The Institute for Free Speech is hiring a Senior Attorney with a minimum of seven years of experience. The location for this position is either at our Washington, D.C. office or remotely anywhere in the United States.

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.

Litigation and legal advocacy comprise about half of our program activities. The other half consists of traditional think tank work, such as research, education, communications, and external relations.

This position supports our litigation efforts.

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. We challenge laws, practices, and policies that infringe upon First Amendment freedoms, such as speech codes that censor parents at school board meetings, laws restricting people’s ability to give and receive campaign contributions, and any intrusion into people’s private political associations. You would work to hold censors accountable; and to secure legal precedents clearing away a thicket of laws, regulations, and practices that suppress speech about government and candidates for political office, threaten citizens’ privacy if they speak or join groups, and impose heavy burdens on political activity.


• Serve as counsel of record responsible for all stages of litigation, including: initial case formation; research; discovery, including taking and defending depositions; writing correspondence; writing complaints, memoranda, and briefs; motion practice; and court appearances.
• Interview clients, figure out what is important and what is not, and create brief coherent, concise stories worth telling in court that would effectively advance our mission to secure First Amendment rights — at the district court level, and on appeal.
• Assist in writing advocacy materials, including legal backgrounders, blog posts, and opinion articles.
• Occasionally write or assist with writing legal analysis of legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives.
• 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.
• As our practice is national in scope, this position requires litigation-related travel.
• We will consider 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 occasional in-person meetings and training seminars

Professional Requirements and Qualifications:

Applicants must have demonstrated, recent experience in conducting and, preferably, creating, meaningful federal civil litigation. Strong writing skills, attention to detail, and the ability to “get” how litigation works are each a must, as is proficiency in Microsoft Word. We are not looking for law review articles, think pieces, or copy editors. We need a hands-on, practical, self-starting litigator who can bring and navigate a case from start to finish. If you have not done that well and recently, please apply for a more suitable position when we have one available. The abilities to act autonomously, and to put in litigation-level hours when needed, are required.

• Passion for our mission to defend and expand political speech rights.
• At least seven years of active litigation experience in complex cases with proven first-chair experience in federal court. Federal clerkships may substitute up to two years of that experience. Mere supervisory, editing, or management experience is insufficient.
• Ideally, you will have deep First Amendment or constitutional law expertise. Familiarity with campaign finance or lobbying law is a plus.
• 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.
• Membership in good standing of a state bar or the D.C. Bar. If not admitted to the D.C. Bar, you must be eligible for such admission. You must also be admitted or eligible for admission to the U.S. Supreme Court bar.


We will pay a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Our comprehensive benefits 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 the position is 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 Institute for Free Speech’s mission 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, DC.
• A list of all federal civil cases that you have actively litigated within the past three years. For each case, please provide a one-line description of the case and your role in it, and, additionally, a brief summary of what you have done in litigating it (e.g., researched and drafted complaint, deposed two witnesses, briefed and argued the appeal, etc.).
• At least two legal briefs that you primarily wrote and filed in federal civil cases within the previous three years.
• 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.
There is no application deadline for this position. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This job will remain posted on our site until it is filled.

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

Applications have closed for the 2022-2023 term.

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 will be provided. Our comprehensive benefits 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 (for those working in our Washington, D.C. office), and a 401(k) with low-cost funds and an employer match.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, contact information for three professional and/or character references, and a writing sample in one combined PDF file to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis for fellows seeking a position in the 2023-24 term.

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