COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

WASHINGTON, DC

About the New Civil Liberties Alliance: 

The New Civil Liberties Alliance seeks an experienced communications and media professional who shares NCLA’s passion for restoring constitutional constraints on the administrative state. NCLA is a brand-new organization, so this hire will need to possess the energy and know-how to set up the firm’s communications capability from scratch. 

Founded by law professor Philip Hamburger, NCLA is a non-profit, public-interest law firm, which engages in pro bono litigation to defend the liberty established by the Constitution. It focuses primarily on fighting administrative power and conditions on spending where they systematically threaten constitutional freedoms, including the freedom of speech, jury-trial rights, and due process. Rather than resist administrative power wherever it threatens substantive rights and interests, NCLA will work against administrative mechanisms that repeatedly and broadly threaten constitutionally protected rights. For example, NCLA will oppose the Chevron and Auer deference federal courts give to administrative agencies that compromises judicial independence. Coordinating its efforts with other civil rights groups, NCLA will pursue strategic litigation that promises to curtail administrative threats to civil liberties. 

 Description: 

The Communications Director must be able to distill complex legal information into meaningful and sympathetic messages for a variety of audiences and must be prepared to handle marketing, media outreach, social media, public events planning, public relations, and internal communications for the firm. The Director must be savvy in managing relationships with other legal players, other nonprofit organizations (including unexpected alliances), and different media outlets. Additionally, this hire must understand how best to put traditional communications platforms to use for NCLA (such as press releases, op-eds, TV, and radio), new media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, website, podcasts), as well as be able to suggest offbeat ideas and to find alternative avenues to get NCLA’s message across creatively. 

NCLA’s Communications Director must be able to provide strategy and counsel to the firm and to its clients in matters the firm is handling, as well as manage project execution and quality control (including managing any vendors). The Director will lead the communications capability and act as a liaison to the executive director, and to communications counterparts at other groups with which NCLA works on cases or projects. This individual should be able to work with minimal direct supervision, while proactively seeking executive input whenever the situation warrants it. The Communications Director should actively look for opportunities to support the organization’s mission through an integrated and strategic communications plan. The position will report to NCLA’s Executive Director. Although it is anticipated that the Communications Director will be the only communications employee initially, the team will grow over time with the rest of the organization. 

Requirements: 

• Six (6) years of communications experience in one or more of the following fields: newsroom producer, journalism, public relations and public affairs experience; plus equal experience with social media platforms 

• Two (2) years of experience managing other communications professionals, including vendors 

• Strong leadership skills, excellent writing, copyediting, public speaking, and presentation skills 

• Passion and support for the organization’s mission 

• Enthusiasm and high energy suitable to the challenge of getting a new organization off the ground 

• Top-notch interpersonal skills and demonstrated capability to cultivate media relationships 

• Excellent organizational and time-management skills; ability to multi-task and always meet deadlines 

• Experience and knowledge with digital communications strategies, as well as hired agency support

• Established set of contacts in the NY/DC/national media and/or legal media space strongly preferred

• Previous experience in setting up new communications capabilities is a plus 

• Previous experience managing projects in public policy and non-profit industry a plus 

• Previous experience with event planning is a plus 

• Familiarity with legal principles is a plus (JD also a plus but not expected) 

• BA/BS in journalism, communications, or related field (or explain relevance of your degree) 

Responsibilities: 

• Devise and implement communications strategy for the New Civil Liberties Alliance—including marketing, media outreach, social media, digital communications, and public relations—to maximize awareness of NCLA’s brand and enhance its visibility and reputation with key audiences 

• Work with media proactively (to pitch stories and create favorable coverage) and reactively (to fulfill interview requests and effectively position NCLA and its clients positively with influential media); the goal is to make NCLA the ‘go to’ organization for obtaining comment whenever our most important issues are being discussed 

• Act as a spokesperson as appropriate on issues related to NCLA or client cases; secure media appearances for other staff, prep them for appearances, and assist them with media training 

• Work with the executive team to develop and execute integrated communications strategies; e.g., work with NCLA’s litigators to help them anticipate likely questions, shape key messages to deliver, and identify potential subjects or tangents to avoid anytime they will be speaking with media 

• Work closely with legal team to craft public-relations strategy for each case that advances NCLA’s overall mission; primary responsibility for framing each case in a sympathetic light and connecting the issue(s) in the case with the wider concern of NCLA’s mission 

• Establish and maintain NCLA’s online presence via its website and across select social media platforms; ensure that material on these channels remains fresh and relevant; devise ways to drive traffic to NCLA’s platforms 

• Build NCLA’s media database; maintain and organize logos, bios, fact sheets, and other media collateral 

• Mentor staff; instill professionalism and promote culture of hard work, fun, challenge, and reward 

• Place op-eds, draft press releases and other communications pieces in support of NCLA’s mission 

• Monitor press coverage of NCLA and disseminate to internal customers and external allies 

• Measure and analyze consumption of NCLA’s social media; identify trends and opportunities 

• Support the development team’s efforts to provide effective messaging to donors and potential donors 

• Plan the communications budget in consultation with the Exec. Dir. and ensure adherence to that budget 

• Other duties and projects as assigned 

Total compensation for this position is market-driven and based on a candidate’s level of experience. It will include health care, PTO, and other benefits. 

Application: 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, however, the deadline for accepting new applicants is November 1, 2017. Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials: 

• Résumé 

• A cover letter detailing your: o interest in/passion for NCLA’s mission; 

o how your experience relates to the requirements and responsibilities of this role; 

o what communications software, email marketing systems, and other tools you are most familiar with and would need to be effective in this job; and 

o salary requirements 

• Writing sample(s) 

Please include “Comms, NCLA – Your Name” in the subject line of your email. Materials should be emailed in one PDF document to Lauren Skiver with Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: lauren@talentmarket.org. 

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. No phone calls, please.