Position Summary

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Our aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Institute has filed precedent-setting litigation, undertaken major interdisciplinary research initiatives, and become an influential voice in debates about the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. Its active litigation docket includes cutting-edge cases relating to transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has published a series of influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on new technology and public discourse, data journalism and the law, the First Amendment and inequality, whistleblowers, leaks, and national security journalism.

The Knight Institute seeks a recent college graduate or early career professional to support the Institute’s litigation work as a paralegal. The paralegal will be responsible for providing litigation and administrative support to the Institute’s groundbreaking free-speech litigation. The paralegal position is a full-time position based at Columbia University in New York City.


  1. Provide litigation, research, and administrative support to the Institute’s litigation program and staff
  2. Maintain case files, correspondence files, and internal litigation tracking systems, including the Institute’s internal docket, FOIA-request tracking sheets, case summaries, and calendar of litigation deadlines and court dates
  3. Maintain the Institute’s litigation program webpage, case webpages, and online FOIA readings rooms
  4. Cite-check legal and related filings per the Bluebook legal citation style guide
  5. Proofread, produce, file, and arrange for service of legal documents
  6. Research court rules and procedures
  7. Conduct factual research in support of litigation and FOIA requests
  8. Log, review, and help to coordinate the review by legal interns of documents produced in response to FOIA requests
  9. Manage travel arrangements for the litigation director
  10. Produce reports of attorneys’ hours using the Institute’s time-tracking software
  11. Track expenses and case costs, prepare expense reports, and maintain database of all litigation expenses, including travel and case costs
  12. Provide administrative support for the review of applications for legal fellows and summer legal interns
  13. Perform related duties & responsibilities as assigned.


Minimum qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s degree and/or is equivalent require. Minimum of 2 years of related experience required.
  2. Outstanding organizational, interpersonal, and time-management skills
  3. Ability to take initiative and work independently as well as collaboratively within a team, while maintaining collegiality, efficiency, and professionalism
  4. Excellent research and writing skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Previous paralegal or legal-administrative experience. An interest in issues relating to the freedoms of speech and the press, a strong academic record, and superior research, analytical, writing, and interpersonal skills.

How to Apply

Candidates must apply through the Columbia University jobs site at here. To apply for this position, please submit the following: 

  1. A cover letter explaining your interest in the paralegal position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience
  2. Your résumé
  3. A list of two references

Additional information may be requested during the application process.

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