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Senior Counsel in Wikimedia Foundation

Salary Range: More than 5,000 US$ per month

Job Published on: January 12th, 2021

Available to applicants based in: Anywhere


Wikimedia envisions a world where the sum total of human knowledge is available to everyone.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit home of WikipediaWikimedia Commons, and other free educational projects, serves as the hub of a global movement of hundreds of thousands of contributors collaborating to collect and share the sum of all human knowledge with the world.

As Wikimedia pursues a new global strategic direction, our Legal department is tasked with solving many legal questions, including some that no one has fully considered before. We are looking for a skilled, privacy-focused lawyer to join our in-house legal department as Senior Counsel to provide critical advice and counsel on how we collect and manage data, build effective new products, and respond to the changing data protection landscape worldwide. This will include managing Wikimedia’s responses to user questions and requests, advising engineers and designers on effective and privacy-protective methods to collect data, supporting our privacy-related public policy work, and more. Ideal candidates will have the skills and knowledge to provide holistic and creative advice and counsel in a variety of contexts.

Who Should Apply:

At Wikimedia, we serve the world. We believe that there is no way to meaningfully achieve our goal of reaching every single human unless our organization reflects the full breadth of the human experience. To that end, the Wikimedia Foundation recruits candidates from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, including those from historically marginalized groups — women, people with disabilities, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or gender nonconforming, first and second generation immigrants, and people from low-income families. A diversity of lived experiences is reflective of those who create and use Wikimedia every day.

Essential Functions of Role:

  • Provide legal advice and counsel on how Wikimedia handles data privacy law and related matters. This includes, for example:
    • Manage responses to personal data-related requests and questions from users based in all jurisdictions.
    • Provide product counseling related to data privacy for new and existing Wikimedia products and for evaluation of those products.
    • Support privacy-related public policy work.
    • Negotiate, draft, and review agreements, including memoranda of understanding, development agreements, licenses, and non-disclosure agreements, for issues related to data privacy and security.
    • Advise on developing laws and trends globally regarding data privacy and freedom of expression.
    • Collaborate with Wikimedia staff and volunteers to improve privacy and security structures and systems for the Wikimedia movement.
  • Advise the Foundation on other domestic and international legal and policy questions, which may include contract, copyright, trademark, or litigation matters as needed.
  • Liaise with and assist in the management of outside counsel.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills and Experience:

  • JD from an accredited law school and current membership in good standing with at least one US state bar.
  • Training, knowledge, or experience with global data privacy law.
  • Ability to excel in a fast-paced, multitasking environment that demands high-quality work on short deadlines.
  • Training, knowledge, or experience handling and/or supporting regulatory and compliance matters.
  • Training, knowledge, or experience with legal matters relating to online technology product design and development.
  • Ability to identify and implement practical solutions to abstract or complex problems.
  • Ability to adhere to deadlines, and complete work independently.
  • Ability to travel, including internationally; and to travel or work on weekends if and when needed, due to conferences, legal needs, etc.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate across cultures and timezones.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills.

Qualities that are important to us: 

  • Appreciation for and alignment with Wikimedia’s mission.
  • Strong interpersonal and collaboration skills and ability to work well on a team.
  • A desire to learn, stretch, and grow.

Additionally, we’d love it if you have: 

  • Experience handling legal matters related to data security.
  • Experience working on media law-related matters, especially the intersection of privacy law and reporting on matters of public interest.
  • Experience working internationally, for international clients, or on international law.
  • Experience working as product counsel for a technology company.
  • Knowledge of, or experience with, computer code and technologies for website hosting and database management.
  • Authorization to practice law in the State of California (either as an active member of the California Bar or by qualifying as in-house registered counsel).
  • Ability to speak additional languages besides English.
  • Prior experience working with or participating in online communities, especially large volunteer communities.
  • Prior experience working in the technology sector.
  • Prior experience working with a remote workforce.
  • Prior work, internship, or volunteer experience in the nonprofit sector.

The Wikimedia Foundation is... 

...the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference. We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

As an equal opportunity employer, the Wikimedia Foundation values having a diverse workforce and continuously strives to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. We encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. We do not discriminate against any person based upon their race, traits historically associated with race, religion, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy or related medical conditions, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics.

If you are a qualified applicant requiring assistance or an accommodation to complete any step of the application process due to a disability, you may contact us at or (415) 839-6885.

U.S. Benefits & Perks*

  • Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
  • The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
  • The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
  • Flexible and generous time off - vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 22 paid holidays - including the last week of the year
  • Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
  • For those emergency moments - long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
  • Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
  • Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
  • Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Paid travel to Wikimedia Foundation events all around the world!
  • Equipment including a laptop, monitor, plus a one-time stipend to cover any additional needs to make sure you have the best work experience
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people
*Please note that for remote roles located outside of the U.S., we defer to our PEO to ensure alignment with local labor laws.

Interested? Apply now!

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