Legal Counsel

  • Wikimedia Foundation
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
Full Time Legal

Job Description

Location: San Francisco, CA


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

The Wikimedia Foundation, the San Francisco-based 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 prepares to pursue a new global strategic direction, our Legal department is tasked with solving many legal questions, including some that no one has thought about before.  We are looking for an employment lawyer to join our in-house legal department. In addition to providing legal advice regarding our U.S.-based employees and employment practices and procedures, we will be answering novel employment and labor law questions as we shape and structure our global movement.

We’re looking for an attorney who is interested in growing into a leadership role in managing employment law matters for Wikimedia, and who can handle matters in other areas as they arise. Ideal candidates will have a good grounding and experience in this field and a passion for Wikimedia’s mission.   

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 regarding Wikimedia’s employment practices, policies, and compliance programs in the context of Wikimedia’s strategic direction and organizational risk profile, and in accordance with all applicable laws.
  • Provide legal advice and counsel on a range of employment law matters, including recruiting, employee performance review management, compensation and benefits, employee classification, and contingent workforce issues.
  • Provide counsel and strategic support to Wikimedia’s Talent & Culture and other departments.
  • Advise the Foundation on domestic and international legal and policy questions, which may include contract, litigation, copyright, trademark, or privacy matters.
  • Liaise with and assist in the management of outside counsel.
  • Collaborate on conducting trainings on employment law and related matters in conjunction with the Talent & Culture department.

Essential Qualifications:

  • JD from an accredited law school and authorized 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).
  • 3+ years of legal experience, including significant employment law experience, either in private practice or as in-house counsel.
  • Ability to excel in a fast-paced, multitasking environment that demands high-quality work on short deadlines.
  • Ability to identify and implement practical solutions to abstract or complex problems.
  • Ability to dedicate to projects, 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, board meetings, legal needs, etc.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and collaboration skills and ability to work well on a team.


  • Experience working internationally, for international clients, or on international law.
  • Ability to speak additional languages besides English.
  • Prior experience working on matters relating to a remote workforce.
  • Experience working on intellectual property, litigation, and/or transactional law matters.
  • Prior experience working with or participating in large volunteer communities.
  • Experience working on immigration law matters.
  • Prior experience working in the technology sector.
  • Prior work, internship, or volunteer experience in the nonprofit sector.

The Wikimedia Foundation is...

...the nonprofit organization that supports 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.

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



Annual Report - 2017

Wikimedia 2030

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