Lead Counsel

Remote Legal

Lead Counsel


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

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit home of Wikipedia, Wikimedia 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 an experienced lawyer to join our in-house legal department as Lead Counsel to provide critical advice and counsel on how we manage the strategic relationships that empower us to pursue our vision. This includes a variety of projects, ranging from the development, negotiation, and structuring of our corporate and organizational partnerships, to facilitating the external use of our brand and copyrighted works, and more. Ideal candidates will have experience providing 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 structures and executes relationships with strategic partners. This includes:
    • Partnerships relating to the exchange, development, and/or use of data, technology, intellectual property, open source software, free culture and freely-licensed content, and know-how; 
    • Partnerships relating to programs advancing education, access to knowledge, digital human rights, policy initiatives, and other areas of Wikimedia's work;
    • Relationships relating to the use of Wikimedia’s intellectual property assets, including our trademarks and copyrighted works; 
    • Wikimedia’s internal practices for advancing, supporting, and complying with the terms of our strategic partnerships.
  • Negotiate and draft agreements, including memoranda of understanding, development agreements, licenses, and non-disclosure agreements, governing Wikimedia’s relationships with strategic partners. 
  • Advise on questions about the Creative Commons suite of licenses.
  • Provide guidance and negotiate and draft agreements relating to the license and use of Wikimedia intellectual property assets, including trademark licenses, and copyright licenses and clearances. 
  • Provide advice and counsel relating to Wikimedia’s grantmaking activities.
  • Provide legal advice and counsel on global workforce-related matters. 
  • Advise the Foundation on other domestic and international legal and policy questions, which may include privacy, contract, copyright, trademark, or litigation matters.
  • Liaise with and assist in the management of outside counsel. 
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills and Experience:

  • 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).
  • 6+ years of legal experience, in private practice and/or as in-house counsel. 
  • Ability to excel in a fast-paced, multitasking environment that demands high-quality work on short deadlines.
  • Experience handling and/or supporting business development-related matters. 
  • Experience with matters relating to technology licensing, specifically including open source software licensing.
  • 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, legal needs, etc. 
  • 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 employment-law related matters. 
  • Experience handling copyright licensing matters in the media, entertainment, and/or publishing sectors. 
  • Experience working on media law-related matters. 
  • Experience working internationally, for international clients, or on international law.
  • Experience working in privacy law. 
  • Experience working as product counsel for a technology company. 
  • Prior experience with California state employment law. 
  • Ability to speak additional languages besides English.
  • Prior experience working with or participating in large volunteer communities. 
  • Prior experience working in the technology sector. 
  • Prior experience working on matters relating to 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 recruiting@wikimedia.org 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.

More information

Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia 2030
Wikimedia Medium Term Plan
Our Commitment to Equity
This is Wikimedia Foundation 
Facts Matter
Our Projects
Our Tech Stack



Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world.

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