Exciting new opportunity at Wikimedia Foundation! | Deputy General Counsel


The Wikimedia Foundation is looking for an experienced, collaborative, and forward-thinking Deputy General Counsel to join us in seeking to make the world’s knowledge accessible to all. The Foundation is the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia, one of the world's most popular and beloved sites, as well as a diverse, global community of volunteer editors, developers, and affiliate organizations. The Deputy Counsel will support the General Counsel in leading the organization’s legal department. In addition to providing legal services, the legal department’s proactive litigation, education, and public policy work advances the Foundation’s mission in areas including freedom of expression and access to knowledge.

The Deputy General Counsel will be a hands-on leader with management experience, who will help to oversee and develop a highly talented and collaborative team of 9 lawyers and 2 paralegals, along with a number of fellows and interns. The Deputy Counsel will also work closely with the executive team and other key Foundation leaders across departments and functions.

We are looking for expertise and experience covering a range of legal topics relevant to our work, with a particular focus on advising consumer-facing internet/digital companies and the ability to oversee our technology transactions and product counseling.


  • Advise the General Counsel and executive leadership team.
  • Work collaboratively with the General Counsel and legal department staff members to define a strategy for the legal department within the Foundation and Wikimedia movement. Help set priorities and build the infrastructure to deliver on that strategy.
  • Work with the General Counsel to develop and lead a strong, diverse, and collaborative team serving Foundation administrative needs, programmatic goals, and the Wikimedia movement:

    • Oversee the work of various workflows and manage assigned lawyers; mentor junior staff.  
  • Provide strong transactional support and product counseling for engineers/technologists; this will include direct counseling, as well as negotiation and drafting of complex commercial, technology, open source, mobile, and other agreements.
  • Provide advice and counsel on other areas of the law, which, depending upon our needs and your experience, may include domestic and international copyright law, licensing, litigation strategy, employment, freedom of expression and access, or privacy/security.
  • Be an effective and clear communicator on relevant legal topics and developments for Foundation staff, affiliated organizations, and users, editors, and developers globally.


  • 7+ years experience practicing law and advising a digital technology or internet company (e.g., as in-house counsel), preferably consumer-facing and with global reach.  
  • Significant experience in product counseling and the negotiation and drafting of commercial, technology, and other types of agreements relevant to a web-based company.
  • Significant management experience.
  • Comfortable in a highly collaborative, multi-cultural, transparent environment.
  • Ability to assess and manage serious risks.
  • Mission-driven with a public service orientation and high personal integrity.

    • An understanding of, and commitment to, a free and open internet, to the open source and free culture movements, and to Wikimedia’s mission.
  • Excellent written, verbal communication skills; fluency in written and spoken English.
  • Able to prioritize and adhere to deadlines, complete projects independently and manage costs and budgets in a busy environment.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally as needed, including attendance and speaking at conferences.
  • Licensed or eligible to practice law in California or immediately able to apply to become registered in-house counsel.
  • J.D. from accredited U.S. law school or equivalent foreign degree with significant U.S. legal experience.


  • Interest in public policy.
  • Experience working with free culture or free software principles and values.
  • Experience in international law, particularly: copyright, privacy, freedom of expression.
  • Experience living or working outside of home country.
  • Fluency/proficiency in language(s) other than English.
  • Active participation as a Wikimedia volunteer.
  • Experience with large, online user communities.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and hosts Wikipedia and several other Wikimedia free knowledge sites. Every month, the Wikimedia sites are accessed by more than a billion unique devices. Wikipedia consists of more than 40 million articles across hundreds of languages. Every month, more than 250,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) non-profit that is funded primarily through donations and grants. It currently employs over 300 staff members.

At the Foundation, we build technology to help people everywhere access Wikipedia, across devices and in nearly 300 languages. We engineer privacy for our readers and editors so they can safely and securely explore Wikipedia. We create programs and initiatives to make Wikipedia freely available to more people in more parts of the world. We build new tools for the community of editors so they can continue to improve and grow Wikipedia. Roughly a quarter of our budget goes to supporting the community that make the site possible, including through grantmaking programs that enable volunteers and enrich the information on the sites.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply.

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 19 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
  • Great colleagues – diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

* for benefits eligible staff, benefits may vary by location

More Information