The Free Speech Union is Hiring – Legal Officer

JOB TITLE: Legal Officer
CONTRACT: Part-time – Initially 0.5FTE
SALARY: Up to £45K per annum pro-rated.
DEPARTMENT: Legal
REPORTS TO: Chief Legal Counsel
PURPOSE: To assist the Chief Legal Counsel and pro-bono lawyers with legal research, casework, drafting and preparation of documents.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 25th August.

Who are we?

The Free Speech Union is a non-partisan, mass-membership public interest body. We stand up for the speech rights of our 8,000+ members. Our in-house legal counsel, working with our casework team, coordinates legal representation for members in difficulty. Our research arm publishes briefings on where free speech needs to be better protected. Our events arm organises events in pubs (“speakeasies”) and stages regular public debates.

We are also collaborating with the Battle of Ideas charity on the Free Speech Champions programme, an exciting new initiative which aims to educate young people, particularly university students, about the importance of free speech.

In the last six months, the FSU has expanded overseas, with affiliates in the US and New Zealand – further expansion is to come. We have an exciting journey ahead and we’re looking for more talented individuals to join our organisation.

The role

This role is a unique opportunity to focus on the legal disputes and policy debates concerning free speech in the United Kingdom. Unlike any law firm, free speech is not our side-line – it is everything we do. This role will involve you closely in the free speech disputes taking place in our workplaces, universities, professional associations, voluntary organisations and the courts. It will give you an opportunity to work with solicitors and barristers on free speech cases, to assist members in need of help, and to advocate for changes to policy and the law.

The work is fast-paced and intellectually stimulating. We need someone who can get to the nub of a complicated issue with legal, political and ethical dimensions, write clearly and concisely, and apply legal knowledge to real-life disputes. We act for anyone who becomes a member, subject to our discretion, whatever their politics.

While we are initially looking for someone to work for two-and-a-half days a week, this will probably increase over time as the FSU grows.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Carrying out legal research;
  • Drafting correspondence (including public letters), contracts, research notes and other documents for review by the Chief Legal Counsel;
  • Interviewing members regarding the nature of their case and taking attendance notes;
  • Preparing instructions for external lawyers;
  • Assembling bundles of documents;
  • Assisting the Chief Legal Counsel in recruiting a network of pro-free speech lawyers;
  • Where appropriate, representing members at – e.g. – panel hearings;
  • Assisting the Case Management Director, the Case Officer and the Chief Legal Counsel with incoming cases;
  • Drafting, and assisting with the drafting, of articles,blogposts and evidence to public consultations and Parliamentary select committees on a range of free speech issues and the FSU’s activities.

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Essential
Qualifying law degree (e.g. LLB, BA, GDL) or equivalent knowledge gained from working in the legal sector.
Good working knowledge of legal protections for free speech in the United Kingdom.
Good writing skills, with an emphasis on correct English spelling, grammar and punctuation, clarity and concision.
Experience of and aptitude for researching and summarising the law.
Good Microsoft Word and Excel skills.
Agreeable – good interpersonal skills with people at all levels, particularly those in difficult situations, with a professional and courteous manner.
The ability to work flexible hours which may include weekends or evenings.
Homeworking – must have premises, equipment and systems to enable productive working from home.
Desirable
Experience working as a paralegal or lawyer.
Previous experience in case-work.
Experience in the use of case management systems, e.g. Sales Force.
Working knowledge of UK employment law and public law.
Knowledge and experience of regulatory compliance, particularly GDPR.

Applicants should send a CV and introductory letter to jobs@freespeechunion.org. The FSU is actively recruiting for this role and may withdraw it at its discretion.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Benefits

  • Employer pension contribution of eight per cent.
  • The autonomy and flexibility of a remote-first business or a co-working space.
  • Full access to our learning and development programme.
  • 28 paid holidays per calendar year (pro rata) including public holidays (annual allotment increases with tenure).
  • The chance to get together with the entire FSU team face-to-face, at our away days and events. *Depending on restrictions in place due to Covid-19.

Probationary Period

This post is subject to the requirements of a three-month probationary scheme for new staff only.

Review of this Job Description

This job description is intended as an outline of the general areas of activity and will be amended in the light of the changing needs of the organisation. To be reviewed in conjunction with the post holder.

The FSU values diversity. We are an equal opportunity employer and consider qualified applicants without regard to Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex.