Founded by law professor Philip Hamburger, the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm, which engages in pro bono litigation to defend the liberty established by the Constitution. NCLA focuses primarily on fighting administrative power and conditions on spending where they systematically threaten constitutional freedoms, including the freedom of speech, jury-trial rights, and due process. Rather than resist administrative power each place where it threatens substantive rights and interests—that is, instead of always playing defense—NCLA will target key administrative mechanisms that repeatedly and broadly threaten constitutionally protected rights. For example, NCLA will oppose Chevron and Auer deference to administrative agencies—doctrines that threaten judicial independence and unbiased judgment. Coordinating its efforts with other civil rights groups, NCLA will pursue strategic litigation that promises to curtail the administrative state’s threat to civil liberties.
Description of the roles:
NCLA seeks experienced trial counsels who share its passion for restoring constitutional constraints on the administrative state. These positions offer a unique opportunity to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from a position in a civil liberties organization. If getting in on the ground floor of a new constitutional litigation shop and saving liberty from unbridled administrative power sounds like a challenge you would enjoy, NCLA may be a good fit for you.
NCLA litigators must be deeply committed to NCLA’s mission and possess sufficient experience and wherewithal to run their assigned cases without substantial staffing assistance. While NCLA has litigation support staff, as NCLA continues to grow, an ideal candidate must be comfortable handling all aspects of litigation on their own at times.
In addition to handling their own caseloads, from the filing of a complaint through any necessary appeals, NCLA’s litigators will be expected to participate in media presentations about their cases, to help devise strategic litigation plans, to identify viable litigation opportunities, to participate in making decisions about which cases the organization will bring, to write op-eds about their cases, and to file regulatory petitions and comments. Filing and pursuing original litigation, including by suing federal departments or agencies directly in courts of appeals where possible, will be the mainstay of NCLA’s litigation docket. NCLA’s clients will be individuals who have standing to pursue a case and/or individuals who are fending off an administrative enforcement action that has broader significance.
The Litigation Counsels should be able to work with minimal direct supervision while proactively seeking executive input if the situation warrants it. The Senior Litigation Counsel will report to NCLA’s Executive Director and General Counsel, Mark Chenoweth. The Litigation Counsel will report to NCLA’s various Senior Litigation Counsel on a project basis.
Requirements for the Senior Litigation Counsel role:
- Eight or more years of active trial litigation experience in complex cases, including first-chair trial experience, preferably in federal court;
- A demonstrated capacity for identifying strategic litigation opportunities and taking innovative approaches
- Strong leadership skills; ability to exercise good judgment, work independently, and delegate assignments
Requirements for the Litigation Counsel role:
- Four or more years of active trial litigation experience, including complex case-management experience,
- First-chair trial experience preferred
- Ability to exercise good judgment, work independently on complex matters, and delegate appropriate work
Requirements for both roles:
- Passion and support for the organization’s mission and an ability to articulate that mission persuasively
- Experience litigating the kinds of cases NCLA will be bringing strongly preferred, including experience suing the federal government or defending against such cases as a government attorney
- Excellent fact discovery, legal research, analytical, writing, copyediting, and oral advocacy skills
- Enthusiasm and high energy suitable to the challenge of getting a new organization off the ground
- Top-notch interpersonal skills and demonstrated capability to develop a strong rapport with clients
- Excellent organizational and time-management skills; ability to multi-task and always track and meet deadlines; detail oriented and able to prioritize tasks effectively
- JD required; top-tier law school preferred; Member in good standing of the DC bar preferred, but immediate eligibility to waive into DC is the minimum requirement
- Federal appellate, federal district court, or state supreme court clerkship preferred
- Previous experience managing projects in public policy and non-profit industry a plus, but not expected
- Previous experience handling cases that garner significant media attention a plus, but not expected
- Law journal experience and/or previous experience writing op-eds, blog posts, etc. a plus
Responsibilities for the Senior Litigation Counsel role:
- Leading and motivating junior attorneys and paralegals, developing their ability to take on more responsibilities
- Ensuring quality control for all of NCLA’s litigation work product
Responsibilities for both roles:
- Legal Responsibilities:
- Seeking out opportunities to bring strategic litigation in support of the organization’s mission
- Developing cases from scratch and managing them through to a successful resolution
- Assisting on colleagues’ cases like a good teammate where your expertise is relevant and/or additional help is needed; participating fully in annual HR evaluation process
- Communications and Outreach Responsibilities:
- Working with NCLA’s Communications Director to implement any communications strategy associated with your clients and cases
- Acting as a spokesperson as appropriate on issues related to NCLA or its clients’ cases; participating in media training and other prep in advance of any media appearances; giving media interviews; drafting op-eds, blog posts, talking points, and other public advocacy pieces in support of NCLA’s mission and cases
- Operations Responsibilities:
- Mentoring staff; instilling professionalism and promoting culture of hard work, fun, challenge, and reward
- Supporting the development team’s efforts to describe cases and outcomes to donors and potential donors
Occasional travel may be necessary in support of litigation efforts.
Total compensation for these positions is market-driven, competitive with other nonprofit legal organizations, and based on a candidate’s level of experience. It will include health care, PTO, federal holidays, 401(k) with partial employer match, bar dues for up to two states, and other benefits.
HOW TO APPLY
Please do not apply for these roles unless you are an experienced litigator. At this stage, NCLA is not in a position to consider applicants that are recent law school graduates or seeking legal internship experience.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:
- A cover letter detailing your:
- interest in/passion for NCLA’s mission
- which position you are interested in and why
- how your experience relates to the requirements and responsibilities of this role
- complete list of bar memberships (if not already on your résumé)
- salary requirements
- Two writing samples of publicly filed legal papers that accurately reflect your legal writing abilities in active litigation practice; one or more samples of either popular or academic writing that you think relevant to NCLA
- References appreciated but not required at this stage
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link: talentmarket.org/apply-for-your-dream-job/.
Questions can be directed to Lauren Skiver, Talent Manager with Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: [email protected].
While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.
Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.