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Pacific Legal Foundation is only as good as the talent we employ. Knowing this, our hiring philosophy is simple: we seek to hire the best talent available.

We’re constantly and aggressively on the lookout for employees who embody our core values:

We are freedom fighters.

We are freedom fighters.

Liberty is our obsession—we live and breathe it. When it’s threatened, we act decisively to protect it.

We are relentless.

We are relentless.

Our pioneering spirit spurs us to take big, bold swings. We never rest on past success. Our eyes are aimed squarely on the future.

We elevate others.

We elevate others.

We trust and invest in our clients, allies, and each other. We believe that—together—we can change the world.

We are confident.

We are confident.

We know liberty will win.

If you’re passionate about one or more of our job opportunities, and you’re enthusiastic about working alongside colleagues who share these values, then we encourage you to apply to be a part of the PLF team.

Strategic Research Deputy Director

You: A curious and skilled social scientist seeking to leverage data to promote freedom and dismantle policies that trample individual liberties. You are determined to conduct open and transparent research with an eye toward strong methodological foundations. You love to tell stories and your communication style flexes for your audience. You will be the critical connection between PLF and research coming out of academia and think tanks.

Them: Bureaucrats, city councils, mayors, governors, and federal agencies stripping Americans of their rights every day. There’s a lot of government overreach out there, and it’s backed by seemingly endless resources and imperfect data. But fortunately, like all lumbering giants, abusive government is most vulnerable when countered by individuals who act strategically and nimbly, take calculated risks, have each other’s backs, and are confident in and passionate for the cause—the very sort of swashbucklers we employ in spades here at PLF.

Us: We fight back. Pacific Legal Foundation is the nation’s first and most successful public interest law firm dedicated to vindicating individual liberty. PLF has an unmatched record in the United States Supreme Court, with 14 victories out of 16 cases litigated. We also have more than a hundred active cases across the nation. And that litigation firepower is backed up by a cutting-edge strategic research capacity that provides targeted research and data analysis for litigation, legislative campaigns, and administrative reform efforts.

We are a next-generation public interest law firm. This means we aren’t interested in doing the same thing as everyone else. We aspire to be the best player in a constantly changing game.

Here’s what you get to do in this role:

You will work with the Strategic Research Director to develop strategic plans and execute relevant research reports and other projects. You will identify and work on instrumental research that changes how the public thinks about key PLF issue areas. You will work with PLF attorneys and PLF initiative leaders, legal policy staff, the Center for the Separation of Powers, the communications team, and the strategic research team. You will manage the research process for internal projects including timeline, budget, outside contractors, and release. You will elevate the research staff to reach their fullest potential.

You will work with external partners to accelerate research on topics we care about. You will manage relationships and help move external projects forward, drafting calls for papers and contracts, determining who should be in the room, and helping develop ideas for others to execute. You will publish research, attend conferences, appear on radio and television, and publish op-eds. Your determination will lead to recognition as a nationwide expert on key PLF issue areas.

In a nutshell, we’re seeking a research deputy director who’s passionate about liberty, someone who is confident and relentless.

Getting down to brass tacks, your specific job duties will likely include:

  • Lead the strategic research for one of PLF’s key areas, with the expectation that you already are or will relatively soon become a nationally-recognized expert in the field.
  • Publish high impact research. Identify and develop open and transparent research projects that impact PLF’s key issue areas.
  • Increase our research capacity through partnerships by hosting events that encourage research in directions we care about, developing working papers series, and commissioning reports.
  • In addition to your primary area of expertise, become an expert on other key PLF issues in order to write and speak about them on behalf of the organization
  • Foster a strategic research team culture that inspires the team to succeed. Trusting your team, you understand how to coach individuals to find their own solutions or to problem-solve as a group.

This role is ideal for someone with:

  • At least 7 years of publishing original social science research
  • At least 2 years of helping to develop and execute a research strategy, preferably with both project and personnel management experience
  • Strong foundation in empirical methodology including a proficiency with a research software or a strong background in systematic legal research
  • An expertise in housing, equality before the law, or public administration/regulatory bureaucracy
  • Passion for PLF’s mission
  • Willingness to travel approximately 10-15%

General Information

Pacific Legal Foundation identifies and litigates important legal issues to set landmark precedents that will benefit Americans nationwide. Using strategic and principled litigation, communications, and research, we battle for freedom in the nation’s courts and the court of public opinion.

As a national nonprofit organization, PLF has brick-and-mortar offices in Sacramento, CA; Arlington, VA, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL, though approximately half of the staff work from home across the country. You can work physically in any of our offices or request to work virtually.

This is a full-time, permanent position. PLF is committed to recruiting and retaining the highest-quality talent available nationwide, and we offer a total compensation package that includes a competitive salary, medical and dental insurance, and employer-paid retirement savings. We take work-life balance seriously through our generous paid leave and flextime policies. We have a flexible, collaborative, positive, and collegial work environment. We take pride in investing in your future and encourage internal advancement. PLF is the place for someone principled, tenacious, and determined to succeed in positively shaping the future of our country and restoring real limits on government power. Join us.

To Apply:

Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:

  • Your resume, including your experience in the liberty movement and relevant professional experience
  • A cover letter explaining why PLF is the place for you, why you want to fight for liberty, and what distinguishes you from typical applicants
  • Two writing samples: 1) research report and 2) something written for a public audience.

Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via the button below.

Questions can be directed to Katy Gambella, Network Engagement Manager of Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: katy@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. Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.

Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free-market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise. 

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