[NOW CLOSED] We’re recruiting: Legal Officer

[NOW CLOSED] We’re recruiting: Legal Officer

About Media Defence

Media Defence is a charity that helps media to defend their rights. We support independent media, journalists and citizen journalists who are under legal threat by making sure that lawyers are available to defend them. We engage in strategic litigation to improve the regulatory environment for media freedom, make grants to organisations in various countries to run media defence programmes, and build the capacity of the lawyers and organisations we work with on issues of media law.

Media Defence was set up in 2008 and has established itself as a leader in the field. To date, we have supported over 1,000 cases, helping hundreds of journalists in over 110 countries. Our work has helped prevent over 300 years of detention for media workers and avoided £500m in damages. We have supported 40 partners and have trained 144 lawyers.

About the role

We are currently recruiting a Legal Officer to join our small and dedicated team to conduct strategic litigation, provide case support to lawyers, represent media and (citizen) journalists, deliver trainings on media law and strategic litigation, assess grant applications, and help with public communications, working closely with the Legal Director, Senior Legal Officers and Grants Officers.

Responsible to:Legal Director
Key relationships:CEO, Legal Director, Senior Legal Officer, Legal Officers, Grants Officers, external lawyers, partners and beneficiaries

Main Responsibilities

Strategic litigation

  • Developing strategic cases in the field of freedom of expression law and digital rights
  • Undertaking legal and factual research, including on comparative and international law on freedom of expression and related issues, and the legal environment in different countries
  • Case management
  • Drafting and/or editing briefs and other litigation materials as required, including amicus briefs
  • Helping maintain contacts with pro bono lawyers and other Media Defence partners
  • Assisting in the preparation and implementation of Media Defence’s litigation strategy


Grant making and case support

  • Overseeing and assisting the Grants Officers in vetting grant applications and preparing case assessments
  • As the primary point of contact for local lawyers receiving a grant from Media Defence, assessing their need for case support and providing any support that may be necessary, e.g. providing advice on case strategy, reviewing proposed legal arguments or conducting research
  • Analysing case outcomes



  • Overseeing and updating Media Defence’s training modules and materials on a regular basis
  • Delivering trainings on strategic litigation and free speech online


Other responsibilities

  • Assisting Media Defence team members in reporting to Media Defence’s board and donors by providing data regarding Media Defence’s case work in a timely manner
  • Representing Media Defence at public events as required
  • Contributing to the website and other materials for external use as required including drafting blogs and legal updates as well as contributing to social media content
  • Recruiting and managing legal volunteers

Person Specification


Qualifications and experience

  • Qualified lawyer
  • At least two years’ experience, working as a lawyer in human rights or media law
  • A good understanding of international standards on freedom of expression. Knowledge of and experience working with international human rights standards and mechanisms and/or national rights frameworks, and with the human rights community



  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a pleasant, diplomatic manner in interacting with colleagues at all levels, contacts and the general public
  • Excellent time management and organisational skills including the ability to manage effectively multiple cases and projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Fluency in English and Spanish with excellent writing and editorial skills.
  • Ability to work in a diverse multi–cultural environment
  • Ability to work in a small team
  • Ability to work both independently and with others
  • Integrity, professional discretion and ability to handle confidential matters



  • Experience of working in different legal systems, particularly systems based in Latin America, would be an advantage
  • Good working knowledge (spoken and written) of French would be an advantage


Equality and diversity are fundamental to our mission. We are committed to the recruitment and retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds and who reflect the diverse communities in which we operate.

Terms of Appointment



Permanent, full time (37.5 hours, occasional evening and weekend work.
Salary:£38,000 – £45,000 per annum, depending on experience.
Location:We combine home working and office-based working to suit individual and organisational needs. While there is scope for working from home, this role will require occasional presence in our central London office.


Contributory pension scheme (employer matched contribution up to max. 8%)
Annual leave:


25 days annual leave plus bank holidays, plus up to ten days additional leave (paid/unpaid) per year after probation.


On joining Media Defence, all employees are automatically able to access professional support through our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided by Health Assured Limited and through a digital health app, Peppy.

We offer an enhanced maternity and paternity leave package.

We provide a range of training and development tools to offer support our employees to improve or develop skills and knowledge for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying for this role, please send your application, referencing ‘Legal Officer’, to Your application must include:

  • your CV (max. two pages); and
  • a covering letter (max. two pages), explaining your motivation for applying for the role, along with how you will meet the criteria in the Person Specification.


The closing date for applications for the Legal Officer position is 25 April 2023.

Interviews will be held virtually in the first week of May 2023.

If you have any questions relating to the role or the process or would like any adjustments made to accommodate your needs, please contact us at

To learn more about our work, read our Annual Report.

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