Chief Counsel

Website weareoversight American Oversight

Advancing truth, accountability, and democracy.

American Oversight is looking for a dynamic and strategic Chief Counsel to lead our talented team of public records litigators. 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 laws to act where abuse of authority and government power overlap. From the federal Freedom of Information Act to state transparency laws, we use carefully crafted records requests to extract information from the government. When the government fails to respond as required by law, our team has the legal expertise to take them to court and enforce the public’s right to hold our leaders accountable. American Oversight has obtained and published over one million pages of emails, memos, calendars, text messages, and other records and has used those records to ensure accountability, expose misconduct, and drive significant corrective action at all levels of government.

Setting and executing strategic litigation priorities – and adapting as circumstances warrant – is key to American Oversight’s impact and success. The Chief Counsel will lead American Oversight’s daily legal work and provide legal leadership and vision for the organization. The Chief Counsel will also mentor, develop, and supervise a high-caliber legal team.

Job Responsibilities

Specific tasks will shift day by day with our work and with current events, but in a typical week, you will:

Drive American Oversight’s daily legal work, making sure that American Oversight is maximizing its impact in every priority mission area.

Identify new opportunities for high-impact litigation. Anticipate opportunities and challenges, adapt accordingly, and wind down work when appropriate.

Manage long- and short-term priorities, track team workflow, allocate resources accordingly, and ensure that the legal team meets quality and timeliness expectations.

Serve as a member of the senior management team, collaborating with the Executive and Deputy Executive Directors and department heads across the organization to set and adjust strategic priorities and advance the mission.

Build and maintain a collegial, inclusive, and supportive workplace environment that prepares the team and organization to meet evolving public records litigation opportunities and challenges.

Hire, manage, and make final personnel recommendations for members of the legal team.

Ensure the legal team has the tools and training to conduct innovative, high-quality public records litigation.

Collaborate and coordinate with American Oversight’s research, communications, and partnerships teams to maximize organizational impact and achieve strategic priorities.

Manage relationships with local counsel and serve as an ambassador for the organization’s legal work, speaking knowledgeably and persuasively to internal and external audiences about specific matters and the organization’s larger mission.

Engage in rapid response to current events, developments, and document releases in public records requests and litigation.


JD and membership in good standing of at least one state bar.

Extensive civil litigation experience and expert litigation judgment, including the ability to craft legal strategies with appropriate levels of assertiveness and risk tolerance. Relevant factors may include:

  • At least 10+ years’ combined litigation experience at law firms, government, or nonprofit or advocacy organizations.
  • Substantial experience leading litigation teams and serving as lead counsel on litigation matters.
  • Experience with one or more of the following: FOIA and state open records laws, government ethics laws, federal and state government oversight, accountability, and transparency.
  • Excellent academic credentials.

Trial court experience is a plus.

Ability to communicate and express ideas clearly and persuasively. Excellent legal writing and editing skills.

Ability to manage staff and drive a team’s performance by setting clear goals and expectations, tracking progress against goals, ensuring constructive feedback, and investing in the development and growth of staff members.

Ability to work collaboratively and with a focus on shared goals and our mission.

Can effectively build and manage relationships with local counsel, partner counsel, and other key stakeholders.

Exceptional judgment, the highest level of professional integrity and ethics, and commitment to the organizational mission.

Experience in organization-wide strategic planning is a plus.

Additional Information

American Oversight is proudly an equal opportunity employer committed to building a diverse team. Studies have shown that diverse candidates may, in some instances, be less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they have every one of the qualifications listed. Our hiring process is centered on assessing candidates with diverse lived experiences. We would encourage you to apply, even if you aren’t certain whether 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 role is $202,000 – $230,000, commensurate with experience. Generous and comprehensive benefits package, including health benefits, 403(b) match, vision and dental benefits, and paid parental leave.

American Oversight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

There is a preference for a candidate who is DC-based or within commuting distance and able to work in the office on a hybrid basis. This role will be managing a hybrid in-person and remote team.

How to Apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by January 12, 2024, to ensure consideration of your application. Following January 12, 2024, we will be interviewing candidates and will continue to review applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

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