American Oversight is looking for a motivated, talented trial attorney to join our team and help us shine a light on government misconduct and threats to democracy. We’re a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog that advances truth, accountability, and democracy by enforcing the public’s right to government records.
American Oversight uses its extensive experience in open records law to act where abuse of authority and government power overlap. From the federal Freedom of Information Act to state transparency laws, we file carefully crafted records requests to extract information from the government. 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 and used those documents to ensure accountability, expose misconduct, and drive significant corrective action at all levels of government.
Our lawyers manage diverse caseloads under different state and federal law regimes around the country and handle all aspects of federal and state open records litigation, including research, drafting, discovery, negotiation, and oral argument. All lawyers become open records law experts and advise and collaborate with our researchers and others to create effective and targeted record requests that support our investigations. This requires initiative, skill, commitment, professionalism, and creativity in crafting and executing legal strategies.
Specific tasks will shift day by day with our work, but in a typical week, you will:
- Litigate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in federal court, and state open records law requests in state court (pro hac vice), on behalf of American Oversight and other clients, including:
- Serve as lead or second counsel across a diverse caseload, helping to select cases, set litigation strategy, and handle day-to-day case management.
- Supervise and partner with local counsel (from solo practitioners to boutiques to large firms) for open records lawsuits in state courts.
- Draft court pleadings, including complaints, motions, and briefs at the trial and appellate levels, including amicus briefs.
- Conduct discovery where permitted, including written discovery and depositions, as well as evidentiary hearings.
- Conduct oral arguments before federal and state judges at the trial or appellate level, including state Supreme Court arguments.
- Work with the investigations team to research and develop investigation strategies and opportunities consistent with relevant federal and state open records laws.
- Negotiate with the federal executive branch and state or local open records officials in connection with pending open records requests.
- Mentor and support more junior staff, with the potential to manage the casework of more junior attorneys depending on the applicant’s past management and litigation experience.
- Work with communications and investigations teams on messaging materials and blog posts as needed.
- Represent American Oversight in meetings with coalition partners, presentations, training, and meetings with congressional committees, consistent with American Oversight’s 501(c)(3) status.
- Participate in internal organizational development initiatives, events, or committees.
- Law degree and admission to practice in at least one state (with eligibility to join DC bar).
- Four (4) years of legal experience, including a preference for at least three years in civil or criminal litigation.
- An interest in American Oversight’s mission of government accountability and transparency. Commitment to public interest advocacy.
- Exceptional legal research, writing, oral argument, and negotiation skills.
- Strong organizational and project-management abilities.
- Sound judgment and ability to analyze situations and information.
- Ability to work collaboratively.
- A high degree of professional ethics, integrity, and temperament.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the federal Freedom of Information Act, state open records laws, government ethics laws, or active litigation in multiple state courts helpful but not required.
American Oversight is proudly an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to building a diverse team. 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 $117,000 to $125,000, commensurate with experience. Generous and comprehensive benefits and paid time off are provided to all full-time employees.
- Candidates with less than four years of experience may be considered with a revised starting salary range.
- 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.