Cornell Law School, First Amendment Clinic, Journalism Project Attorny

27 Sep 2019 2:11 PM | Rachel Settlage

CORNELL LAW SCHOOL seeks to hire a Local Journalism Project Attorney in its First Amendment Clinic. Reporting to the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic’s Director and Associate Director, the attorney will have primary responsibility for overseeing the Clinic’s Local Journalism Project, a special initiative of the Clinic that provides legal support to local media outlets, journalists and researchers in often underserved communities in states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, and surrounding geographies that provide a critical watchdog function.

The attorney will help develop and pursue the Clinic’s litigation docket, including by supervising teams of students, researching legal and factual questions, drafting research memos, working with clients and witnesses, drafting legal papers, and when necessary, presenting oral argument.  The attorney will also contribute to the overall Clinic’s strategic planning, participate in teaching classes during the semester and as part of a pre-semester First Amendment “Bootcamp,” help develop and administer the Clinic’s media law conferences, and represent the Clinic in the media. An important aspect of the role will be to help build a network of media lawyers and free speech organizations, including other law school clinics, that will allow the Local Journalism Project to increase its effectiveness and substantive and geographic reach.


This position is ideal for a candidate who is eager to use their prior litigation and press backgrounds to help grow the Local Journalism Project so that it serves even more media outlets and journalists performing important watchdog functions,  and to do so in an academic environment so that they can help train and inspire future attorneys in the field. The attorney will have significant experience in newsrooms and/or in litigating cases involving freedom of speech and the press. The attorney will spearhead lawsuits against intractable government actors who have refused to provide valuable information to newsgatherers under state freedom of information or open meetings laws and may also defend against government entities that have retaliated against newsgatherers on the basis of their protected expression.


This is a full-time position for a term ending on July 31, 2021 and is benefits eligible. Reappointment is possible based on performance and funding availability. The successful candidate will be expected to start no later than January 2, 2020.



·       Help expand and develop the Local Journalism Project’s litigation docket, including by working with local media outlets to identify cases and issues that warrant the Clinic’s attention, supervising teams of students, researching legal and factual questions, drafting research memos, working with clients and witnesses, drafting legal papers, and when necessary, presenting oral argument.

·       Help set the Local Journalism Project’s strategic direction, organize an annual media law conference devoted to local journalism, and speak to the media on the Clinic’s behalf.

·       Play a meaningful role in the administration of the Clinic overall, including participating in the teaching of classes during the semester and in a pre-semester First Amendment “Bootcamp.”

·       Travel as required for litigation, conferences, and speaking engagements.


Required Qualifications

Applicants must have a JD or equivalent, be admitted to the New York bar (or be in a position to gain admission to the New York bar quickly), and have 3-6 years of relevant experience as a lawyer, including experience in cases involving freedom of speech and the press and government transparency. 


Applicants should have excellent communication skills, both oral and written; excellent analytical skills; and the temperament and skills necessary to supervise law students and work collaboratively in a team-based environment.


Preferred Qualifications

Preference will be given to applicants who have experience dealing with the media, supervising other lawyers or law students, have strong relationships with organizations that the Clinic is likely to partner with, including media enterprises, journalists, and free speech and other civil liberties organizations.


To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience, Curriculum Vitae, two writing samples, and a list of references to


Additional information may be requested during the application process.


To ensure maximum consideration, please submit all application materials by October 31, 2019. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority given to early applicants.



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