American Oversight is looking for an experienced, confident, and proactive Senior Counsel to join our team and help expose government misconduct and abuses of power. We’re a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog that promotes truth, accountability, and democracy by enforcing the public's right to government records.
From the federal Freedom of Information Act to state transparency laws, we file carefully crafted records requests to extract information from the government, and if officials fail to respond as required by law, our team has the expertise to take them to court and enforce the public’s right to hold our leaders accountable. American Oversight has obtained and published more than one million pages of emails, memos, calendars, text messages, and other records.
The Senior Counsel serves as a leader among other counsel, lending their years of experience as a civil litigator and their well-developed skills for case management and strategic thinking to not only their own active and potential cases, but to teammates on the Legal Team and others at American Oversight engaged in litigation, investigations, communications, or partnership activities, and to management.
Specific tasks will shift day by day with our work, but in a typical week, you will:
- Manage an active caseload of federal and state open records litigation in diverse courtrooms across the country at the highest standards of legal skills.
- Proactively, creatively, and independently develop future cases selected from a collaboratively defined list of litigation candidates assigned to you.
- Review investigative plans and numerous public records request drafts from the Research team and advise on the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the open records laws of your 6-8 assigned states as well as best practices for evidentiary development and reasonable request drafting.
- Maintain active communication and follow up with FOIA or open records officers in federal and state government agencies as AO’s point of contact for active open records requests assigned to you.
- Develop and maintain your expertise in FOIA and the open records laws of your assigned states by monitoring legal developments, participating in internal legal rounds, and through targeted research projects.
- Represent American Oversight in conversations with external partners on substantive topics or transparency law, or, more rarely, through presentations and trainings.
- Manage AO’s legal intern program (during intern season(s)) and mentor junior attorneys.
- Support organizational interests as needed, being prepared to step into the shoes of Legal Team management if chief counsel and deputy chief counsel are unavailable.
- Minimum Years of Experience: 10 years of relevant legal experience (“RE”) or 9 years of RE including 2 years at American Oversight (“AO”); 8 years of RE including 3 years at AO; 7 years of RE including 4 years at AO.
- The ability to handle a reasonably large litigation caseload within healthy and regular hours, with effective management of varied litigation demands, including the ability to ask for and accept help and collaboration productively where needed, all while contributing to other organizational initiatives and projects.
- High legal acumen and the knowledge of, or ability to learn very quickly, federal and state open records laws and related civil procedure.
- Superb brief writing and research skills with exceptional attention to detail, quickly producing high level legal analysis in a persuasive, concise and impactful manner.
- Confident oral communication skills, synthesizing persuasive and authoritative information efficiently and in a manner likely to further the goals of the communication.
- Strategic thinking that supports highly impactful achievements in litigation, investigation, or communication targets.
- Highly professional, courteous, and effective interpersonal communications, including with opposing counsel or government officials.
- Proactive and independent organizational skills to set realistic timelines for task achievement and make steady progress towards each milestone.
- Enthusiasm for collaboration and teamwork, including respect for all team members and others, including effective project and case leadership, fostering a trusting and enjoyable collaboration for the most effective team product.
- Excellent judgment, discretion, and integrity.
American Oversight is proudly an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building a diverse team. Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they have every one of the qualifications listed. We are dedicated to finding the best candidate for the job. Our hiring process is centered on assessing candidates with diverse lived experiences. We would encourage you to apply, even if you don’t believe you meet every one of our qualifications described. If you are unsure of whether you meet the qualifications of this position, or how this would be determined, please contact us to discuss your application.
- The starting salary range for this position is $130,000 to $142,000, commensurate with experience.
- Generous and comprehensive benefits package.
- American Oversight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
- American Oversight is a remote-first organization, and our employees can work from anywhere in the country. Our office in downtown Washington, DC is an optional workspace.
Interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis and will begin our first round of review on May 12, 2023.