Litigation Counsel – New Civil Liberties Alliance – Washington, DC
About the New Civil Liberties Alliance:
Founded in 2017 by Columbia Law School professor Philip Hamburger, the New Civil Liberties Alliance is a nonpartisan, non-profit law firm, which engages in public-interest litigation to defend and restore the liberty established by the U.S. Constitution. NCLA fights unlawful administrative power where it systematically disregards constitutional freedoms, such as jury-trial rights, due process of law, and free speech. Rather than resist administrative power each and every place where it threatens substantive rights and interests—that is, instead of always playing defense—NCLA targets key administrative mechanisms (tools and tactics) that broadly and repeatedly violate constitutionally protected rights. For example, NCLA opposes Chevron deference to administrative agencies, which undermines judicial independence and unbiased judgment. Coordinating with other civil rights groups when possible, NCLA designs strategic litigation to curtail the Administrative State’s depredations of civil liberties—a growing menace.
NCLA seeks experienced trial counsel and top-notch constitutional thinkers for immediate hire who share its passion for restoring constitutional constraints on the Administrative State. While NCLA will consider hiring experienced trial counsel for these roles who are not thoroughly familiar with administrative law principles, we are particularly interested in bringing aboard counsel with academic or other high-level experience thinking through the most difficult and complex administrative law and constitutional issues. NCLA has been at the forefront of national legal debates over judicial deference doctrines, social media censorship, student loan debt forgiveness, nationwide eviction moratoria, lockdowns, vaccine mandates, natural immunity, speech bans and mandates, structural constitutional flaws with and within federal agencies, delegation/divesting debates, the role of federal guidance, due process of law in administrative adjudications and Title IX tribunals, warrantless surveillance and information gathering, unconstitutional conditions on spending, and more. We need the very best minds to help judges comprehend the myriad problems with unlawful administrative agency governance and then persuade them to adopt statutory constructions and legal understandings that restore the Constitution’s limits to the actions of federal and state bureaucrats. If you are a lawyer who lives, eats, and breathes constitutional law but doesn’t mind getting in the administrative weeds where the Constitution is too often forgotten, then we want to hear from you!
Description of the role:
The Litigation Counsel needs to be deeply committed to NCLA’s mission and possess sufficient experience and wherewithal to run his/her assigned cases independently. The Litigation Counsel needs to be highly strategic about case and client selection as well as excel as a litigator. This position offers a unique opportunity to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from a position in a civil liberties organization. If being a key, influential member of a constitutional litigation shop and saving liberty from federal encroachment sounds like a challenge you would enjoy, NCLA may be a good fit for you.
In addition to handling his/her own caseload, from the filing of a complaint through any necessary appeals, the Litigation Counsel will be expected to participate in media presentations about their cases, to help devise strategic litigation plans, to identify viable litigation opportunities, to participate in making decisions about which cases the organization will bring, and to participate in moot courts for their own and their colleagues’ cases. Filing and pursuing original litigation, including by suing federal departments or agencies directly in courts of appeals where possible, is the mainstay of NCLA’s litigation docket. NCLA’s clients will be individuals who have standing to pursue a case and/or individuals who are fending off an administrative enforcement action that has broader significance.
The Litigation Counsel should be able to work with minimal direct supervision, while proactively seeking executive input if the situation warrants it. NCLA has a strong contingent of lawyers; it is seeking a Litigation Counsel who will add to its current roster of experience and skills as well as advance a culture of excellence, entrepreneurial zeal, and strategic action.
The Litigation Counsel will work from NCLA’s Washington, DC office and can work from home about one day per week. The Litigation Counsel will travel as needed for litigation purposes.
Finally, this position is ideal for someone who wants to be part of a growing, collaborative, engaged alliance. As NCLA’s name suggests, it is committed to creating a movement of lawyers and others committed to defending civil liberties in a new way: constitutional litigation to take away administrative agencies’ unlawful tools and tactics.
- Four or more years of active trial litigation experience, including complex case-management experience, preferably in federal court; must be able to bring and run entire litigation from soup to nuts with minor help and have done so previously
- Experience litigating the kinds of cases NCLA brings will be strongly preferred, including experience suing the federal government or defending against such cases as a government attorney, taking and defending depositions, and facility with motions practice
- Knack for finding clients and figuring out who would have standing to bring certain kinds of cases
- Ability to exercise good judgment, work independently on complex matters, while still knowing when to seek help (either in the form of additional hands on deck or in thinking through something novel or difficult)
- Passion and support for the organization’s mission and an ability to articulate that mission persuasively
- Excellent fact discovery, legal research, writing, copyediting, and oral advocacy skills
- Absolutely first-rate analytical skills to craft creative and persuasive new arguments about defects in administrative law and appropriate applications of constitutional law to protect civil liberties
- Enthusiasm and high energy for NCLA’s mission and for the work being done by allied organizations
- Top-notch interpersonal skills and demonstrated capability to develop a strong rapport with clients, colleagues, partners and the media
- Excellent organizational and time-management skills; ability to multi-task, track and meet deadlines, prioritize tasks effectively, juggle multiple cases at the same time, and attend to details
- JD required; top-tier law school preferred; Member in good standing of the DC bar preferred, but immediate eligibility to waive into DC is the minimum requirement
- US Supreme Court, federal appellate, federal district court, or state supreme court clerkship preferred
- Previous experience managing litigation in a government or non-profit setting a plus, but not expected
- Previous experience handling cases that garner significant media attention a plus, but not expected
- Law journal experience and/or previous experience writing op-eds, blog posts, etc. a plus
- Commitment to working in person at NCLA’s offices in DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood
- Developing cases from scratch and managing them through to a successful resolution
- Interviewing potential clients; conducting discovery, taking depositions, drafting interrogatories, mastering the record, doing legal research, engaging in motion practice, handling confidential information properly, etc.
- Preparing initial drafts of written correspondence, pleadings, and briefs
- Providing sound strategic advice grounded in the relevant evidence and applicable law
- Appearing in court for status updates, case conferences, evidentiary hearings, to argue motions, and to represent clients at trial; Representing clients before quasi-judicial or administrative agencies
- Negotiating settlements/other resolution with federal agency defendants in conjunction with General Counsel
- Advising clients of their legal rights and keeping them informed about significant developments in their cases
- Assisting on colleagues’ cases like a good teammate where your expertise is relevant and/or additional help is needed; participating fully in annual HR evaluation process
- Working with NCLA’s internal teams to co-create strong communications and engagement strategies associated with clients and cases
- Acting as a spokesperson as appropriate on issues related to NCLA or its clients’ cases; participating in media training and other prep in advance of any media appearances; giving media interviews
- Helping internal colleagues and external partners understand the issues in their cases and how they relate to NCLA’s mission; further helping them to anticipate likely questions, shape key messages to deliver, and ensure the accuracy of NCLA’s media efforts
- Working closely with communications staff to craft public-relations strategy for each case that advances NCLA’s overall mission;
- Working all media contacts through the Communications Director
- Mentoring staff and exhibiting a commitment to personal growth; instilling professionalism and promoting culture of hard work, continual improvement, fun, challenge, and reward
- Drafting op-eds, blog posts, talking points, and other public advocacy pieces in support of NCLA’s mission and cases; accepting speaking engagements in support of same (all in consultation with NCLA leadership)
- Supporting the development team’s efforts to describe cases and outcomes to donors and potential donors
- Traveling as necessary in support of litigation efforts
Total compensation for these positions is market-driven, competitive with other non-profit legal organizations, and based on a candidate’s level of experience. It will include health care, dental/vision, PTO, federal holidays, life and disability insurance, maternity/paternity leave, 401(k) with employer match component, DC bar dues paid, and other benefits.
HOW TO APPLY
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:
- A cover letter detailing your:
- interest in/passion for NCLA’s mission
- how your experience relates to the requirements and responsibilities of this role
- complete list of bar memberships (if not already on your résumé)
- salary requirements
- Two writing samples of publicly filed legal papers that accurately reflect your legal writing abilities in active litigation practice; one or more samples of either popular or academic writing that you think relevant to NCLA
- References appreciated but not required at this stage
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link: https://talentmarket.org/candidates/apply-for-your-dream-job/
Questions can be directed to Claire Kittle Dixon, Executive Director of Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.