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Senior Legal Officer, Media Development – Thomson Reuters Foundation
About Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is corporate foundation of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information services company. As an independent charity, registered in the UK and the USA, we work to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies, and promote human rights. Through news, media development, free legal assistance and convening initiatives, we combine our unique media and legal services to drive systemic change.
We use the combined power of journalism and the law to build global awareness of critical issues faced by humanity, inspire collective leadership and help shape a prosperous world where no one is left behind.
TrustLaw is the global pro bono service of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. As the world’s leading pro bono legal service, TrustLaw helps high-impact NGOs and social enterprises, including media organizations, to grow, streamline their operations and navigate complex laws and regulations by connecting them with free legal assistance from the best law firms and corporate legal teams around the world. We also deliver groundbreaking legal research on key social and policy issues that our members use to support their advocacy and law reform efforts, and we deliver innovative capacity-building workshops on legal issues across the globe.
Legal projects facilitated through TrustLaw range from everyday operational and commercial matters – such as corporate structuring, intellectual property, non-profit governance or employment advice – to large-scale cross-border legal research projects. Research projects are based on NGO and social enterprise priorities across social or policy issues ranging from freedom of expression and social innovation policy, to human trafficking and data and digital rights, with a growing number in Thomson Reuters Foundation’s focus areas of media freedom, inclusive economies and human rights.
About the Role
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is recruiting a Senior Legal Officer for TrustLaw to expand the TrustLaw service and to implement a new media freedom programme focused on East and Southern Africa, working closely with the programme’s Project Manager. The position may be based in Thomson Reuters’ offices in Nairobi or Johannesburg.
As a Senior Legal Officer for TrustLaw, you will:
Coordinate and contribute to legal and factual research on the freedom of expression and media law landscape across countries in East and Southern Africa, resulting in high-level research memos, analyses and other outputs capable of guiding the Foundation and its partners on the project.
Working with the Project Manager, map the key media players (including law firms and legal actors) in East and Southern Africa. Map the main trends and legal challenges for journalists, media freedom NGOs and media houses in the relevant countries.
Support mapping and implementation of strategies to recruit, engage and partner with NGOs, social enterprises and legal teams, particularly within the media freedom space in Africa and across the globe.
Coordinate and support legal training for NGOs, journalists and media houses on media freedom in Kenya, Zambia and South Africa.
Scope media freedom-related legal pro bono requests from TrustLaw’s community of NGOs and social enterprises, as well as from media organizations and journalists that are receiving support outside of the TrustLaw pro bono service, so that the requests clearly explain the legal needs.
Manage legal requests from inception to completion, including connecting our clients with lawyers in the TrustLaw network or other legal service providers, as appropriate, and follow up with the parties involved.
Lead on design, scoping and management of multiple cross-border research projects that address the critical social and policy needs facing our clients, with a particular focus on topics relevant to our media freedom work.
Support the Project Manager with development and oversight of a funding mechanism to facilitate legal support for clients and/or media freedom matters that are not eligible to receive pro bono assistance through the TrustLaw service.
Support with engaging the appropriate legal service providers to develop formal vetting, project scoping, approval, and connection structures for facilitating links to and/or funding for such legal support.
Scope, research, and support delivery of events and trainings on legal issues in freedom of expression, press freedom and on other topics of relevance to media freedom.
Monitor publicly filed lawsuits on media freedom brought against the state, journalists, media freedom NGOs and other media players across countries in East and Southern Africa.
Support relationship management of key TrustLaw members and other project stakeholders facilitating their engagement with the TrustLaw service and/or other legal service providers, as appropriate, through hosting events and supporting regular communications, marketing and PR.
Assist the Project Manager on the administrative, reporting, planning and logistical responsibilities linked to the role as and when necessary.
Assist the TrustLaw team in reporting to its board and donors by providing data regarding the project in a timely manner.
Support the TrustLaw team on media freedom thought leadership projects and, as appropriate, represent TrustLaw by speaking publicly on our work at panels, conferences, or other speaking engagements.
Travel, when safe to do so.
An LLB and preference of a lawyer admitted to the Bar or with an advanced law degree
At least three years’ experience working as a lawyer, preferably in media law and/or human rights, either in a law firm, media house or non-profit organisation
A strong understanding of international standards on press freedom and/or the media law/policy landscape in East and Southern Africa
Experience of working in the Kenyan, Zambian and/or South African legal systems would be an advantage
Excellent project and time management and organisational skills including the ability to effectively manage multiple matters and projects in a fast-paced environment
Excellent research, drafting and analytical skills, with experience in training an advantage
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills –able to establish and maintain positive working relationships both internally and externally, with people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds
Fluency in English; working knowledge of other major languages spoken in East or Southern Africa would be an advantage.
Proven ability to work in a diverse multi–cultural environment
Proven ability to work in a large team with varied stakeholders
Ability to work both independently and with others
Integrity, professional discretion and ability to handle confidential matters
Pre-existing right to work in Kenya or South Africa required.
This is a fixed term 24 month contract based in Nairobi or Johannesburg. The salary is commensurate with experience.
Deadline for applications: 22January 2021.
In your submitted application, ensure to attach your CV, cover letter describing how you meet the specifications for this role and what you bring to it, and a relevant sample of your writing. Please indicate whether you have the right to work in South Africa and/or Kenya in your cover letter.
What’s in it For You
At the Thomson Reuters Foundation, our people are our greatest assets. Here are some of the benefits we offer for your personal and professional growth:
Global Perspective and Impact: Interested in working for a dynamic global organization with a focus on social impact? With hubs all over the world from Bangkok to Madrid to Rio de Janeiro, join a truly international team with a shared goal of helping to build societies around the world that are free, fair and informed.
A Unique Approach: Our expertise in media and the law is world class; we combine the power of both to address the critical issues faced by humanity.
Our Relevance: With a focus on advancing media freedom, fostering more inclusive economies and promoting human rights, our work has never been more needed than right now.
Benefits: We offer competitive salary packages and market-leading benefits.
Learning & Development: We are dedicated to the continual professional development of our employees and offer access to both in-house and external training opportunities.
Do you want to be part of a team helping re-invent the way knowledge professionals work? How about a team that works every day to create a more transparent, just and inclusive future? At Thomson Reuters, we’ve been doing just that for almost 160 years. Our industry-leading products and services include highly specialized information-enabled software and tools for legal, tax, accounting and compliance professionals combined with the world’s most global news services – Reuters. We help these professionals do their jobs better, creating more time for them to focus on the things that matter most: advising, advocating, negotiating, governing and informing.
We are powered by the talents of 25,000 employees across more than 75 countries, where everyone has a chance to contribute and grow professionally in flexible work environments that celebrate diversity and inclusion. At a time when objectivity, accuracy, fairness and transparency are under attack, we consider it our duty to pursue them. Sound exciting? Join us and help shape the industries that move society forward.
As a global business, we rely on diversity of culture and thought to deliver on our goals. To ensure we can do that, we seek talented, qualified employees in all our operations around the world regardless of race, color, sex/gender, including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, citizen status, veteran status, or any other protected classification under applicable law. Thomson Reuters is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer providing a drug-free workplace.
We also make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and for sincerely held religious beliefs in accordance with applicable law.
More information about Thomson Reuters can be found on thomsonreuters.com.