Litigation Fellow

This position will be based in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.

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This position will be based in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.

FIRE is seeking a full-time Litigation Fellow for a one-year fellowship starting in September 2023. The Litigation Fellow will assist the Litigation department, bringing First Amendment lawsuits in support of FIRE’s mission while also participating in the day-to-day operations of FIRE’s Campus Rights Advocacy program (CRA). This is an excellent opportunity for new attorneys to use their law degree to engage in strategic litigation and advocacy on First Amendment issues to bring about real-world impact.

Candidates should have exceptional research, writing, and communication skills; a demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced environment while balancing a full workload; a strong commitment to public-interest litigation; and a demonstrated interest in freedom of expression. Exceptional candidates will have completed a federal judicial clerkship. The opportunity to extend or promote the Fellow will be evaluated toward the end of the one-year term. 

About FIRE 

Founded in 1999, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought — the most essential qualities of liberty. Because colleges and universities play a vital role in preserving free thought within a free society, FIRE places a special emphasis on defending the individual rights of students and faculty members on our nation’s campuses. Please visit to gain a sense of our work and mission.

Job Responsibilities

The Litigation Fellow will report to FIRE’s Vice President of Litigation, while also working daily with members of the Litigation and CRA teams. Additionally, the Litigation Fellow will correspond with other FIRE departments, external attorneys, students, faculty, and potential clients.   

The Litigation Fellow’s duties will include:

  • Identifying and analyzing potential cases for litigation and advocacy in coordination with FIRE’s Litigation and CRA departments.
  • Researching and drafting memoranda, advocacy and demand letters, pleadings, discovery requests and responses, motions, briefs, and other documents. 
  • Filing and tracking open records requests as necessary for assisting in CRA’s advocacy or evaluating cases for Litigation.
  • Assisting attorneys in conducting discovery, including assisting with taking and defending depositions.
  • Participating in court conferences, hearings, and other court proceedings.
  • Blogging about cases of interest for CRA and Litigation.

In addition, the Litigation Fellow will be responsible for drafting and editing media releases and other public commentary. This position will involve a moderate amount of travel and work on weekends and evenings should be expected.


Candidates must demonstrate a knowledge and passion for FIRE’s mission and an ability to articulate that passion in a way that will make others enthusiastic about our cause. Ideal candidates will have had a federal judicial clerkship. A candidate must also be able to demonstrate:  

  • Exceptional legal research, writing, and communication skills, including the ability to explain complicated legal concepts to non-attorneys.
  • Excellent organizational and case-management skills.
  • Knowledge of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Exemplary planning and organizational skills, including an ability to handle dynamic and challenging situations. 
  • A demonstrated ability to work productively across disciplines and viewpoints.
  • A commitment to pursue a career in public-interest litigation.

Candidates must be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school and a member of the bar of the jurisdiction in which they are based. 

Salary and Compensation

Starting salary for this position is negotiable and commensurate with experience and the government’s General Schedule (GS) payscales. FIRE conducts periodic evaluations where employees may receive raises or bonuses for outstanding and excellent work. FIRE also offers a superior benefits package that includes employer-paid comprehensive health, dental, vision, and life insurance; a Section 125 Flexible Spending Account option; matching retirement contributions; and a generous paid time-off plan.


Applicants should provide a resume, cover letter, approximately 10-page writing sample, and contact information for at least two professional references. The cover letter should specify a proposed start date and the preferred office location. The writing sample must reflect the applicant’s own legal analysis and writing abilities, with minimal editing by others. All applications are confidential. Please address applications to Cait Scanlan, Director of People Operations.  Applications will be received and applicants will be offered employment on a rolling basis. 

FIRE is an equal opportunity employer.