Legal Director

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Legal Director. Dēmos seeks a highly qualified and motivated Legal Director to lead the Dēmos Legal Team on its national program of litigation, legal strategies and policy development to further our goal of an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy. The Legal Director will manage multiple legal staff, oversee and develop new litigation and other legal initiatives, and lead in the strategic development of policy goals and new work areas. The Legal Director works closely with, and reports to, the Vice President for Policy and Legal Strategies, and is a member of the Senior Leadership Council at Dēmos. The Legal Director is expected to be resident in the New York office of Dēmos; but consideration will be given to uniquely qualified candidates based outside of NYC. Some travel is required.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • 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;
  • Leading the development of Dēmos’ legal strategies and related policy goals, including the development of new work areas under advisement of the Vice President for Policy and Legal Strategies and other senior leadership at Dēmos;
  • Handling department-level management responsibilities, including developing annual budgets, faciliting project and team meetings, executing departmental responsibilities in cross-organizational activities and commitments, conducting annual performance reviews, supporting team members’ professional development, participation in the Senior Leadership Council, and representing the legal department in Dēmos board meetings and other official settings;
  • Working with federal, state and local officials to improve compliance with civil rights laws and promote progressive reform initiatives;
  • Building coalitions with other organizations and advocates at the local, state and national level and with social scientists, private law firms and attorneys, and others in carrying out  Dēmos’ goals;
  • Directly supervising Dēmos Senior Counsels and other staff as assigned, and contributing to management and supervision of entire legal team;
  • Partnering with the Vice President for Policy and Legal Strategies and others to fundraise and work on foundation grants and reports related to the work of the Legal Team and relevant issue-specific work teams;
  • Conducting and overseeing legal and policy writing for diverse audiences to advance Dēmos’ goals;
  • Engaging in public education and communication and representing Dēmos 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 Dēmos’ legal work and initiatives; and
  • Serving on Dēmos’ issue-specific work teams to help plan, coordinate, and execute project deliverables such as litigation, legal advocacy, policy development, research reports, and communications strategies.

The successful candidate must demonstrate the following experience and skills:

  • High level of litigation skills and other legal aptitudes. At least 10-12 years of legal experience, with demonstrated success in leading sophisticated litigation and legal policy initiatives from start to finish, developing and implementing new strategic litigation, superior legal writing and research skills, achievement of high standards in quality of legal work, and increasing responsibility over course of legal career. Active membership in one or more state bars, preferably New York, is required.
  • Passion for Dēmos’ mission and familiarity with core issues. Demonstrated commitment to Dēmos’ goals and mission, including experience or familiarity with one or more of the substantive areas of Dēmos’ work (economic justice, voting rights, money in politics, racial justice).
  •  Ability to lead and manage a team, and supervise staff. Demonstrated ability to rally a team around shared programmatic, organizational, and institutional goals; experience managing staff as part of a collaborative team; demonstrated success in building respectful working relationships with colleagues and allies; and experience assisting more junior colleagues and supervisees in developing their skills and knowledge of litigation and legal strategies.
  • Ability to lead efforts to advance racial equity. Commitment to leading on racial equity, with a sophisticated understanding of how race and other identity dynamics affect supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work; understanding of how systemic racism affects present-day legal systems and ability to advance racial equity goals through legal strategies; demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, or campaign; and commitment to Dēmos’ culture of social respect, shared responsibility, and consistent feedback.

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

  • Movement orientation. In undertaking legal impact work, you understand the importance of, and have experience working with and building, networks and respectful relationships with other progressive organizations and advocates in one or more areas of Demos’ work.
  • Strong existing network.  You are known and respected in the progressive legal community, bringing existing relationships that will facilitate expansion of our legal strategies work.
  • Substantive knowledge: You have 15 or more years of legal experience, and in addition to experience in or familiarity with one or more areas of Dēmos’ existing work, you have experience with potential new areas of legal work on criminal justice, reproductive justice, climate equity, and/or class action litigation.
  • 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.
  • Ability to Write Effectively for Non-Legal Audiences.  You have experience writing effectively for non-legal audiences through blogging, op-eds, reports, briefing papers, or other similar outlets.
  • Bilingual and/or Bicultural: You bring bilingual language skills and/or bicultural fluency into your work.

Salary and Benefits: The starting salary for this position is commensurate with experience. We have a generous benefits package, including health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 10 paid holidays per year, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, paid time off Dec. 25- Jan. 1, 12 sick days per year, and the opportunity to contribute to a 403b plan.

How to Apply: Upload a thoughtful cover letter that speaks to how your experience and skill-set meet the qualifications for this role and attach a résumé. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.  No phone calls please. 

Dēmos 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.


Location: New York City, NY
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