The Institute for Free Speech is hiring three attorneys, including at least one Senior Attorney with at least 10 years of experience and two other experienced attorneys with at least four to six years of experience, in an expansion of our litigation and legal advocacy capabilities.

About the Institute for Free Speech

Founded in 2005 by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith, the nonpartisan Institute for Free Speech promotes and defends First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government.

Our specialty is the regulation of political activity. Our legal work primarily challenges campaign finance and lobbying laws that restrict First Amendment rights. We also represent clients in First Amendment challenges to laws that limit speech about government, and we engage publicly on the full range of First Amendment-protected activity.

The Opportunity to Litigate for Free Speech

This is a rare opportunity to work with a growing team to litigate a long-term legal strategy directed toward the protection of Constitutional rights. You would work to secure legal precedents clearing away a thicket of laws and regulations that suppress speech about government and candidates for political office, threaten citizens’ privacy if they speak or join groups, and impose heavy burdens on organized political activity.

The litigation and legal advocacy you would contribute to comprises about half of our program activities. The other half consists of traditional think tank work, such as research, education, communications, and external relations.


The Senior Attorney would serve as counsel of record responsible for all stages of litigation, including: research; discovery; writing correspondence; writing complaints, memoranda, and briefs; motion practice; and court appearances. If they possess the necessary experience, other attorneys hired from this search may also lead cases after a training period.

All applicants must have litigation experience and a strong background in legal advocacy. Ideally, you will have deep First Amendment or constitutional law expertise. Familiarity with campaign finance or lobbying law is a significant plus.

Other Responsibilities

  • Work directly with local counsel and clients.
  • Assist in writing advocacy materials, including legal backgrounders, blog posts, and opinion articles.
  • Write or assist with writing legal analysis of legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives.
  • Develop new cases.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson in cases and as a speaker at conferences and meetings held by other organizations.
  • Advise our communications team on articles and publications covering our litigation and legal advocacy.

All positions require some litigation-related travel, significant working hours, and the ability to act autonomously.

A strong preference will be given to candidates who can work in our Washington, D.C. headquarters. However, we will consider exceptionally strong candidates living and working virtually from anywhere in the country. In addition to litigation or advocacy-related travel, a virtual candidate would be required to travel for quarterly week-long visits to IFS’s headquarters after the pandemic’s impact has receded.

Professional Requirements and Qualifications

  • Passion for our mission to defend and expand political speech rights.
  • For the Senior Attorney role, at least 10 years of active trial litigation experience in complex cases with proven first-chair experience in federal court. Federal clerkships may substitute up to two years of that experience.
  • For other experienced attorney openings, at least four to six years of active litigation experience with an emphasis on discovery and motion practice before the federal district courts. Experience litigating questions of federal constitutional law is strongly preferred. A clerkship may substitute for one year of experience.
  • Proven innovator.
  • Strong leadership skills and a proven ability to exercise sound judgment.
  • Meticulously organized and detail-oriented approach to work product and a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, and work long hours when required.
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal skills and exceptional writing ability.
  • Demonstrated understanding of civil rights and civil liberties issues, particularly in the areas of campaign finance regulation and associational privacy, is a significant plus.
  • Membership in good standing of a state bar and eligibility for admission to the bar of the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.


We will pay a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Our comprehensive benefit package includes an excellent health insurance plan, dental insurance, vision care, health savings account, 16 days of paid office holidays, paid time off, paid parental leave, long-term disability insurance, commuting benefits, and a 401(k) with low-cost funds and an employer match.

To Apply

Applications will be accepted until all three positions are filled.

Qualified candidates should submit the following in one PDF file:

  • Cover letter detailing interest in the position and why we should hire you. Please also explain your interest in the mission of the organization and state your salary requirements.
  • Résumé.
  • A complete list of your bar memberships, if not included on your résumé.
  • Your preferred work location and availability to work full time from our headquarters or for periodic travel to Washington, D.C.
  • At least two writing samples from legal briefs that are an accurate representation of your legal writing in litigation practice.
  • At least one writing sample from an article, essay, or academic publication.
  • If you are selected for an interview, you will be asked to provide a list of at least three references. You may include some or all of these references as part of your application.

Submit your application to Talent Market via this link:

Questions can be directed to Katelynn Barbosa, Talent Engagement Manager at Talent Market, who is assisting with the search:

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.

The Institute for Free Speech’s First Amendment Fellowship allows recent law school graduates, judicial clerks, and mid-career attorneys the chance to gain practical experience litigating constitutional challenges. Fellows will work alongside the Institute’s attorneys to tackle all aspects of trial and appellate practice in cases challenging restrictions on Americans’ rights to freely speak, publish, assemble, and petition.

Fellowships are for one year, typically beginning each August or September, and are intended to prepare attorneys for careers in constitutional advocacy. The fellowship is excellent preparation for a judicial clerkship, a career change, a public interest litigation career, academia, or private practice. It can also lead to a permanent position at the Institute for Free Speech.

Fellows are expected to work full time in our Washington, D.C. office, but other arrangements may be available to especially outstanding candidates.

A competitive salary and benefits are provided. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, contact information for three professional and/or character references, and a writing sample to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis for Fellows seeking a position in the 2022-23 term.

The Institute for Free Speech (IFS) seeks fall interns to aid our External Relations, Research, and Communications Departments. Please note that, due to the ongoing pandemic, all internships may be conducted remotely.

Founded by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith as a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, the Institute for Free Speech (formerly the Center for Competitive Politics) exists to inform the public through litigation, policy analysis, media outreach, and educational activities on the benefits of freedom and dynamism in the area of campaign finance and election law. We promote and defend the First Amendment political rights of speech, press, assembly, and petition and oppose restrictions that limit the ability of citizens to participate in the political process and support the candidates and causes of their choice.


Primarily, fall interns at the Institute for Free Speech will aid the External Relations Director and Research Director by:

  • Conducting original research and producing a short-term research project in the area of campaign finance or political speech regulation
  • Authoring brief critiques of publications released by proponents of greater political speech regulation
  • Monitoring hearings on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures when necessary
  • Attending relevant policy and networking events at other organizations during office hours and infrequently after close of business, if circumstances allow
  • Assisting with other projects and administrative tasks, as needed

Fall interns will also aid the Communications Director and Media Manager by:

  • Blogging regularly on campaign finance and political speech issues with the guidance of the Communications Director
  • Authoring occasional op-eds critiquing the claims of those who advocate for greater regulation of political speech and arguing for a robust treatment of First Amendment freedoms
  • Identifying and excerpting stories for the Institute’s signature Daily Media Update
  • Tracking media coverage of the Institute’s issues
  • Updating the Institute’s various distribution lists
  • Maintaining the organization’s website


Qualified candidates should have an interest in political science or election law and in defending the First Amendment. The most qualified candidates will have completed at least two years of undergraduate study.

Prospective interns should also have the following skills and experience:  excellent writing skills, solid analytical ability and Internet research skills, familiarity with Microsoft Office applications including Outlook, Word, and Excel, a detail-oriented personality, strong initiative, demonstrated resourcefulness, and a willingness to take on a variety of assignment types — working both independently and as part of a team. Candidates should be politically aware (though no specific political preference is required).

Full-time interns may receive a stipend, as conditions and professional experience warrant. All interns working on-site will receive a full travel stipend via Metro.

To Apply

Qualified candidates should email the following to External Relations Director Matt Nese in one combined PDF to

  • Cover letter indicating your interest in the internship, desired focus (research, communications, etc.), and available work dates
  • Current resume
  • Two writing samples reflecting solely the applicant’s own work (preferably about 5 pages in length each)
  • A quantitative research sample, if available (likely via an Excel spreadsheet or an economics or statistics paper)
  • Contact information for at least two professional or character references
  • An unofficial transcript of all college-level classes

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. A fall start date is flexible, preferably in late August or early September.

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