Democracy Forward seeks an exceptional lawyer and leader to serve as a strategic partner in leading and growing its legal team.  The Legal Director, Jurisprudence will join two other Legal Directors (Legal Director, States and Legal Director, Regulatory and Administrative Law) and the Director of People and Practice Management in the management and strategic leadership of Democracy Forward’s legal team.  Reporting to the President and CEO, the Legal Director will supervise legal cases and filings undertaken by Democracy Forward as well as the development of new litigation matters and activities. The Legal Director, Jurisprudence will be responsible for driving strategies to further the organization’s activities in addressing concerning jurisprudential trends and working to further positive legal theory development.  

 

Responsibilities 

  • Provides supervision of substantive legal matters (which includes affirmative litigation and interventions, regulatory comments, and amicus briefing) and ensures that all legal work filed or undertaken by Democracy Forward meets the highest standards of excellence. 
  • Develops strategic recommendations for consideration by the CEO and organizational teams to further enhance the Legal Division’s contributions to the impact and mission of Democracy Forward, including developing ideas and recommendations for case and matter engagement.
  • Builds affirmative litigation strategies and other legal strategies. 
  • Engages and collaborates with all Divisions of the organization and the Executive Office, including facilitating collaboration between the Legal Division and other Divisions and Offices. 
  • Works with the Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs and the Executive Office to build and facilitate relationships for the organization and manage certain relationships.
  • With the Director of People and Practice Management and the other two Legal Directors, facilitates a culture of belonging and inclusion among the Legal Division and its members as well as among the organization as a whole.
  • With the Director of People and Practice Management and the other two Legal Directors,  facilitates the administrative and managerial operations of the Legal Department, including providing administrative supervision to one-third of lawyers in the Legal Division, regularly checking-in and providing support, considering requests for vacation/personal time, and modeling a mindset that is focused on staff development and engagement.
  • Works with the Director of Oversight and Engagement to monitor the development of legal doctrines in federal and state courts and develop strategies to build awareness with partner organizations.  
  • With the Director of People and Practice Management and the other two Legal Directors, maintains accurate information regarding Legal Division activities, impact and trend measures.
  • Makes recommendations and implements strategies enabling Democracy Forward to assist the broader progressive community in addressing concerning jurisprudential trends.

 

Qualifications: 

  • J.D. from an accredited law school. 
  • Active membership in good standing in the bar of the District of Columbia, or membership in good standing in another state bar with the ability to become admitted in D.C.
  • 10+ years active litigation experience, including significant experience and demonstrated excellence developing legal strategy, supervising affirmative litigation and/or appeals, hearings and arguments, writing and editing complex pleadings and briefs. 
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively and craft legal strategies to address difficult and complex social problems. 
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with legal, academic, government and nonprofit networks, build coalitions, and develop strong client and stakeholder relationships. 
  • Demonstrated excellence in performing and supervising legal research and drafting legal documents (including court filings such as complaints, dispositive motions, and appeals, and/or regulatory filings such as comments and petitions for rulemaking), in a professional, timely, and self-directed manner. 
  • Ability to be a thought-leader. 
  • Familiarity with legal doctrines applicable to litigation and/or regulatory advocacy involving federal and/or state governments.
  • Experience developing affirmative litigation in state and/or federal courts, including researching potential theories, developing potential clients, and building factual records. 
  • Ability to become proficient in new issue areas and contribute to creative, rigorous, analytical approaches to address them.
  • Ability to juggle multiple matters for different stakeholders in a highly collaborative environment; must be able to work well both independently and in a team environment.
  • Nimble and collaborative team-player with a growth mindset, who is comfortable with change and has ability to lead and operate with ambiguity.
  •  Demonstrated and significant experience in managing and leading diverse teams in a matrixed structure. 
  • Well-developed collaborative and interpersonal skills including demonstrated self-awareness, commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds. 
  • Commitment to workplace inclusion and ability to contribute affirmatively to a just and equitable workplace culture. 

Democracy Forward provides a competitive, lockstep and transparent compensation and benefits package. The salary range for the Legal Director is $225,000-$235,000.

Democracy Forward is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals. We strongly encourage people of color; lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities; and veterans to apply. Please note that all lawyer positions require a law degree and active membership in the bar of a state or the District of Columbia. 

Not sure you meet all of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria. Yet women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend to only apply if they meet every requirement.  If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. Whether you are new to mission-based legal and policy work, returning to work after a gap in employment, or simply looking to transition or take the next step in your career path, we welcome the opportunity to have you on our radar.  Please include in your cover letter the nature of your interest in legal and policy work promoting democracy and progress and what you hope to bring to our team and the role for which you are applying. 

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