The Director of Policy of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) will be responsible for managing LDF’s policy group and articulating and executing LDF’s policy initiatives. The Director of Policy will also serve as a member of LDF’s Senior Management Team and work closely with the newly created Thurgood Marshall Institute, a research and strategic communications hub within LDF.
LDF is the nation’s first and foremost civil and human rights law organization. Since its founding under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall in 1940, LDF has been committed to transforming this nation’s promise of racial equity and justice into reality for all Americans.
LDF uses litigation, public-policy advocacy, organizing and public-education programs to ensure the fundamental and basic human rights of all people to quality education, economic opportunity, the right to vote and fully participate in democracy, and the right to a fair criminal justice system.
In 2015, LDF celebrated its 75th anniversary with the launch of the Thurgood Marshall Institute. The Thurgood Marshall Institute at LDF is a collaborative hub within LDF that combines a multidisciplinary approach to advocacy with LDF’s traditional litigation strengths to advance a modern vision of racial justice. The Institute’s goal is to advance racial equity, justice and a more inclusive democracy through research and public education, targeted policy reform advocacy and communication campaigns.
Through the Thurgood Marshall Institute, LDF will have the ability to generate and integrate innovative research, organizing, advocacy, and communications aimed at educating the public and key decision makers. This added capacity will leverage LDF’s litigation expertise, advocacy experience and unique leadership role on matters of race, law, and policy to shape the narrative on racial justice and equity. Through targeted policy reform campaigns that attack entrenched problems of racial bias, the LDF Thurgood Marshall Institute will partner with local advocates to advance holistic strategies to achieve obtainable and lasting solutions on issues of criminal justice, political participation, education and economic opportunity.
The Director of Policy will manage LDF’s policy staff, set the strategic direction and priorities of LDF’s policy agenda and docket, and articulate and execute all of LDF’s policy initiatives. The Director of Policy will report to the Associate Director-Counsel and the President and Director-Counsel.
Responsibilities as Policy Director:
- Set the overall strategic direction and priorities for LDF’s policy group in consultation with the Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute, LDF’s Associate Director-Counsel and LDF’s President and Director-Counsel;
- Guide the LDF policy staff in the strategic implementation of team and individual substantive goals and objectives;
- Supervise and manage LDF’s policy counsels;
- Manage all administrative duties related to LDF’s policy group including overseeing all aspects of the policy group’s operations and work. This includes grant writing and reporting; and drafting annual budgets for the policy group and ensuring that the group’s expenses does not exceed its annual budget;
- Ensure that policy counsel fulfil the requirements of all relevant grants and manage and track the time spent by policy staff in fulfilling all grant requirements;
- Ensure LDF’s policy counsel are well trained in the substantive areas of their practices and in all relevant organizational policies and procedures;
- Ensure that LDF’s policy initiatives and programs adhere to the highest standard of legal and professional ethics;
- Work with the Director of Litigation, the Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute and LDF’s Associate Director-Counsel or LDF’s President and Director-Counsel in building strong team spirit across the complex, creating professional growth opportunities and fostering a work environment that encourages independent judgment and values self-starters;
- Develop and maintain relationships with influential individuals, associations and organizations to engage on shared priorities including advocacy. Increase the growth and visibility of LDF and the Thurgood Marshall Institute at LDF;
- Develop and implement policy and legislative reform strategies to advance LDF’s mission, in concert with LDF’s substantive priorities and the work of the Thurgood Marshall Institute at LDF;
- Participate in and/or organize policy briefings with members of the U.S. Congress, legislators and agency officials in all LDF core areas;
- Identify and secure opportunities for LDF to influence policy reform including providing oral and written testimony at congressional hearings; and meetings with elected officials and their staff;
- Strategically build and nurture LDF’s relations with influential members on Capitol Hill including introducing relevant LDF staff to elected officials and their staff; act as a liaison connecting LDF staff to elected officials and their staff;
- Coordinate and implement strategy on civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act;
- Monitor executive branch and judicial nominations;
- Supervise LDF’s responses to agency actions involving civil rights;
- Build and/or participate in coalitions working to advance criminal justice, political participation, economic justice and education reform, or to oppose laws and policies that will undermine reform;
- Write, publish and widely disseminate policy briefs, reports, and other documents that that will educate legislators, agency officials, and the general public about the need for criminal justice, political participation, economic justice and educational policy that protects civil rights;
- Coordinate strategy planning sessions for various civil rights allies regarding relevant Supreme Court decisions;
- Coordinate amici to write and file strategic briefs on cases of interest to LDF; and
- Other duties as requested by LDF’s Associate Director-Counsel or LDF’s President and Director-Counsel.
The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following characteristics and skills:
- Juris Doctor or other graduate degree;
- Ten or more years of experience in policy reform or advocacy at the federal, state or local level in the areas of political participation, economic justice, education and criminal justice;
- A proven track record using an integrated approach to social change, including strategic communications, research, policy, advocacy, organizing and, an understanding of litigation;
- Excellent research, writing and public speaking skills for both formal and extemporaneous presentations;
- A demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships with coalitions, media, scholars, policy advocates, community members/leaders, and public (elected) officials;
- A proven track record using an integrated approach to social change, including strategic communications, research, policy advocacy, organizing and, preferably litigation; Experience leading communications campaigns for social change is highly desirable;
- Ability to represent LDF to diverse audiences, including funders, scholars, government officials and grassroots activists; Substantial experience using both personal narrative and data to create effective arguments for change;
- A team builder; Able to delegate and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; and
- One who inspires collaboration and functions decisively, with a well-established reputation for effective collaboration.
Please submit your résumé and cover letter by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to:
Monica Garcia, Director of Human Resources/Administration
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
40 Rector Street, 5th floor
New York, New York 10006