Legal and Legislative Policy Associate

By November 29, 2011

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

About FIRE

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonprofit, non-partisan educational foundation devoted to defending free speech, individual liberty, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, legal equality, due process, and academic freedom on our nation’s campuses. Please visit www.thefire.org in order to gain more of a sense of our work and identity.

Position Description

The Legal and Legislative Policy Associate will join FIRE’s full-time attorneys for one year to increase FIRE’s ability to monitor, evaluate, engage, and win additional cases. The Legal and Legislative Policy Associate will also expand FIRE’s capacity for research and scholarship, facilitating our efforts to increase legal pressure on legislators, regulatory bodies, and university administrators to ensure that student speech and due process rights are protected. With the support of the Legal and Legislative Policy Associate, FIRE will analyze new legislation as it is introduced; publish commentary and recommendations regarding legislation and regulations that affect student rights; coordinate meetings with lawmakers and policy organizations in Washington, D.C.; and identify problematic legislation as well as strategies for reforming such legislation to ensure the protection of student rights. Given the position’s focus, professional experience interacting with federal legislators is highly preferred. 

This position will last for one year. Some specific responsibilities for this position include:

  • Monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on legislation and regulations that affect student and faculty rights in higher education
  • Performing legal research on issues affecting student rights and authoring scholarship and "white papers" designed to bring attention to those issues
  • Coordinating meetings with lawmakers and policy organizations
  • Developing strategies to reform and/or amend legislation or regulations that would negatively impact student rights
  • Conducting presentations and briefings for senators, congressmen, and staffers to inform them about student rights issues and alert them to potential problems with legislation or regulations
  • Building relationships with federal and state legislators who are concerned with FIRE issues
  • Developing and leading grassroots advocacy efforts to encourage people to directly contact their legislators with concerns
  • Assisting in authoring amicus briefs for important civil liberties cases
  • Working with allied groups to bring more attention to FIRE issues and to support litigation to challenge problematic laws and regulations
  • Building relationships with the media to help generate pressure in government for reform
  • Authoring columns in popular publications to inform the public about issues with which FIRE is concerned
  • Assisting with continuing legal education courses hosted by FIRE to educate lawyers about how to litigate for First Amendment and due process rights

The Legal and Legislative Policy Associate will also assist in the daily operations of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program (IREP), tasked with reforming unconstitutional policies maintained by colleges and universities across the country by a variety of means. Other responsibilities may include copy editing internal and external communications, assisting with the editorial process for FIRE’s blog The Torch, representing FIRE in print and other media, undertaking special projects, and responding to general inquiries about FIRE’s mission, goals, and advocacy.

This position is supervised by the Director of Legal and Public Advocacy and also overseen by the Senior Vice President and the President.

Whether the employee is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C., this position will require some business travel between the two. FIRE will provide office space in Philadelphia; Washington-based employees must work from home or make their own arrangements. Most travel will be scheduled in advance; however, from time to time travel on short notice might be required. The hours for this position are customary office hours. Work on weekends and evenings is envisioned to be minimal but may be necessary from time to time.

The expected start date for this position will be around February 15, 2012, but we have some flexibility as to a specific date.

Qualifications

A successful candidate must have the following qualifications:

  • J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Experience with legislative process and regulatory procedures
  • Established contacts with federal legislators and staff members
  • Demonstrated competence in public advocacy on First Amendment issues
  • Demonstrated commitment to FIRE’s mission
  • Demonstrated interest in nonprofit work and public advocacy
  • Superior written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent research and organizational skills
  • Ability to proficiently use the Internet as a research tool, including specialized research tools such as Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw
  • Ability to work independently

Candidates also must demonstrate a full and complete understanding of FIRE’s mission and be willing to advocate for the principles contained within that mission.

Salary and Compensation

Starting salary is negotiable and depends upon experience and education level. FIRE also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes employer-paid comprehensive health insurance, a Section 125 Flexible Spending Account option, dental insurance, life insurance, matching retirement contributions, and a generous paid time-off plan.

Applications

Applicants should provide a resume, cover letter, a writing sample, and at least two professional references. All applications are confidential. Please address applications to Will Creeley, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy.

Applications can be emailed to will@thefire.org (preferred) or mailed to:

FIRE
Attn: Will Creeley
601 Walnut St., Suite 510
Philadelphia, PA 19106