Law and Policy Director - New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

25 Jan 2017 10:08 AM | Anonymous

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the “Institute”) is looking for a sophisticated, dynamic team player to serve as our Law and Policy Director to direct, manage, and implement a program of strategic legal and policy advocacy to expand racial and social justice in New Jersey.

As a member of the Institute’s senior management team, the Policy and Legal Director will report directly to the Institute’s President-CEO. The position, housed in Newark, New Jersey, will require travel throughout the state.

This is an exciting opportunity, at a critical time in our history, to advance racial and social justice on behalf of New Jersey’s urban communities in the Institute’s three programmatic areas: (1) economic mobility; (2) criminal justice reform; and (3) civic engagement.

Using a holistic approach to address the unique and critical issues facing New Jersey’s urban communities, the Institute advocates for systemic reform that is at once transformative, achievable in the state, and replicable in communities  across  the nation.

Policy and Legal Program Responsibilities:

  • ·         Work in partnership with the President-CEO and legal staff to powerfully advance the Institute’s strategic vision for policy and legal programs, conduct strategic planning, set goals, monitor progress, and evaluate outcomes to ensure that the Institute’s objectives are met and in line with the mission of the organization.
  • ·         Oversee the Institute’s programmatic functions, supervise policy and legal staff, and monitor implementation of the Institute’s strategic vision for legal programs, including the integration of legislative initiatives, policy goals, public education, strategic campaigns, and, where necessary, litigation.
  • ·         Serve as a spokesperson for the Institute, with the President-CEO and legal staff, articulating the Institute’s positions on a broad range of issues to the public and diverse stakeholder constituencies.
  • ·         Advance the Institute’s affirmative legislative agenda, cultivate relationships with

elected and appointed officials, policy makers, and leaders, and craft and deliver testimony related to the Institute’s programmatic focus.

  • ·         Build strategic alliances with constituents and organizations to advance the Institute’s mission, engage on shared priorities, and exchange knowledge and information in support of the Institute’s initiatives and mission.
  • ·         Manage requests for legal assistance and creatively develop, lead, and implement a strategic impact litigation program that advances social justice issues to address new or settled legal principles and, in consultation with the President-CEO, select cases for the Institute.
  • ·         Identify and research relevant legal issues, identify opportunities for amicus briefs, draft demand letters, legal memoranda, and advocacy letters, and follow current and pending litigation.
  • ·         Recruit, supervise, and oversee the professional development of policy and legal staff, including lawyers and fellows, paralegals, and law student interns.
  • ·         Cultivate relationships with sister organizations, public interest law firms, legal service agencies, and other members of the legal community.
  • ·         Work with the communications team to integrate policy and legal advocacy with communications, including through public education materials, policy reports, white papers, talking points, op-eds, and press releases.
  • ·         Work with the President-CEO and COO to assist with funding opportunities, as needed.
  • ·         Develop the vision of how to build a robust policy and legal program that has resonance in urban communities in New Jersey and beyond through cutting-edge short- and long-term advocacy strategies.


  • ·         Law degree and minimum of ten years of experience as a practicing attorney.
  • ·         Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions and community groups, particularly of color, and to work across political ideology, race, ethnicity, socio- economic circumstances, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
  • ·         Passion for, and knowledge of, racial and social justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the Institute.
  • ·         Experience supervising staff and leading teams.
  • ·         Ability to listen, coach, shepherd, and support people to achieve shared goals.
  • ·         Excellent research and writing skills; superior attention to detail; ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously; good problem-solving skills and a positive, professional attitude with excellent judgment, flexibility, determination, and grace in a sometimes high-pressure office.
  • ·         Commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.
  • ·         Willingness to work beyond 9 to 5 and to travel as necessary.
  • ·         Passion and a sense of urgency about the need to realize racial and social justice in our urban communities.


This is a full-time, at-will position. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes excellent benefits, including health, a 401(k) plan with an employer contribution, and generous vacation, sick, and holiday leave.


Applications will be reviewed beginning the week of December 19, 2016, and will be accepted until the position is filled. Please email your cover letter, resume, professional writing sample on which you are the primary author, and three professional references to  Please submit your application materials via Microsoft  Word or Adobe PDF. Include all attachments in a single email stating, in the subject line, “Law and Policy Director.”

About the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:

The Institute is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.

The Institute’s mission is to empower urban residents to realize and achieve their full potential. Established in 1999 by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein, the Institute’s dynamic and independent advocacy is aimed at toppling load-bearing walls of structural inequality to create just, vibrant, and healthy urban communities. We employ a broad range of advocacy tools to advance our ambitious urban agenda, including research, analysis and writing, public education, grassroots organizing, communications, the development of pilot programs, legislative strategies, and litigation.

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