Senior Legal Officer, TrustLaw

Recruiter / Employer: Thomson Reuters
Contract: Permanent
Salary: Confidential
Status: Expired

Job Description

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 world’s leading pro bono legal service. The service and wider programme 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 for practical guidance on legal issues.

Legal requests 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 priorities across social or policy issues ranging from freedom of expression, to human trafficking, data and digital rights and social innovation policy, with a growing number in Thomson Reuters Foundation 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 bring specialist media freedom and to implement a new media freedom project focused on East and Southern Africa. The position may be based in Thomson Reuters’ offices in Nairobi or Johannesburg.

As a Senior Legal Officer for TrustLaw, you will: 

  • Undertake 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.
  • Oversee, review and guide the work of consultants and legal experts working on legal research, beneficiary needs assessments, issue mapping and content development.
  • Work with expert consultants to map the main trends and legal challenges for journalists, media freedom NGOs and media houses in East and Southern Africa and assess the legal needs that the project’s beneficiaries face in relation to laws, policies and loopholes that undermine free and open information environments.
  • Map and implement strategies to recruit, engage, partner and manage relationships with NGOs, social enterprises and legal teams, particularly within the media freedom space in Africa and across the globe.
  • Scope, research, manage and deliver legal trainings, health checks and events for NGOs, journalists and/or media houses on media freedom topics in Kenya, Zambia and South Africa.
  • Support the development of legal content for trainings and health checks, and guidance for legal teams providing advisory support.
  • Scope legal pro bono advisory requests from TrustLaw’s community of NGOs and social enterprises, as well as from media organizations and journalists that are part of TrustLaw’s media freedom projects, so that the requests clearly explain the legal needs. Help to place and connect projects with legal teams.
  • Design, scope and manage multiple cross-border research projects that address the critical social and policy needs facing our clients, with a particular focus on topics relevant to TrustLaw’s media freedom projects.
  • Develop and coordinate a connection and funding mechanism to facilitate legal support for clients and/or matters within TrustLaw’s media freedom projects that are not eligible to receive pro bono assistance through the TrustLaw service.
  • Assist and support the project manager and TrustLaw team on the administrative, reporting, planning, monitoring, and logistical responsibilities linked to the role in a timely manner
  • Support the TrustLaw team on media freedom thought leadership projects, and represent TrustLaw by speaking publicly on our work at panels, conferences, or other speaking engagements.
  • Travel, when safe to do so.

The candidate

  • An LLB and preference of a lawyer admitted to the Bar in Kenya or South Africa or with an advanced law degree.
  • At least five 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, efforts to undermine free and open information environments, and/or the media law/policy landscape in East and/or 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 manage effectively multiple matters and projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Experience working on donor-funded project is a plus
  • 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 languages (i.e. Swahili) would be an advantage.
  • Proven ability to work in a diverse multi–cultural environment
  • Integrity, professional discretion and ability to handle confidential matters
  • Pre-existing right to work in Kenya or South Africa required.
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