About CIR

CIR is America’s premier nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense of individual liberties against state and federal government abuse. Starting its 35th anniversary year, CIR attorneys have won five of seven cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, including first amendment and racial preference victories and the single most important limit on the scope of Congress’s commerce power—as well as achieving a host of other landmark victories for individual rights in other courts.

Reporting on CIR’s first campus speech victory in the Supreme Court, The Washington Post noted that “the Center for Individual Rights takes particular pleasure in battling politically correct administrators who cut down the free expression rights of students and protestors.” We still do. Indeed, our collaborative team finds joy in all the work we pursue to advance freedom, which is increasingly important as free speech denials, distortions of equality under law, and other individual rights violations have multiplied over the last few years.

CIR believes that enlightenment ideals had their greatest expression in America’s founding documents and post-Civil War amendments, with a charter for limited government and guarantees for civil liberties that protect individual rights and promote human flourishing. Those guarantees include structural limits on government, such as the separation of powers and federalism. CIR team members are principled, zealous advocates for restoring that charter and its attendant benefits.

CIR’s strategic model, which includes partnerships with outside cooperating counsel, has made it a nimble champion able to punch well above its weight. It garnered special attention in Steven Teles’s respected study as a model “second-generation” freedom-based public interest law firm.

Individual Rights Litigator

Washington, DC or Virtual Office

With new leadership, CIR is updating its strategies and expanding internally in several ways. This new position is an opportunity for the right person to help this second-generation public interest law firm grow and participate in transforming it into a vibrant, next-generation law firm.

About the Role

The Individual Rights Litigator with three or more years of active trial and appellate litigation experience (including any judicial clerkships) will channel his or her passion for advancing individual liberty, deep knowledge of constitutional law, and entrepreneurial skills to help develop and execute litigation strategies in service of CIR’s mission, identify specific opportunities for consequential litigation, assist with client development and case filings, and advance the subsequent litigation docket with other litigators inside and outside of CIR. In short, the Individual Rights Litigator will help incubate, execute, and win major landmark victories that defend or advance individual liberties.

The Individual Rights Litigator will report primarily to CIR’s Litigation Director and work with CIR’s General Counsel to advance CIR’s litigation practice areas, which include complex anti-discrimination reforms, free speech and privacy cases, and especially its Project to Restore Competitive Federalism. The Individual Rights Litigator will work closely with the Litigation Director to expand CIR’s docket and work primarily on the new cases he or she helps develop.

In that role, the Individual Rights Litigator will work with other CIR staff, outside cooperating attorneys, law professors, CIR’s clients, and prospective clients. The right candidate is interested in all aspects of the public interest law enterprise and is a creative and constructive change agent to help CIR continually improve and increase its impact in a competitive environment.

Over time, the Individual Rights Litigator will be expected to serve as a CIR spokesperson on select cases and related substantive matters with the press, in coalition gatherings, and in academic settings. In sum, the Individual Rights Litigator will not only develop and win individual landmark cases but will also set the stage for even greater victories through publications, media appearances, public advocacy, and coalition building, and serve as a sought-after national spokesperson for individual rights.

Necessary Qualifications

  • Three or more years of active trial and appellate practice (including judicial clerkships), with a meaningful record of advancement. Experience in public interest law is a strong plus.
  • A demonstrated passion for promoting individual liberty and a deep understanding of its constitutional foundations.
  • Exceptional legal writing and editing skills, plus the ability to write persuasively for both public and legal audiences in law reviews, op-eds, and online publications.
  • A collaborative spirit, leavened with sense of humor to challenge government malefactors in a relentless and disciplined manner but without forgetting the bright side of life.
  • A willingness to travel for client and case development, litigation appearances, and other institutional purposes.

General Information:

The Center for Individual Rights’ mission has a nationwide focus. We select individual cases to set constitutional precedents that have broad applications. CIR has also positively influenced public policy and general public discourse.

CIR’s headquarters are in DC, but we have embraced some flexible and hybrid work arrangements. The ideal candidate would be able to work out of CIR’s DC office on a regular schedule. Fully remote work, or nearly so, may be possible for exceptional candidates. The amount of time the Individual Rights Litigator will need to spend in the DC office depends on a variety of factors and is subject to individual discussion.

This is a full-time, permanent position. CIR is an equal opportunity employer that provides a generous compensation package that includes a competitive salary, premium medical and dental insurance, employer-paid retirement contributions, and other attractive benefits. CIR takes pride in its employees and encourages continuous professional growth, a meaningful personal and family life, and the pursuit of other intellectual and creative endeavors.

To Apply:

Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials (in order) in one PDF document:

  • A cover letter explaining why you meet each of the qualifications listed above, why you want a career suing the government in the defense of liberty, and what sets you apart from other applicants, especially with regard to your strategic ability to advance CIR’s mission;
  • Your resume, including your educational and professional experience and a list of publications.

Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link: talentmarket.org/apply-for-your-dream-job/.

Questions can be directed to Stephanie Keaveney, Senior Manager of Outreach at Talent Market, who is managing the search process: stephanie@talentmarket.org.

There is no application deadline for this position. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This job will remain posted on our site until it is filled.

While we thank all applicants in advance for their interest in this position, we are only able to contact those to whom we can offer an interview. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.

Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide consulting and recruiting services at no cost to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that clearly and directly focus on advancing the principles of economic freedom, free enterprise, free trade, free speech, property rights, rule of law, and limited regulation.

Clerkships and Internships

The Center for Individual Rights’ fellowship and internship programs provide an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience in cutting-edge public interest litigation while contributing directly to CIR’s cases. Learn how to apply here.