Legal Officer (Brussels or NYC)

About the Role:

The Legal Officer supports our organization in preventing and mitigating legal risk through compliance, and transactional and operational counsel. The position is exciting and varied, and alternates between the roles of trusted advisor, researcher, kitchen expeditor, prognosticator, advocate, and negotiator. The role exists alongside a highly talented and dynamic group of lawyers, security experts, accountants, policy wonks, and specialists across five continents. 


About Us:

We are a growing, international human rights organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world – including issues of privacy, security, freedom of expression, and transparency. Our policy, advocacy, technology, grantmaking, and legal teams have presences in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA), Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and South/Southeast Asia, to provide global support to our mission.


What You Will Do:

You will help us prevent and mitigate legal risk in our operations. Drafting and negotiating contracts with conference and event vendors is only the start. Your job is to help foresee and overcome legal and regulatory threats to our work, expedite and provide timely responses to queries, and shape our global legal priorities. You will develop two-way communication channels, protocols, and databases to manage our contracting. And you will assist in compliance with public regulations, navigate risks in private tort law, and confront a wide range of scenarios in our many countries of operation. 

You will not confront these issues alone. You’ll be directly interfacing with our organization’s other units; ideally you will have legal and regional knowledge to identify and further synergies with these teams.

Among the projects and responsibilities:

  • Full support for contracting, from vendor selection through drafting and execution – advising on best practices, standards, and model clauses in transactional law
  • Developing and implementing a system to track, expedite, and fulfill legal support requests, which may range from urgent support on contracts, employment law questions, and registration of new entities
  • Facilitating compliance with relevant public and private law and regulation, including through staff training programmes on data protection (GDPR and CCPA to start)
  • Assisting in legal aspects of Access Now’s RightsCon Summit Series, the world’s leading event on human rights in the digital age
  • Advising the General Counsel and working alongside the Tech-Legal Counsel to shape the Legal Arm to better support the organization’s Mission
  • Working to further development, finance, security, and corporate initiatives
  • Working with our grants team to ensure legal compliance and manage risks 
  • Managing and building relationships with pro bono counsel, especially in regard to tax, finance, and lobbying compliance, corporate registration, and administrative law issues
  • Assisting in identifying opportunities to promote judicial interventions to better protect civic spaces and NGO interests, including through litigation 


You Should Have:

We expect that you will possess, at minimum 

  • One year of relevant legal or risk assessment experience and a demonstrable knowledge of relevant compliance, contract, and/or employment law, in the US – and preferably, with other jurisdictions
  • Excellent spoken, expository, and persuasive legal writing and editing skills
  • Precise attention to detail
  • An advanced degree (or equivalent practical experience) related to law

Beyond the above, there is no comprehensive list of characteristics that we believe will be indicative of a successful candidate. Please use the bullets below as a guide for experience and characteristics for which we will be looking.

  • Highly confident and skilled lawyer, with at least one year of organizational experience
  • Understanding of human rights law, the international political system, and/or the internet, with the ability to identify emerging issues and use legal mechanisms
  • Extremely strategic and creative thinker who can provide expert and tactical advice
  • Strong management of competing and urgent tasks vs with long-term, sustained projects
  • Process-driven operator – and capacity to delegate, create responsive and flexible systems, and make decisions
  • Excellent communicator, able to talk publicly to a room as well as privately with team members on- and off-line
  • Deep respect for cultural identity – including gender identity, and linguistic and regional differences, and diversity – and how to support global teams
  • Humility, ability to inspire, engage with donors, and set policy direction
  • Fluency in a language other than English
  • Understanding of modern information and communications technologies



This is a full time position, preferably based in New York, USA or Brussels, Belgium. Other locations in which Access Now has registered offices may be considered for the right candidate. This role involves domestic and international travel, not to exceed 25% of the time.


Salary and Benefits:

We offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience. We offer wide-ranging benefits to help our employees embrace new challenges and allow them to advance their career. This can also include technical training, language training, travel, and access to our global network of knowledge and expertise!


To Apply:

Send an email “Legal Officer – [Your Name]” in the subject line to with the following documents attached:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Cover letter outlining your suitability for the role 
  • The names and contact details of two references (only one may be academic)

If you would like to encrypt your application submission, please send it to using the following PGP KEy: 0x676DA406.

Deadline: Rolling, until filled


Access Now believes a diverse, inclusive team makes us a stronger organization and better partner. We’re committed to being an equal opportunity employer, and the hiring persons of all races, ethnicities, ages, sex, genders, sexual orientation or gender identities, marital status, religions, and disabilities.  Women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and members of other minority or marginalized groups are encouraged to apply.

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