Staff Attorney - Civil Rights and First Amendment Litigation

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Published 26 days ago

About the Organization

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation (the Center/CPLL) is a project of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). As leaders in bringing high impact civil rights and First Amendment litigation in defense of justice movements for over 25 years, the PCJF has brought groundbreaking cases that have forced systemic changes in police handling of demonstrations. We have successfully created and implemented laws and policies restricting police tactics and conduct, opened up public spaces for free speech and assembly, and obtained tens of millions of dollars in damages for persons whose rights have been violated.

We handle complex constitutional rights litigation, including landmark First Amendment and Section 1983 cases, civil rights and anti-discrimination cases, economic justice issues, exposure of government misconduct and Freedom of Information Act cases, and defend targeted communities and political organizations and activists. Our litigation work is integrated with outreach, education and advocacy working in partnership with affected groups, communities, activists and organizations. Our work is focused ultimately on creating meaningful social, political and legal changes and dismantling systems of repression.

The Center works to protect and advance the rights of protestors to organize, assemble and demand justice around the country. We defend free speech rights through affirmative civil litigation, including against the mechanisms of police violence, as well as criminal defense of protestors swept up in political arrests. Our rapid-response efforts to meet the needs of justice movements also include coordination among, and technical and strategic support to, lawyers at the unique intersection of First and Fourth Amendment rights.

About the Role

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation is seeking to hire a Staff Attorney with a minimum of four years of active civil rights/constitutional rights litigation experience and candidates with greater experience will be prioritized.

We are looking for a highly skilled, enthusiastic, creative and motivated civil rights attorney to join in litigation of existing cases and the development of new litigation and initiatives to defend and advance constitutional rights and racial, social and environmental justice in the United States. This work will involve the range of PCJF’s civil rights matters, with a special focus on the work of the Center for Protest Law and Litigation regarding legal matters at the intersection of First and Fourth Amendment rights in the context of free speech, assembly and protest.

The Staff Attorney will report to the PCJF co-founders, work alongside the CPLL Program Coordinator, and will be an anchor member of our team. We seek candidates who, working within a collaborative effort, can act independently. Our approach is to support you to your fullest capacity in terms of responsibility for litigation and including presenting the organization’s interests and advocacy to the courts and to the public.


  • Develop, evaluate and investigate potential claims, new projects and litigation strategies to defend and advance civil rights and social justice nationally, and work as part of collaborative efforts internally and externally.
  • Litigate impact cases through all phases including discovery, depositions, motions practice, briefing, correspondence, conducting thorough legal research, and court appearances at the trial court and appellate levels.
  • Provide direct defense to, and support to other attorneys defending, demonstrators subject to arrest for First Amendment activities.
  • Prepare FOIA and public records requests and litigate the requests as necessary.  
  • Draft publications and other legal resources including reports, fact sheets, and know your rights materials for public education and outreach and for audiences of varied backgrounds.
  • Work closely and cooperatively with allied political activists and grassroots organizations.
  • Engage in public speaking at conferences and community events on CPLL/PCJF advocacy and litigation and outreach to the media and public generally.
  • Participate in development and fundraising efforts as requested.
  • Provide leadership and supervision of fellows, interns and administrative staff as assigned.
  • Assist in other related duties as assigned.

Required Professional Experience and Qualifications:

  • Minimum four years’ litigation experience including § 1983 litigation (this may include clerkships).
  • Demonstrated litigation skills and experience including the ability to conduct discovery and take effective depositions.
  • Ability to draft high quality legal briefs and reliably complete research that is comprehensive, accurate and does not require secondary review.
  • Creative thinker in strategic and tactical planning to advance constitutional rights issues. Ability to develop and implement litigation strategies as part of a collaborative process.
  • Admission to the D.C. bar or ability to waive in.

Required Attributes

  • Enthusiasm for the work of the organization and dedication to civil rights and social and environmental justice issues. Resilience, fearlessness and calm when dealing with abusive authority, compassion, and a sense of humor.
  • Self-motivated with ability to create an agenda for the work. A high level of independence and initiative, ability to take responsibility to advance and complete projects and manage a caseload, and ability to respond to direction.
  • Excellent judgment, meticulous attention to detail, superior organizational, speaking, and writing abilities.
  • A strong work ethic is essential as well as the capacity to work well under pressure, to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and to meet deadline requirements and rapid response needs, including working occasional weekends and evenings if necessary.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with others both inside and outside the organization.

About the Organization

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation (the Center/CPLL) is a project of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). As leaders in bringing high impact civil rights and First Amendment litigation in defense of…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    J.D. Required


$75,000 - $95,000The salary will be competitive commensurate with experience and public interest legal work and is expected to be in the range of $75,000 - $95,000.


Fully paid health and dental insurance, generous paid vacation and sick leave.

Fully paid health and dental insurance, generous paid vacation and sick leave.


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Washington, DC
Associated Location
617 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

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SUBMISSIONS: Cover letter detailing interest in, and qualifications for, the position; a resume; and one writing sample of original work (5-8 pages maximum, excerpts are acceptable).

APPLICATIONS MAY BE SUBMITTED THROUGH THE IDEALIST SYSTEM OR MAY BE SENT TO: putting Job Application: Staff Attorney in the subject line.

NOTE: We are only accepting applications by email and electronically. Please do not make any Inquiries about the position or the status of your application as we cannot respond individually to each application.  We will contact those applicants that are of interest directly.

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation is housed at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund which is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, formerly incarcerated person status, marital status, disability, or any other legally protected status.

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