National Education Association

National Education Association

NEA Staff Counsel

Based in Washington, DC
(position open until filled)


NEA Staff Counsel, #062021OGC
National Education Association
Washington, DC

Salary Range: $126,170 – $179,236
Posting Period: February 22, 2021 – Open until filled

The National Education Association (NEA) is America’s oldest and largest labor organization with some 3 million members. The mission of the NEA is to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education by preparing every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.

NEA seeks an attorney to join our fourteen-member legal team in the NEA Office of General Counsel. The widely varied work of the NEA Office of General Counsel includes all of the following:

  • Significant amicus work before the U.S. Supreme Court, significant appellate litigation in the federal and state court systems, and litigation before federal and state trial courts on cases of cross-cutting national significance. NEA’s current docket, for example, includes challenges to school voucher programs, defenses of exclusive representation and freedom of association, enforcing student and educator civil rights, and challenges to the rollback of bargaining rights.
  • Providing in-house counsel to NEA’s elected leadership and staff as well as to state and local education associations and members on an array of matters including organizing campaigns and union governance issues, legal levers for advocating for safe schools, walk-outs, protections for educator advocacy in and outside of school, ADA accommodation issues, internal union operations, charter schools, social media use and regulation, intellectual property, individual privacy and student debt relief.
  • Supporting NEA’s federal advocacy efforts for health and safety protections for students and staff in the current pandemic, for economic relief including paid leave and student loan relief, for educational and other support for students returning to in-person instruction, for educator voice, voting rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, racial equity and an expanded and representative federal judiciary.
  • Assisting NEA state affiliates in their provision of direct legal services to NEA members. Among other things, that assistance includes providing regular webinars, guidance and other assistance to affiliates on significant issues as well as providing an annual three day continuing legal education conference for the National Organization of Lawyers for Educational Associations (“NOLEA”), a national network of lawyers representing school employees and their associations.
  • Providing counsel to NEA regarding affiliate relationships, tools for improving the representation of NEA members, tools to assist NEA members in their advocacy work and legal guidance needed to support affiliate and member advocacy.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the following is provided: The position involves skill in using a personal computer; oral and written communication skills; use of clear and articulate speech; interpersonal relations skills; reasoning and problem solving skills; ability to work in a fast-paced environment; ability to sit for long periods, stoop, bend, reach and carry light materials (up to 10 lbs.); and ability to travel by various methods of transportation, e.g., airplane, car.

Responsibilities: The particular responsibilities of this position will be to develop and support NEA’s work for school funding reform, and to support NEA’s federal advocacy efforts, and to support NEA’s litigation efforts. Applicants should be interested in a position in which they will:

  • Develop legal strategies for challenging inequitable school funding systems, work with NEA affiliates and allied organizations to advance those legal strategies.
  • Develop legal strategies for advancing NEA’s federal advocacy work, including by way of developing and sequencing advocacy strategies for pressing for new guidance and regulations on key issues of concern.
  • Develop and present trainings on a wide variety of legal issues and skills for state affiliate counsel, as well as for NEA and state and local leaders and staff.
  • Monitor and analyze legal developments of interest to NEA and its members, including legal review and analysis of federal laws and regulations, and provide regular updates on developments of interest to NOLEA and others.
  • Assist with other legal matters (internal and external) as needed.


  • J.D. from an accredited law school required.
  • Five or more years of legal practice required with preference given to significant legal advocacy work on school funding or federal education advocacy work.
  • Excellent oral and written advocacy and communication skills required, including significant writing experience, expertise in advising on complex nonprofit organization issues, or similar significant work. Excellent public speaking skills desirable.
  • Demonstrated ability to accurately analyze and resolve the range of legal issues that an in-house counsel operation must handle in a major national union including its relationships with affiliates, subsidiaries and partner organizations.
  • Must be willing and able to serve as a generalist providing advice and counsel on operations matters as needed.
  • Demonstrated commitment to labor and public education work preferred.
  • Ability to perform complex legal analytical work, to design innovative legal strategies and to work collaboratively required.
  • Self-motivated and able to manage a variety of tasks concurrently. Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as to collaborate in a collegial environment.
  • Healthy respect for colleagues, employees, and superiors.
  • A sense of humor.

To Apply
Candidates will need to email a letter of interest (attention: Kelli Brown), your salary history, a resume and two recent significant writing samples to: kbrown@nea.org. Please indicate NEA Staff Counsel, #062021OGC" in the letter. References are required of all candidates.

The National Education Association is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply.

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.