Senior Policy Counsel
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 a Senior Policy Counsel to join its high impact legal team. We are looking for a seasoned policy advocate, who brings strong racial equity analysis and policy experience to Demos’ Democracy Reform work. Some examples of compelling prior experience would include working on policy 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 Senior Policy Counsel works closely with, and reports to, the Director of Legal Strategies and will be a key partner to the organization’s Democracy issue experts, Policy and Research team members, as well as the Movement Building team and partner organizations.
The Senior Policy Counsel will bring strong foundational knowledge of the progressive movement and policy landscape, and understand the utility of policy, advocacy, movement building, 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 Democracy issue experts, thought leaders in the sector and partner organizations. The Senior Policy Counsel will work closely as a member of the senior legal team in developing and implementing policy strategy at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with Demos’ priorities and the organization’s goals, and leveraging their deep knowledge and expertise in service of protecting and supporting the communities that Demos serves.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Reviewing and summarizing proposed legislation, drafting model legislation at the federal, state, and local levels, and managing all stages of the legislative life cycle in pursuit of Demos’ goals, including assisting with building and/or participating in national, state, and grassroots coalitions, partnerships, and task forces working to advance democracy policy reforms.
- Devising policy solutions 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.
- Working closely with relevant program leaders, and informed by requests from movement partners, identifying, developing, and implementing potential policy reform opportunities, including current civil rights/constitutional issues, meeting prospective partners, researching policy reform opportunities, drafting and sending written correspondence, and conducting general legal research and analysis.
- Building coalitions with organizations and advocates at the local, state, and national levels, social scientists, and policy counsel at partner organizations and others.
- Drafting communications for diverse audiences and translating complex policy and legal issues in relatable and accessible terms.
- Bringing a racial equity lens and analysis of structural racism to all of Demos’ policy strategies work and initiatives; centering race and conducting racial equity interventions with partners, coalitions, campaigns, and within the organization.
- As we build out the team, holding shared responsibility for overall effectiveness and mentorship of direct reports on Legal Strategies team, including overseeing teamwork plans, systems and processes that drive toward organizational goals; maximizing impact and growing team member skills; with the potential to directly supervise members of the team as it grows.
- Engaging in public education and communications, which may include policy briefs, blog posts, op-eds, conferences, and 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 and the Senior Advisor of the Legal Strategies team.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:
- Policy Writing Experience. You bring demonstrated, high-impact policy experience, including policy writing and legislation drafting experience at the federal, state, and/or local level and responsive to an evolving legislative landscape. You bring 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 legal policy initiatives to resolution. You bring superior legislation drafting and research skills, achievement of high standards in quality of policy work, skill in developing and implementing policy initiatives, and increasing responsibility in scale and scope over the course of your policy career. Active membership in one or more state bars is preferred.
- 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 legal 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. You understand that this work is both personal and communal and are committed to continuing to evolve and refine your own racial lens.
- Strong Relationship Builder. You are adept at building and maintaining strong, transformative relationships both within and outside of the organization. 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. The most compelling candidates will have experience using an integrated policy and movement building approach to move progressive reforms forward—meaning the strategic use of policy development, research, building coalition, and/or communications to bring about lasting change 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 of federal and state courts from engines of oppression to engines for justice and equity for Black and brown communities. Candidates with experience working on economic justice issues which include employment discrimination, fair housing and lending, environmental justice, as well as the impact of criminal records on equal access to all aspects of the economy and immigration policy experience will also be considered.
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 policy 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.
Candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
COMPENSATION, BENEFITS & WORK LOCATION
Work Location: Demos staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace attendance criteria are still being determined as public health conditions continue to evolve. Demos is exploring a hybrid, remote-first work model once it reopens offices in New York City and Washington D.C. Candidates based in any continental U.S. location with ability to travel are encouraged to apply.
Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time position. The starting salary range for this position is $85,000 – $100,000 and commensurate with 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.
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.