Democracy Forward is seeking attorneys to carry out its mission to promote pro-democracy and progressive policies and ideals via litigation and regulatory engagement. The ideal candidates will have experience with one or more of the following:

  • State or federal litigation, including investigating and researching potential claims, drafting complaints, briefs, and supporting documents, and participating in hearings and arguments
  • The federal regulatory process, either via litigation, notice-and-comment rulemaking, or other administrative processes 
  • Client development and coalition partnerships

Job duties include the following:

  • Litigation: Serve as lead or co-counsel in proceedings in federal and state courts, including advising clients on litigation strategy, risks, and objectives, and carrying out all aspects of litigation from case initiation through appeal. This includes representing Democracy Forward and external clients in litigation handled entirely by Democracy Forward attorneys or co-counseling with law firms or other entities.
  • Client development and coalition management: work with partners from a wide range of public interest spheres, including non-profits, local governments, small businesses, unions, and individuals, to develop, litigate, and raise awareness of Democracy Forward’s legal work. This includes building relationships with potential clients and other partners and supporting coalition development. 
  • Agency advocacy: represent clients before federal agencies in developing progressive policy via the regulatory process including rulemakings, agency hearings, and agency meetings. 
  • Draft written work product, including filings, legal memorandum, agency comments, FOIA requests, letters, and other types of advocacy materials, including but not limited to, petitions for rulemaking and letters to agency Inspectors General. 
  • Monitor relevant policy issues to identify instances where Democracy Forward should consider getting involved in litigation (either affirmative litigation or as an amicus or intervenor) or in regulatory advocacy. 
  • Support the growth and development of junior legal staff. This includes providing appropriate and timely feedback, informal mentorship, and other opportunities for collaboration and support.
  • Contribute affirmatively to a workplace culture of inclusion and equity. 

Qualifications – You are encouraged to apply if you have any combination of these skills. 

  • J.D. from an accredited law school. 
  • Active membership in good standing in the bar of the District of Columbia, or membership in good standing in another state bar with the ability to become admitted in D.C.
  • For Counsel level, we require a minimum of 5 years of relevant experience, ideally some of which will have been on behalf of or against federal or state governments and/or advocating for clients in the federal regulatory process. For Senior Counsel positions, we require at least 7 years of relevant experience, ideally some of which will have been on behalf of or against federal or state governments and/or advocating for clients in the federal regulatory process. Title and compensation are based on relevant experience. Democracy Forward has a competitive, lock-step compensation structure for its lawyers. 
  • Demonstrated excellence in performing legal research and drafting legal documents (including court filings such as complaints, dispositive motions, and appeals, and/or regulatory filings such as comments and petitions for rulemaking), in a professional, timely, and self-directed manner. Excellent writing ability is a plus.
  • Familiarity with legal doctrines applicable to litigation and/or regulatory advocacy involving federal and/or state governments. Experience with the federal Administrative Procedure Act is a plus.
  • Experience developing affirmative litigation in state and/or federal courts, including researching potential theories, developing potential clients, and building factual records. 
  • Experience working independently and having primary responsibility for matters.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and respectfully on a team of attorney and staff professionals in a relatively flat hierarchical structure. 
  • Ability to handle multiple concurrent assignments and meet deadlines; must be able to work well both independently and in a team environment
  • Ability to become proficient in new issue areas and contribute to creative, rigorous, analytical approaches to address them.
  • Ability to develop and maintain relationships with clients and partner organizations, including initiating new relationships, developing and managing coalitions.
  • Well-developed collaborative and interpersonal skills including demonstrated self-awareness, commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds. 
  • Commitment to workplace inclusion and ability to contribute affirmatively to a just and equitable workplace culture.

Democracy Forward provides a competitive, lockstep and transparent compensation and benefits package. The salary range for counsel positions is $119,000 - $150,000, based on years of relevant experience and seniority. The salary range for senior counsel positions is $160,000 – $195,000+, based on years of relevant experience and seniority. 

Democracy Forward is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals. We strongly encourage people of color; lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities; and veterans to apply. Please note that all lawyer positions require a law degree and active membership in the bar of a state or the District of Columbia. 

Not sure you meet all of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement.  If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. Whether you are new to mission-based legal and policy work, returning to work after a gap in employment, or simply looking to transition or take the next step in your career path, we welcome the opportunity to have you on our radar.  Please include in your cover letter the nature of your interest in legal and policy work promoting democracy and progress and what you hope to bring to our team and the role for which you are applying. 

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