Director/Associate Director, Legal Progress

  • Reports to: Vice President, Democracy and Government Reform
  • Staff reporting to this position: None
  • Department: Democracy and Government
  • Position classification: Exempt, full time


American Progress seeks two highly motivated, creative professionals for immediate openings for Director(s) and/or Associate Director(s) of Legal Progress. These candidates will manage the Legal Progress portfolio on the Democracy and Government Reform team.

Over the past 40 years, conservatives have executed a rigorous strategy of using the courts to advance their ideological priorities. From undercutting civil rights, to constraining government, to protecting corporations from accountability, to weakening labor unions, the courts have served as the primary venue for some of the largest conservative gains over the past few decades.

Progressives have, for their part, overwhelmingly focused on advancing legislative solutions to address the major issues of the day, only to be repeatedly stymied by a court system that conservatives have increasingly tilted in their favor. As such, the courts remain a significant barrier to addressing many of the major threats and challenges facing the United States—from climate change, to structural racism, to income inequality, to corporate control of our democracy.

As a multi-issue think tank with capacity across virtually every issue area, American Progress is uniquely situated within the progressive space to elevate the courts as a priority. The Director(s)/Associate Director(s) of Legal Progress will build a vision and strategy to work with progressives on making the courts a priority and connecting judicial decisions to their effects on the lives of everyday people. This work will span a range of issues involving fair courts and access to justice in an effort to reform the operation of the courts.

These positions will also entail managing relationships with coalition partners and engaging with communities affected by harmful court decisions.


  • Generate ideas for products that make the case for progressive action on the courts and expanded access to justice.
  • Manage relationships with individuals affected by harmful court decisions.
  • Engage with national and state-level stakeholders and coalitions on courts issues.
  • Lead American Progress’ work in designing and executing strategies that build political and public support for progressive engagement on the courts.
  • Research, write, and edit columns, briefs, and reports.
  • Develop a communications and messaging strategy to elevate the salience of the courts and help the public understand the importance of key nominations and court decisions.
  • Engage in rapid response on the issues—such as through talking points, fact sheets, columns, op-eds, and other tactics as appropriate—and serve as a resource to media and policymakers.
  • Work closely with progressive allies to align strategic priorities and goals.
  • When appropriate, serve as a witness at legislative hearings, briefings, and meetings to advance team goals, and support other Democracy and Government Reform staff.
  • Prepare and review reports to donors on Legal Progress’ work and engage with donors to build the Legal Progress program.
  • Work alongside the Organizing Associate for Legal Progress at the direction of the Vice President and Managing Director for Democracy and Government Reform.
  • Work closely with Center for American Progress Action Fund advocacy, policy, government affairs, and online staff, as well as American Progress’ Communications staff, to drive narratives and advance goals.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Requirements and qualifications: 

  • J.D. is preferred. Exceptional candidates with equivalent experience will be considered.
  • Interest in the court system and ability to translate complex issues into compelling and resonant messages for the public.
  • Fluency in and appreciation for digital communication tools and strategies as a critical avenue for reaching mass audiences.
  • Experience working closely across multiple teams and an ability to establish productive collaborations and coalitions.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop strategic long-term plans and implement them successfully.
  • Appreciation for the importance of the court system in shaping the country and a passion for helping make the courts more progressive.
  • Familiarity with the federal judiciary process and the prominent legal issues that arise in federal courts is preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for self-sufficiency and self-direction.

To Apply

Please follow the link below to the online application. When completing the application, be sure to combine your cover letter and resume/CV into one Word or PDF file and upload this combined document. The system does not allow for multiple files.

This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.
Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.
Thank you for your interest in American Progress.

Additional information

American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize the progressive agenda: the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “American Progress.” The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid-response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

For more information on the Center for American Progress, please go to For more information on the Center for American Progress Action Fund, please go to