Authorized Director Opening at Institute for Free Speech –

Legal Director Opening at Institute for Free Speech –

The Freedom of Speech Institute believes that a very experienced attorney is required to manage their litigation and legal assistance. In September, President Trump announced the appointment of our longtime legal director to the Bundestag Electoral Commission, and it is likely that he will be confirmed this fall. Once the hearing on this nomination has been officially announced, the Free Speech Institute will continue to interview applicants.

About the Institute for Freedom of Speech:

Founded in 2005 by former Bundestag Electoral Commission chairman Bradley A. Smith, the Impartial Free Speech Institute promotes and defends the rights of the First Amendment to speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government.

Our specialty is the regulation of political activities. Our legal work primarily challenges campaign funding and lobbying laws that limit initial adjustment rights. We also represent clients on First Amendment challenges to laws that restrict speech about government, and we publicly participate in all activities protected by First Amendment.

The opportunity to lead our legal team:

This is a rare opportunity to develop and implement a long-term legal strategy to protect constitutional rights. They would work to set legal precedents that remove a thicket of laws and regulations that suppress speech about government and candidates for political office, threaten the privacy of citizens when they speak or join groups, and organize them heavily burden political activities.

The litigation and legal counsel you supervise comprise approximately half of our program activities. The other half consists of traditional think tank work such as research, education, communication and external relations.

Opening of the legal director:

The Legal Director will lead our litigation and legal assistance, lead our in-house legal team, and manage and expand our network of volunteer attorneys.

The legal director must have extensive litigation experience and a broad background in legal representation. Ideally, the legal director has extensive expertise in First Amendment or constitutional law. Familiarity with campaign funding or lobbying is a significant plus. The Legal Director will work with senior management to set organizational priorities. The position reports directly to our president.

As a senior legal position at a leading nonprofit, this requires significant travel (post pandemic, we estimate 10-20% for the DC-based legal director), significant man hours, and the ability to act autonomously.

Candidates who can work from our Washington, DC headquarters are given heavy preference. However, we will consider exceptionally strong candidates who live and work from virtually anywhere in the country. In addition to travel related to litigation or advocacy, a virtual candidate would need to travel to IFS headquarters on regular week-long visits after the effects of the pandemic subsided.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement priorities for the legal program, including non-procedural legal work to protect freedom of expression.
  • Identify and develop litigation opportunities to expand freedom of expression.
  • Oversee all litigation and legal counsel, and oversee a team that currently includes seven attorneys with plans for growth. Legal counsel includes statements before congress and state legislations as well as appearances in regulations and decisions before the federal election commission and other federal and state authorities.
  • Recruit new members of the legal team and oversee the professional development of the team.
  • Recruit volunteer lawyers to write amicus letters, participate in litigation, or provide assistance with other legal counsel.
  • Act as legal counsel in our most important cases.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with allied public interest organizations.
  • Act as media spokesman and speaker at conferences and meetings of other organizations.
  • Advising our communications team on litigation articles and publications and providing legal assistance.

Professional requirements and qualifications:

  • Passion for our mission to defend and expand political speaking rights.
  • At least 10 years experience in active litigation in complex cases with proven experience as the first chairman in a federal court. Federal trainees can replace this experience for up to two years.
  • Proven innovator.
  • Strong leadership skills and a demonstrated ability to use sound judgment.
  • Carefully organized and detail-oriented approach to the work product and a proven ability to work together in a fast-paced environment.
  • Proven ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and work long hours if necessary.
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal skills, exceptional writing skills, and the ability to manage multiple projects at the same time.
  • A proven understanding of the issues of civil rights and civil liberties, especially in the areas of regulation of campaign funding and data protection for the association, is a major plus.
  • Member of the state bar and qualification to practice law in the District of Columbia, the US District Court for the District of Columbia, and the US Supreme Court.