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 live and breathe our core values:

  • Positive and Optimistic: We seek positive change, confident that the principles of individualism and liberty will prevail over time.  We work in a spirit of goodwill.
  • Strategic: We create opportunities and plan each new case and initiative with our objectives in mind.
  • Collaborative: We work together within the organization and seek cooperation with others who share our goals.
  • Principled: We act consistently with our belief that individual liberty is the key to the pursuit of happiness and a thriving society.
  • Determined: We forge ahead knowing that energy and persistence are necessary to succeed.
  • Committed to Excellence: We strive to produce the highest caliber work in all we do.
  • Just: We treat everyone with respect and fairness.

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 Director

Pacific Legal Foundation—the nation’s first and most successful public interest law firm dedicated to vindicating individual liberty—seeks a experienced and committed Strategic Research Director to build and lead a new component at PLF to produce and commission high-quality research to further PLF’s legal, legislative, administrative, and public education goals.

The strategic research team is a new component of the organization’s strategic plan which sets out to define the next generation public interest law firm. Reporting to Todd Gaziano, Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research, the Strategic Research Director will develop and periodically revise a research agenda and produce exceptional research to substantially and directly aid PLF’s goals and mission—and to help inform other opinion leaders, the press, and the general public about them. The Strategic Research Director will execute the research plan with original scholarship and commissioned work that she/he manages and edits. The primary job duties are as follows:

  • To formulate and periodically update PLF’s research agenda in coordination with other components of PLF.
  • To build and manage a research team, including from outside the research department,  that produces high-quality research and analysis to be used in litigation, legislative, or communications materials—and as independent research reports, articles, etc.
  • To research and write key research reports on a timely basis and supervise the final production thereof.
  • To keep abreast of relevant academic research and strengthen PLF’s ties with academics and other opinion leaders.
  • To effectively manage a budget and engage outside scholars to contribute to the research agenda, to successfully manage those engagements, and edit the final products.
  • To eloquently and persuasively present PLF research in a variety of settings, including academic conferences, think tank panel discussions, working group meetings, correspondence with other opinion leaders, and with the media.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A record of original scholarship and excellent writing especially for publications geared toward a general, non-academic audience.
  • Demonstrated success in supervising other researchers and effectively editing their work.
  • Experience building a team and success in managing them is desired.
  • Experience and/or other understanding regarding how to formulate and successfully utilize original research to advocate rather than just elucidate or edify which includes that it be of the highest standards.
  • Insights in the academic world and experience in social science research and analysis.
  • An ability to converse confidently and on the same terms as academics (to facilitate and understand social science research) and also to write and speak eloquently so that nonexperts understand and are persuaded.
  • Background or understanding of marketing of research.
  • Adherence to and knowledge of the principles of liberty.
  • History of advancement over time in previous roles.

The Strategic Research Director is responsible for building and executing this new component in coordination with several other departments (litigation, legislative, and outreach). The right candidate has extensive experience and success in the basic job requirements and some existing relationships of value in the academic community. Because this is a new position, the Strategic Research Director will also need a high degree of entrepreneurship and initiative to develop and execute a strategic research plan that promotes PLF’s cutting edge litigation and policy goals. Finally, the director must possess an understanding of and appreciation for the importance of protecting individuals from unconstitutional government intrusion.

This position provides an opportunity to play an important role that will increase PLF’s national prominence and advance liberty both inside and outside the courts. PLF also offers a competitive salary, health and dental benefits, and retirement plan. PLF has a collaborative and collegial work environment. We take pride in investing in our employees’ future and encourage professional development and 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.


PLF identifies and litigates important legal issues to set landmark precedent 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. Our attorneys have ten victories before the U.S. Supreme Court—a record unmatched by anyone in the liberty movement—plus additional cases currently before the High Court with decisions pending. Simply put, we know how to get cases to the Supreme Court and we know how to win. We also know how to prevail in the court of public opinion.

If you share our passion to vindicate the principles of freedom and individual liberty, you should be a part of PLF no matter where you live. A national nonprofit organization, PLF has offices in Sacramento, CA; Arlington, VA; Palm Beach Gardens, FL; and Bellevue, WA. We prefer that the Strategic Research Director either work from or occasionally spend time in the Arlington, VA, office, but outstanding candidates may also work in other offices or virtually from home.

Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter. The resume should have the usual: your experience in the liberty movement, your professional experience, as well as your academic credentials. The cover letter should explain why PLF is the place for you, why you want to fight for liberty, and what distinguishes you from typical applicants.


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

  • Résumé.
  • Cover letter detailing your sincere interest in this position and PLF’s mission as well as your salary requirements.
  • Please include “[Strategic Research Director]–[Your Name]” in the subject line of your email.
  • Materials should be emailed to Dawn Gonzales, Director of Human Resources:

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. No phone calls please.

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.