Director of Legal Strategies

New York City, NY

Director of Legal Strategies. We are looking for an ambitious, innovative leader, excellent manager, and brilliant legal policy strategist motivated to lead the Demos’ Legal Team on its national program of policy development, legal strategies, and litigation to further our goal of developing policy solutions and strategies needed to achieve structural democracy reform that builds political and movement power with Black and brown communities. The Director of Legal Strategies will have a well-developed understanding of the progressive movement and policy landscape and bring fresh legal strategy ideas to the organization. The Director will manage multiple legal staff, lead the strategic development of policy goals and new work areas, and oversee and develop new litigation and other legal initiatives. The Director works closely with, and reports to, the Executive Vice President, and is a member of Demos’ Director Team, and will work closely with our Democracy issue experts, thought leaders, and partners.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:    

  • Develop and drive a comprehensive legal strategy based on the strategic priorities of Demos;
  • Leading the development of Demos’ legal strategies and related policy goals, including the development of new work areas under advisement of the Executive Vice President and other senior leadership at Demos;
  • Bringing a racial equity lens and analysis of structural racism to all of Demos’ legal strategies work and initiatives; centering race and conducting racial equity interventions with partners, coalitions, campaigns, and within the organization;
  • Holding responsibility for overall effectiveness and mentorship of Legal Strategies team, including overseeing team work plans, systems and processes that drive toward organizational goals; maximizing impact and growing team member skills; directly supervising members of the team including managing to individual work plans, administering reviews and providing mentorship and support for professional development; ensuring that other team supervisors effectively manage and support their staff; periodically managing work done by consultants, including management of contracts and deliverables.
  • Building coalitions with other organizations and advocates at the local, state and national level and with academics, private law firms and attorneys, and others in carrying out  Demos’ goals;
  • Fundraising including grant writing and reporting, building strong relationships with foundation staff and individual donors, and locating new sources of funds across the full breadth of the Policy and Research team’s portfolio.
  • Conducting and overseeing legal and policy writing for diverse audiences to advance Demos’ goals;
  • Engaging in public education and communication and representing Demos in public settings including public speaking engagements, conferences, media appearances, blog posts, op-eds;
  • Bringing a racial equity lens and an analysis of structural racism to Demos’ legal work and initiatives; and
  • Serving on Demos’ issue-specific work teams to help plan, coordinate, and execute project deliverables such as policy development, research reports, legal advocacy, and litigation strategies;
  • Working with federal, state and local officials to improve compliance with civil rights laws and promote progressive reform initiatives;
  • Directing and managing the work of the Legal Team, including all aspects of litigation from trial through appellate and Supreme Court practice, amicus participation, and other legal work;
  • Other duties as assigned by your supervisor from time to time.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

  • High level of legal strategies experience, including legal policy writing, litigation, and other legal aptitudes. At least 10-12 years of legal experience, with demonstrated success in leading sophisticated legal policy initiatives and litigation from start to finish, superior legal writing and research skills, achievement of high standards in quality of legal work, developing and implementing new strategic litigation, and increasing responsibility over course of legal career. Active membership in one or more state bars, preferably New York, is required.
  • Ability to Lead Efforts to Advance Racial Equity. You are committed to leading on racial equity with Demos and our external partnerships, with a sophisticated understanding of how structural racism, white supremacy, and anti-blackness influence supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work; understanding of how systemic racism affects present-day systems and ability to advance racial equity goals through communications strategies; demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, partnership or campaign; and commitment to Demos’ culture of respect, shared responsibility, and consistent feedback.
  • Ability to lead and manage a team. You know how to lead a team, manage tough situations, encourage innovation, and work within an organization to set a vision and execute it effectively. You know how to achieve your goals in collaboration with others and are skilled at nurturing talent and supervising staff. A sense of humor are a plus.
  • Excellent strategic thinker and movement orientation. You have successful experience in the legal strategies field, either at a think-tank, advocacy organization, or political campaign and are very familiar with the progressive field. You pay close attention to what’s happening in the news, the movement, and the ecosystem and use those influences to help lead the strategic development of our communications work for maximum impact. You can navigate the terrain of being a non-partisan and credible think-tank while advancing strong progressive values and policies. You also understand the communications plays in agenda setting and can work effectively with grassroots partners and advocates at the state and national level; you understand the importance of, and have experience with, building respectful relationships with other progressive organizations, advocates and leaders in one or more areas of Demos’ work.
  • Experience with Core Demos Issues. You have expertise or experience within Demos’ core issue areas, particularly Democracy reform, which includes voting rights, reducing the role of money in politics, and shifting power federal and state courts from engines of oppression to engines for justice and equity for Black and brown communities.

The most competitive candidates will also demonstrate one or more of the following skills, experiences, or perspectives:

  • Strong Existing Network. You are known and respected in the progressive movement and legal field, bringing existing relationships that will facilitate expansion of our work.
  • Ability to Write Effectively for Broad Audiences. You have experience writing effectively for broad audiences through blogging, op-eds, reports, briefing papers, or other similar outlets.
  • Public Presentation. You are a skilled public speaker who is experienced with presenting to groups and at conferences, and comfortable with engaging in media interviews or appearances on our issues.
  • Fundraising Experience. You have experience engaging with and/or cultivating relationships with individual donors and/or foundations to solicit funds to support program work.

Candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in a fast-paced environment. The position is full-time.

Salary and Benefits:  The salary range for this position starts at $130,000 and is negotiable depending on experience. We have a generous benefits package which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 10 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, paid time off Dec. 25- Jan. 1, 12 sick days per year, and a voluntary 403b plan.

How to Apply: Upload a thoughtful cover letter and résumé. We are looking for an immediate hire so applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls or emails please.

Demos is an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.