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Local Journalism Attorney, Cornell Law School

Reporting to the Director of the First Amendment Clinic at Cornell Law School, Mark Jackson, and the Managing Attorney of the Clinic’s Local Journalism Project (LJP), Heather Murray, the LJP Attorney will have primary responsibility for developing and managing a New York Metropolitan Area-based practice dedicated to providing a variety of legal services to support local journalism. Duties will include aiding media outlets and journalists in their newsgathering function, including access work and pre-publication review; defending these clients against claims, lawsuits and other efforts to interfere with their watchdog function; and providing day-to-day commercial and organizational advice to help them run more effective enterprises. The LJP Attorney will also be tasked with affirmative outreach to media outlets, particularly in underrepresented and under-reported communities, building and sustaining relationships with these outlets, and partnering with New York City law firms and non-profits to further enhance the work. 

The LJP Attorney will have a working and collaborative relationship with the Ithaca-based Clinic staff attorneys, but will have no formal teaching responsibilities. When appropriate, the LJP Attorney will work with students from the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic on active matters, to help these students become familiar with legal issues related to media in the New York Metropolitan Area, and to otherwise aid in their professional development.

This position is ideal for a candidate who is eager to leverage their prior background either as a commercial lawyer, litigator or in-house counsel to help support and sustain local journalism in the New York Metropolitan Area. It calls for someone entrepreneurial, who is interested in both continuing the representation of the Clinic’s current client base and expanding that base.

The position is based in New York City, and is a satellite position of the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic located in Ithaca, NY. It is generously funded by the Charles H. Revson Foundation. The position is full-time for a two-year term (contingent on funding and performance) and is benefits eligible.

Responsibilities 

  • Manage and grow a diverse client base in the New York Metropolitan area, with particular focus on outlets and journalists from underrepresented and under-reported communities and maintain and develop relationships with law firms and other organizations providing pro bono representation to journalists to expand the client base and impact of the Clinic’s work. 
  • Develop and manage a wide-ranging practice that delivers the full array of legal needs of NY Metro-based media outlets and journalists, including providing organizational and commercial support; aiding in the newsgathering process by helping them obtain access to documents and proceedings; defending against subpoenas; providing pre-publication review; and defending them in defamation suits and other efforts to suppress their free speech rights. 
  • Work closely with the staff of the First Amendment Clinic at Cornell Law School and participate in key clinic events, including its pre-semester Bootcamps, Newsroom visits, and other important on-campus activities. 
  • Travel as required for litigation, conferences, speaking engagements and trips to Ithaca. 

Minimum Qualifications 

The NY Metro-Based Local Journalism Attorney must have a J.D. or equivalent, be admitted to the New York bar, and have a minimum of three years of relevant experience as a lawyer. Applicants should have excellent communication skills, both oral and written; excellent analytical skills; and the temperament to develop and work effectively with a network of media clients, outside lawyers and advocacy organizations. Applicants should also have the skills necessary to supervise and mentor law students and work collaboratively in a team-based environment. The applicant must also be a “self-starter” and have the ability to operate on their own, with light supervision. 

Preferred Qualifications 

Preference will be given to candidates who have experience representing the media; supervising other lawyers or law students; have strong relationships with organizations that the Clinic is likely to partner with—media enterprises, journalists, and free speech and other civil liberties organizations; and who speak a relevant foreign language. 

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, three references, and two legal writing samples. Additional information may be requested during the application process. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through January 31, 2024. 

The anticipated starting salary for this position is $115,000-$125,000. 

Questions may be referred to Liz Flint (liz.flint@cornell.edu). 

Pay Range 

Refer to posting language. 

Pay Ranges 

Noted pay ranges reflect the potential pay opportunity for each job profile. The hiring rate of pay for the successful candidate will be determined considering the following criteria: 

  • Prior relevant work or industry experience. 
  • Education level to the extent education is relevant to the position. 
  • Unique applicable skills. 
  • Academic Discipline (faculty pay ranges reflects 9-month annual salary) 

For more information and to apply, click here.