Staff Attorney

 

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Information Society Project at Yale Law School Published: May 20, 2017
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Description

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School is now accepting applications for a staff attorney position with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA).  The staff attorney will have primary responsibility for developing and pursuing targeted strategies to achieve greater transparency and accountability within the U.S. Executive Branch.  The ideal candidate will have at least four years of significant litigation experience and an interest in working with law students and teaching litigation skills. 

This position is based in New Haven, CT and carries a competitive salary commensurate with experience and Yale University benefits.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

About the MFIA Clinic

The MFIA Clinic is a program of the Information Society Project and the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School.  Its two-fold mission is to support a robust investigative journalism and to enforce the public’s right of access to information.  The Clinic was founded in 2009 to help fill the gaps created as new technologies were leaving established news organizations in such precarious financial condition that they could no longer afford to pursue the types of affirmative litigation that are essential both to effective newsgathering and to a functioning democracy.  The Clinic today provides pro bono legal services to journalists, pursues impact litigation, and develops policy proposals on a range of issues relating to the preservation of a vigorous press and effective government oversight. 

In its first eight years the MFIA Clinic has achieved successes for a wide range of clients, including individual journalists at start up websites and major news organizations such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Pro Publica; and individual civil rights activists and international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Privacy International.  The Clinic’s diverse docket is currently organized into five broad areas: 

1. Government Accountability: Efforts to compel access to information that will improve public understanding of government operations, promote affirmative disclosure practices, and develop procedures to speed the release of information. 

2. Constitutional Access: Efforts to enforce the First Amendment access right by unsealing judicial records and proceedings and to expand application of the constitutional access right to government operations beyond the courts.

3. National Security: Efforts to assert constitutional and statutory rights to information critical to oversight of our nation’s security policies.

4. Open Data:  Efforts to achieve a system of appropriate access to health-related data and to promote science-based decision making.

5. Newsgathering Rights: Efforts to protect journalists’ ability to gather news in the digital age, addressing issues such as privacy, use of new technologies to promote transparency, and government regulation of Internet infrastructure.

Both the Information Society Project and the Abrams Institute are directed by Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin.  The Clinic is co-directed by Professor Balkin and Clinical Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow David Schulz, a long-time partner in the media law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP. Additional information about the Clinic may be obtained at the MFIA website or by contacting Clinic Co-Director David Schulz at david.schulz @ yale.edu (remove spaces). 

About the Staff Attorney Position

The Clinic seeks a candidate with a minimum of four years of litigation experience.  We anticipate that the staff attorney will primarily be engaged working with journalists and other Clinic clients seeking to promote executive branch accountability, with a specific focus on exposing the financial interests and potential conflicts of interest of federal officials.  The staff attorney will litigate cutting edge transparency issues, develop expertise in access and First Amendment litigation, and participate in the intellectual life of the Information Society Project.  The duties of the staff attorney will include:

-- Identifying and developing projects designed to increase transparency around the financial dealings of federal government officials and the potential for ethical conflict they create;
-- Assuming overall responsibility for active cases on the MFIA Clinic’s government accountability docket and supervising Yale law students working on those cases; 
-- Assisting MFIA Fellows in supervising summer interns and covering Clinic cases during semester breaks;
-- Participating in the Clinic’s weekly classes and providing litigation skills instruction to MFIA students; and
-- Assisting with the Clinic’s public education efforts relating to the ethics of government officials, public corruption, and self-dealing. This might include presenting on these topics at workshops, conferences, and public talks.
This position is based in New Haven, CT.  Salary for this position will be commensurate with experience and will include Yale University health benefits.

Applications

Applications should be sent in electronic form to Heather Branch (heather.branch @ yale.edu (remove spaces)).  Please indicate clearly that the application is for the MFIA Staff Attorney position.  Application materials should include:

-- A statement describing the applicant’s interest in the position, relevant practice experience, and career goals;
-- A copy of the applicant’s resume and law school transcript;
-- Contact information for three references; and
-- At least one sample of recent legal writing, preferably a brief or memorandum.
 

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