms and institutions, and an understanding that our democracy has never fully represented communities of color.
Experience (note that candidates need not have experience in all of the following areas but should have familiarity with some of them and ability to quickly get up to speed in the others):
experience conducting relevant legal work, including experience in public law;
experience with and expertise in First Amendment law;
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 workstreams.
Ability to manage and drive complex projects to conclusion, including managing co-counsel teams and developing and managing client relationships.
Rigorous attention to detail and the highest standards for excellence in execution.
Ability to track, prioritize, and, where necessary, triage work in order to use time in the most efficient and productive way.
Comfort with an open and transparent culture that values constant feedback up, down and sideways.
Collaborative orientation, including ability to work well with people with diverse backgrounds and to manage up, down, and sideways.
Comfort working in a startup environment, proactively working to build the organization and figure out what’s needed to move your work forward.
Bar membership in good standing in the counsel’s jurisdiction of residence and ability and willingness to waive into DC or other places as required.
About Protect Democracy
Open to applicants from all over the country. Location requirements are flexible. 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 major cities like Washington DC, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as in Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Michigan, and elsewhere around the country. We offer shared workspaces in many of those locations for vaccinated staff members who enjoy working in an office environment, with the possibility of establishing new workspaces.
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, or veteran status.
Competitive pay and phenomenal benefits. This position is full-time and offers a salary and benefits 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 staff generally make more than typical nonprofit salaries. And our benefits package is equivalent to the most competitive for-profit firms. Our intent is that finance not be a bar to people who want to do this work on the theory that paying for top talent will result in greater impact towards our mission.
Ample opportunities for personal & professional development. Candidates who do not meet all listed criteria should still apply, as our organizational structure focuses on providing mentorship and opportunities for professional growth.
To apply for this position, please fill out the application here and upload your resume and cover letter as a single PDF. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and our hope is that new team members will join us by the end of July.
Please contact email@example.com if you require accommodations at any point in the application process.
Telecommuting is allowed.
About Protect Democracy
Protect Democracy formed to prevent American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.
Protect Democracy was founded in early 2017 by a group of former high-level executive branch officials who served in the White House Counsel’s Office and upper echelons of the Department of Justice and have unique knowledge of the norms that have constrained presidential power for decades and when those in power may be tempted to violate them. As many of us defended past presidents against legitimate oversight and illegitimate attacks, we also know how to leverage tools outside government to prevent the exploitation of power within it. We have since assembled a group of some of the world’s leading experts who have studied how other democracies have declined in the 21st Century as advisers, and are backed by a Harvard Law School clinic, pro bono relationships with many of the country’s leading law firms, and a cross-ideological advisory board ranging from President Obama’s former Solicitor General to former Reagan White House officials.