Legal Director, Federal Courts

Washington, DC
Full Time
Senior Manager/Supervisor



Job title

Legal Director, Federal Courts

Reports to

Program Director, Justice

FLSA Status

Exempt Position

Job purpose

Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association of 150 organizations dedicated to advancing justice and democracy, and Alliance for Justice Action Campaign (AFJ Action), an affiliated advocacy organization, are seeking a Legal Director, Federal Courts.

AFJ envisions a vibrant, ambitious, multi-racial democracy where historically marginalized voices are amplified to upend exclusionary systems and center justice in our institutions of power. AFJ works towards that vision by building the strength of progressive movements with training and education for nonprofit organizations on advocacy, while harnessing their collective power to transform our state and federal courts.

AFJ has two primary programs:

  • Our Justice Program works to ensure that the federal judiciary protects our democracy and advances other core constitutional values, preserves human rights and access to justice, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all. An essential part of this program is working to vet and confirm a pool of diverse, highly qualified federal judicial nominees as well as lead a complementary and coordinated campaign to highlight the importance of filling vacancies. We also promote structural and policy reforms to ensure our courts provide equal justice under the law;
  • Our Bolder Advocacy Program works with nonprofits and foundations to help them navigate the rules surrounding 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and PACs so they can be more courageous and effective in their advocacy.

AFJ Action promotes a national conversation about the importance of the courts by educating and mobilizing progressive advocates and voters. We educate voters and encourage them to fight for judges who will protect our rights. AFJ Action also holds elected leaders accountable for the judges they appoint to the bench. We conduct research and arm advocates, elected officials, political leaders, and the media with the tools to elevate the courts during elections.

The Legal Director for Federal Courts will have experience relating to the broad range of legal policy issues handled by AFJ and will report to the Director of the Justice Program.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop strategy and campaign plans, set research priorities, and draft, review, and edit research materials for all AFJ projects related to the federal courts, including projects connected to judicial nominees, federal judicial reforms, and access to justice projects.
  • Serve as the lead contact representing AFJ’s priorities on the Hill with an emphasis on the Senate, staying up to date on timely developments, coordinate and staff key meetings with Congressional offices and the White House.
  • Represent AFJ to other organizations as part of coalitions on federal justice issues and lead relevant working groups and coalition meetings.
  • Manage the Federal Courts team, including all hiring, performance, and personnel issues, for a 3+ member team including a Senior Counsel, two Fellows, and interns.
  • Advise the Justice Program Director, VP of Strategy, and AFJ President on all issues related to democracy and the federal courts.
  • Participate in all aspects of vetting judicial nominees for the federal bench.
  • Assist VP of Communications with preparation for AFJ President’s public appearances.
  • Serve as spokesperson for the program and organization, including media interviews, speaking at legal and policy conferences and events, and briefing academics, Congressional staff, Board of Directors, member organizations, and other audiences.
  • Manage and produce the substantive work of the federal courts program including reports, op-eds, fact sheets, testimony for the record, official statements, and materials for grassroots education, the media, advisory committees, and other audiences.
  • Help develop and regularly report on the progress made towards key performance indicators for the federal courts team with an emphasis on implementing AFJ’s strategic plan.
  • Oversee research campaigns, including coordination with law firms, outside counsel, law students, and non-attorney volunteers.
  • Assist the Building the Bench Senior Counsel with preparing and advocating for demographically and professional diverse candidates for the federal bench.
  • Work with the Bolder Advocacy team on democracy-related issues, particularly as they relate to tax-exempt organizations. Issues include campaign finance reform, rights to lobby and associate, donor privacy, and role of 501(c)(4) organizations.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • J.D. and 9+ years of experience in legal policy or advocacy work;
  • Exceptional candidates with less than 9 years of experience will be considered at the Deputy Director level with a lower pay-scale;
  • Hill or lobbying experience with a deep network of legislative contacts strongly preferred;
  • Exceptional analytical, writing and speaking skills;
  • Ability to convey complex legal information to both legal and general audiences;
  • Staff management experience, including hiring, supervising and supporting staff to achieve outcome-oriented results, strong delegation skills, and supporting professional development;
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest and civil rights law;
  • Experience in civil rights, labor, environmental, consumer and/or constitutional law preferred;
  • Ability to work quickly under pressure, with shifting deadlines and priorities;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Long hours and some travel required;
  • Ability to inspire and work collegially with others; and
  • Strong interpersonal skills and positive attitude.

Alliance for Justice provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


The starting salary range for candidates with the above qualifications is $125,000-$131,000. Candidates with less than 9 years of experience may be considered for a Deputy Director role with a starting salary range of $115,000-$121,000.

AFJ also offers a comprehensive and generous benefits program:

Health – We offer medical, dental, vision benefits, as well an employee assistance program for physical and mental well-being.

Savings – Save for retirement with our 401K plan with employer matching. Health savings account and flexible spending account. Other insurances include life and disability.

Time Off – We have a generous paid time off policy. Vacation: 21 days per year. Sick: 10 days per year. Bereavement: Employees 3 days per year for deaths in the immediate family (spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, etc.). 

Family We provide up to 12 weeks paid leave.


 This is an exempt position with at least three direct reports including, but not limited to, a Counsel, two Legal Fellows, and interns.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

This is a full-time position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Physical Demands

This position requires the ability to travel domestically and work long hours when needed. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms.

Racial Equity

Our employees share our commitment to increasing racial diversity in our movement and organization, integrating justice and equity into the work we do and ensuring an inclusive organizational culture.

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this position.  Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Job Location

Washington, DC – Currently working in the office 1+ day/week.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants please reference Legal Director Federal Courts in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, resume and writing sample at (NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE).

AFJ/AFJAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. AFJ/AFJAC prohibits discrimination against its employees and applicants for employment based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, sero-status and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or income.


This description is intended to provide an overview of this position and is not all-inclusive.  The incumbent in this position will be expected to perform other duties as required. Responsibilities may change over time. This description is provided for informational purposes only and does not form the basis of a contract. 


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