Associate Director, Litigation
About Dēmos. Founded in 2000, Demos is a public policy organization working for a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. Our work is organized around a particular point of view about power and about what is required to create a society where Black and Brown communities are fully thriving. Demos moves ideas powerful enough to improve the lives of everyday Americans through the full cycle of change. We champion over-the-horizon policy solutions, shift the narrative to clear the way for their acceptance, and are committed to a model of sustained advocacy until they take effect. We use the right strategy for the right moment, whether it’s research, communications, supporting organizers, or litigation. This commitment to the full cycle of change has resulted in real victories, from landmark credit card reforms to over 3 million new voter registration applications from low-income citizens. Throughout all of our work, Demos is advocating not just for people, but for the very idea of the people—of one nation, united by a shared fate. The organization is headquartered in New York City and has an office in Washington, D.C. Demos seeks an Associate Director, Litigation to join its high impact legal team. We are looking for a seasoned legal advocate, who brings strong racial equity analysis and legal experience to Demos’ democracy reform work. Some examples of compelling prior experience would include working on issues such as voting rights, ballot access, money in politics, redistricting, and economic democracy – seeking to eliminate discriminatory barriers to exercising the full rights and benefits that are cornerstones of citizenship in a democracy. Demos’ dynamic model leverages a broad arsenal of tools that include innovative policy solutions and legal strategies to achieve structural reforms that build political and movement power with Black and Brown communities. The Associate Director, Litigation works closely with, and reports to, the Director of Legal Strategies and will be a key partner to the organization’s Democracy issue experts, as well as movement partners and co-counsel. Finally, the Associate Director, Litigation will directly manage 1-2 members of the Legal Team. The Associate Director, Litigation will bring strong foundational knowledge of the progressive movement and policy landscape, and understand the utility of policy, advocacy, and litigation in driving towards Demo’s desired impact. The successful candidate will bring strong functional expertise in democracy reform work and be a thought leader providing advice and counsel to the legal team and broader organization as well as Demos’ community of practice, including voting rights and democracy issue experts, thought leaders in the sector, and partner organizations. The Associate Director, Litigation will work closely as a member of the senior legal team in developing and implementing litigation strategy, supporting the development of legal staff, and leveraging their deep knowledge and expertise in service of protecting and supporting the communities that Demos serves. THE OPPORTUNITY Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Initiation and management of all stages of the litigation life cycle in pursuit of Demos’ goals, including investigation and case development, filing complaints, discovery, motions practice, hearings, trials, appeals, and settlement negotiations.
- Support the Director of Legal Strategies and Senior Leadership Team in identifying and reviewing potential litigation opportunities, including current civil rights/constitutional issues, interviewing prospective clients, investigating potential legal claims, and conducting and overseeing general legal research and analysis.
- Building coalitions with organizations and advocates at the local, state, and national levels, and with social scientists, attorneys at partner organizations, and others.
- Drafting communications for diverse audiences and translating complex legal issues in relatable and accessible terms.
- 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.
- Directly supervising members of the team; holding shared responsibility for overall effectiveness and mentorship of direct reports and other staff on Legal Strategies team, including overseeing teamwork plans, systems and processes that drive toward organizational goals; maximizing impact and growing team member skills.
- Engaging in public education and communications, which may include drafting policy briefs, blog posts, op-eds, attending conferences, and conducting media interviews.
- Serving on Demos’ issue-specific teams to help plan, coordinate, and execute project deliverables such as policy development, research reports, legal advocacy, and litigation strategies.
- Other duties as assigned by the Director of Legal Strategies.
- Demonstrated high impact legal experience, including legal policy writing, litigation, and other legal skills. You have at least 10 years of litigation experience, bringing deep expertise and a demonstrated track record of results in core areas of focus for Demos. You are adept at managing people and processes and driving complex litigation and legal policy initiatives to resolution. You bring superior legal writing and research skills, achievement of high standards in quality of legal work, skill in developing and implementing new strategic litigation, and increasing responsibility in scale and scope over the course of your legal career. Active membership in one or more state bars is required.
- Working for Racial Equity. You consistently integrate your deep understanding of key racial equity concepts into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.
- Ability to Lead and Manage a Team. You are a natural leader, who enjoys leading a team, managing tough situations to resolution, and building structures that facilitate feedback and communication. You create conditions and team dynamics that encourage connection, innovation, collaboration, and drive team investment on team and organizational goals. Working closely with the Director of Legal Strategies, you help with team leadership and day-to-day management. This includes working as a thought partner and leader to help provide clear goals and directions for the collective work of the team, and at the individual staff level. You assist the Director of Legal Strategies in addressing team morale issues. You represent and lead your team in internal or external meetings on behalf of the Legal Strategies team, including but not limited to team meetings, all-staff meetings, co-counsel, or funder meetings. You are comfortable being both manager and coach, creating optimal conditions for legal staff to bring their collective brilliance to the pressing issues that Demos is focused on. A sense of humor is a plus.
- 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 of federal and state courts from engines of oppression to engines for justice and equity for Black and brown communities. Candidates with economic justice or immigration litigation experience will also be considered.
- Excellent Strategic Thinker with Deep 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 use an integrated advocacy approach to move progressive reforms forward—meaning the strategic use of litigation, research, policy development, campaigns, and/or communications to bring about lasting change. You work effectively with grassroots partners and advocates at the state and national level; you understand the importance of, and have experience with, building and maintaining respectful relationships with other progressive organizations, advocates, leaders, and staff inside the organization in one or more areas of Demos’ work. You are comfortable working across lines of difference including race, gender, and class, among other dimensions of identity, and you are effective at surfacing shared values of individuals, groups, and communities, and leveraging that understanding to forge (where possible) investment and consensus. You can build trust and credibility with people from varied backgrounds that allows you to build productive relationships and partnerships.
- 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.
- Policy Writing Experience. You have experience devising legislative policy solutions, at the state or federal level, that are appropriate for the evolving legal landscape, crafting and delivering legislative testimony, and helping to craft language for legislation and ballot initiatives in support of Demos’ policy and advocacy goals.
More information about Demos may be found at: www.demos.org This search is being led by Julian Jackson and Sarah Hecklau of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit a thoughtful cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. 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.
July 15, 2022