Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy

This position will be based in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania.

Position Description

The Program Officer for Legal and Public Advocacy will 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. The work performed by the Program Officer for Legal and Public Advocacy involves legal research, writing letters, drafting press releases, contacting university administrators and students, and interfacing with members of the media. This position also provides legal support to FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program which seeks to actively defend faculty and students who have had their free speech, religious liberty, freedom of association, and/or due process rights infringed.  Support work includes legal research, technical legal writing, preparing letters, and reviewing case documentation. The Program Officer for Legal and Public Advocacy also assists in coordinating litigation and other legal efforts through FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation Project. This position is supervised by the Director of Legal and Public Advocacy and also overseen by the Senior Vice President and the President.

Some specific responsibilities for this position include:

  • Assisting with supervision of FIRE’s Legal Internship Program
  • Drafting position papers, letters, and articles related to FIRE’s overall mission
  • Coordinating revisions or updates to FIRE’s Guides to Student Rights on Campus
  • Assisting in planning and implementing FIRE’s strategic advocacy plan
  • Drafting corroborate, peer review, revise, and approve letters to college and universities
  • Writing, Revising, and drafting press releases
  • Assisting in coordinating FIRE’s Legal Network and FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation Project
  • Writing articles, opinion pieces, and blogs concerning FIRE’s advocacy

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 will require some business travel.  Most travel will be scheduled in advance; however, from time to time travel on short notice might be required. It is envisioned that no more than 15% of overall time will be spent on travel.  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 September 15, 2011.


A successful candidate must have the following qualifications:

  • J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Ability to proficiently use the internet as a research tool, including specialized research tools such as Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw
  • Demonstrated understanding of philosophical underpinning of freedom of speech and ordered liberty
  • Demonstrated competence in public advocacy on First Amendment issues
  • Demonstrated interest in and commitment to FIRE’s mission
  • Demonstrated interest in non-profit work and public advocacy
  • Superior written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent research and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently and to manage others

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 conducts periodic evaluations where employees may receive raises or bonuses for outstanding and excellent work.  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.


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 (preferred) or mailed to:

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

About FIRE

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a non-profit 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 in order to gain more of a sense of our work and identity.

Working at FIRE

FIRE is located in the Curtis Center which is situated in the heart of the historic Old City section of Philadelphia, immediately adjacent to Independence Hall and Washington Square.   From this location, FIRE offers a relaxed yet lively working environment where the staff fights an ongoing battle to secure liberty on college campuses across the country. FIRE’s work involves complex and fascinating cases that receive extensive media coverage. This has resulted in FIRE frequently being featured in national news shows, radio shows, and in thousands of national and regional newspapers. FIRE’s senior staff routinely participate in interviews for major media outlets and nationally syndicated talk shows.

FIRE promotes a corporate culture and working environment where staff members receive a well-rounded experience that familiarizes the individual not only with FIRE’s activities, but also with the moral and intellectual foundations of FIRE’s work.