Legal Advisor - Freedom of Expression | Internships in International Civil Society Law (Summer 2015)

Legal Advisor - Freedom of Expression

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is seeking a lawyer to serve as a Legal Advisor for projects relating to the freedoms of expression, information, and other rights essential to the vibrant functioning of civil society.

ICNL has worked in over 100 countries to strengthen the legal framework for civil society, civic participation, and philanthropy. Our partners include civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, law schools, and international bodies. Please see for additional information.


The Legal Advisor will be based in ICNL’s office in Washington, D.C. The Legal Advisor must be legally eligible to work in the United States. Extensive travel is expected. Under the direction of ICNL’s Senior Management, the Legal Advisor will undertake the following duties:

  • Implementing ICNL’s activities under the Global Civil Society Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP) and other programs;
  • Providing technical legal assistance, including written comments and analyses of draft legislation, for use by government officials, parliamentarians, CSOs, media representatives, and others;
  • Representing ICNL at various meetings, workshops, seminars, and conferences;
  • Designing and implementing project activities, including capacity-building and network building events with local partners;
  • Assisting with proposal writing and fundraising activities;
  • Writing and editing reports, briefing papers, and other program materials;
  • Preparing and monitoring work plans;
  • Monitoring and ensuring compliance with project budgets;
  • Preparing and managing contracts and sub-awards with local partners;
  • Overseeing work of partners and ensuring compliance with donor rules, regulations, and policies;
  • Undertaking funder-required reporting and other tasks; and
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Experience with and expertise in the freedoms of expression, information, and other rights essential to the vibrant functioning of civil society. The Legal Advisor will need sufficient expertise to help ICNL address legal restrictions on the freedom of expression (e.g., laws may restrict the ability of civil society and media practitioners to receive and impart information, including, for example, laws on defamation and/or libel); limits on the right to access information; restrictions on freedoms online; and other human rights necessary to the vibrant functioning of civil society;
  • Law degree from an accredited school and at least five years’ professional experience;
  • Fluency in English (proficiency in other languages is an advantage);
  • Excellent research, analytical, writing, and presentation skills;
  • Proven ability to engage constructively with governments and civil society/media networks;
  • Experience in program strategy and design as well as project management;
  • Willingness to travel extensively;
  • CSO experience, particularly in challenging political environments, is a distinct advantage;
  • Experience implementing USAID-funded programs is an advantage.

Competitive salary, based on experience and qualifications.

To apply, please e-mail your cover letter, curriculum vitae, and writing sample to In the subject line of your e-mail, please indicate “Legal Advisor-Freedom of Expression.” In your cover note, please also reference where you saw this posting. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis but should be submitted on or before December 1, 2014.


Internships in International Civil Society Law – Summer 2015

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) seeks bright, energetic students with an interest in international affairs to serve as interns. ICNL's internship offers a unique opportunity to be involved in the promotion of an enabling legal environment for civil society, freedom of association, and public participation around the world.

ICNL has worked on civil society law in over 100 countries, drawing upon a worldwide network of partners and experts. Working with ICNL’s program teams, interns are engaged in our cutting-edge research and technical assistance. ICNL endeavors to develop projects that reflect student interests and skills, and to assist with the student's career development. 

Learn more about ICNL and its programs at

Under the supervision of, and with training by ICNL’s senior staff lawyers, interns are fully engaged in a variety of hands-on legal tasks. Duties might include conducting comparative legal research, legal analysis, supporting ICNL’s partners, and other related tasks.

The following are illustrative examples of past intern assignments:

  1. ICNL convened a conference of Latin American law professors interested in civil society with the aim of promoting more and better university instruction in the laws governing civil society organizations. An ICNL intern assisted in all aspects of planning and carrying out the conference, from helping identify appropriate professors to facilitating working group sessions that compiled best international practices in teaching civil society law.
  2. Working with ICNL’s President, an intern co-authored a survey on NGO legislation throughout Central and Eastern Europe, which was then published and disseminated throughout Europe and Eurasia.
  3. An ICNL intern interested in Albania provided technical assistance to a working group comprised of an Albanian Supreme Court Justice, government officials and NGO leaders working on new NGO legislation. The intern’s advice was reflected in legislation enacted by the Albanian Parliament.

Other important tasks have included preparing a textbook on international civil society law, editing issues of the International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law, preparing comments on impending draft legislation, organizing a conference in Mexico for university professors and study tours for foreign experts, and supporting staff with several grant-writing initiatives.

Internships are available in the following programs:

  • Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish fluency required)
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Freedoms of Expression and Information
  • Global

Interns should be enrolled in or have a degree from an accredited law school. Good research, writing, and analytical skills are particularly important qualifications for this position. The intern should also have demonstrable individual initiative and ability to work as part of a team. The intern must be located in the Washington D.C. area.

Students work full time during the summer (approximately late May through August). Start and end dates are flexible. In the past, many students have obtained public interest fellowships or credit for their internships at ICNL.  If such support is unavailable, ICNL will offer a stipend to the intern.

To apply, please submit cover letter, resume, and writing sample (no longer than five pages) to Reference “Summer Intern 2015” in the subject line. Only finalists will be contacted – no telephone calls please. We encourage early applications, as decisions will be made on a rolling basis. ICNL is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Only finalists will be contacted. No phone calls, please.
ICNL is an equal opportunity employer.