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First Look Media x Vance Center

The Position:

The Managing Attorney will be employed by First Look Institute & report to the Press Freedom Defense Fund Legal Director & the Vance Center Executive Director.

The Vance Center & First Look Institute are looking for a mission driven lawyer to help build a national pro bono law firm that serves independent non-profit news organizations & reporters.  This is an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated individual who is committed to support small independent newsrooms throughout the country.

With the support of philanthropy professionals & lawyers from the Vance Center & First Look, the Managing Attorney will have the challenge to oversee substantial growth of the pro bono project incubated a few short years ago. 

The Managing Attorneys responsibilities will include:

  • outreach to press & reporters organizations to present the availability of legal services;
  • intake of new clients; determination of legal needs;
  • communication with clients & law firms providing pro bono co-counseling;
  • coordination with law firms regarding legal services provided; provision of legal advice & representation of clients;
  • maintenance of up-to-date & accurate matter management systems;
  • supervising staff attorneys, the program manager, & other staff;
  • assisting in seeking financial support for the program from foundations, law firms, & individuals, in coordination with fundraising staff; & other appropriately related projects/duties assigned.

Program Description:

Lawyers for Reporters is a program providing pro bono legal services to nonprofit & local news reporting organizations throughout the United States. The program, which began in March 2020, is a collaboration between The Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Fund & First Look Institutes Press Freedom Defense Fund. Lawyers for Reporters assists early-stage local journalism organizations nationwide. Clients include print & online publishers, radio, television & Internet content providers, photographers, documentarians, videographers, & cinematographers, as well as investigative, advocacy, & academic publishers of public interest content. The strategic goal of Lawyers for Reporters is ensuring that no reporters needing legal support will be turned down because of financial constraints.

Lawyers for Reporters provides the full range of advice & representation that reporters & news organizations need. Newsroom services include pre-publication review, news-gathering liability advice, demand letter responses, subpoena defense, intellectual property licensing, & dispute resolution. Other services include corporate, real estate, employment, exempt organizations, & taxation advice. Lawyers for Reporters specializes in advising clients regarding re-organization from for-profit to nonprofit status & in establishing & managing subscriber/membership programs. To provide these services, it has developed & relies on a network of law firms that co-counsel with the Lawyers for Reporters team. In addition to direct legal services, the program provides training & capacity building through collaboration with partner organizations & technical specialists.

Lawyers for Reporters is building a staff of experienced lawyers with significant media & corporate law experience, lawyers with experience at media law clinics & post-graduate fellowships, a pro bono manager, a fundraising consultant, & administrative personnel. Based on the successful model of the Vance Center, the staff works in tandem with lawyers at dozens of law firms around the country in various areas of expertise engaged on a pro bono basis. An advisory committee is in formation to oversee the strategic & programmatic work of the program.

About The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

The Vance Center advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society & an ethically active legal profession. The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation. A non-profit program of the New York City Bar Association, we bring together leading law firms & other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives & provide pro bono legal representation to social justice NGOs.

About The Press Freedom Defense Fund

The Press Freedom Defense Fund is a program of First Look Institute that provides essential legal support for journalists, news organizations, & whistleblowers who are targeted by governments, corporations, or other powerful figures because they have tried to bring to light information that is in the public interest & necessary for a functioning democracy. The Fund also provides legal resources for operational needs of reporters & news organizations through Lawyers for Reporters, & provides training & education programs to an array of journalists, lawyers, & nonprofit organizations.

The Press Freedom Defense Fund fearlessly & relentlessly dedicates itself to protecting the First Amendment. Free speech should be regarded as a right, investigative reporting a duty, & whistleblowing an act of bravery.

The Press Freedom Defense Fund Advisory Committee includes Jameel Jaffer, Tom Rosenstiel, Sandy Rowe, Dave Schulz, & Nabiha Syed.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer-- people of color, people with disabilities, women, & LGBT candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we are committed to a diverse workplace, & to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.

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