Director/Senior Director, Courts and Legal Policy

Reports to: Senior Vice President, Structural Reform and Governance
Staff reporting to this position: None
Department: Structural Reform and Governance
Position classification: Exempt, full time
Minimum compensation: $92,000/$125,000
Work site: Hybrid (on-site two days per week, Washington, D.C., office)


American Progress is seeking a highly motivated, creative professional to join its Structural Reform and Governance department as the Director or Senior Director of Courts and Legal Policy. This candidate will lead a portfolio dedicated to safeguarding an independent and well-functioning judiciary and advancing a long-term strategy to ensure that the courts are a key pillar of a resilient democracy. These efforts are driven by American Progress’ mission to improve the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action, with the aim of not only changing the conversation, but changing the country. The Director or Senior Director will join a dynamic group of colleagues in supporting American Progress’ five crosscutting priorities:

  • Building an economy for all
  • Restoring social trust in democracy
  • Advancing racial equity and justice
  • Tackling climate change and environmental injustice
  • Strengthening health

The courts remain a significant barrier to addressing many of the major threats and challenges facing the United States, including climate change, structural racism, income inequality, and the country’s very democracy. The Director or Senior Director will help chart a long-term strategy to bring structural reforms to the courts and advance and shape a “popular constitutionalism” that recognizes the role of both other branches of government and the American people in interpreting the Constitution.

As a multi-issue think tank with capacity across virtually every public policy issue area, American Progress is uniquely situated within the progressive space to elevate policy issues around the courts and important legal reforms as a priority. The Director or Senior Director of Courts and Legal Policy will build a vision and strategy to work with partners to make the courts a priority and connect judicial decisions to their effects on the lives of everyday people.


  • Work collaboratively to develop a medium- and long-term policy research, advocacy, and communications agenda on the courts and actively participate in connecting this work with American Progress’ crosscutting priorities.
  • Conceive, research, and manage the production of products, op-eds, events, and convenings to make the case for reforms to the court and legal policy.
  • Work closely with national- and state-level stakeholders and coalitions to align strategic priorities and goals on courts issues.
  • Lead American Progress’ work in designing and executing strategies that build political and public support for progressive engagement on the courts and legal policy.
  • Working with American Progress’ communications and advocacy experts, 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 through talking points, fact sheets, articles, op-eds, and other tactics as appropriate, and serve as a resource to media and policymakers.
  • When appropriate, serve as a witness at legislative hearings, briefings, and meetings to advance the institution’s goals.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Requirements and qualifications: 

  • Seven to 10 years of experience for the Director role; at least 10 years of experience for the Senior Director role.
  • Juris Doctor is strongly preferred. Exceptional candidates with equivalent experience will be considered.
  • Interest in the court system and legal policy and the 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 method for reaching mass audiences.
  • Experience working in a matrixed approach across organizations or issues to achieve shared goals and the ability to establish productive collaborations and coalitions.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop strategic long-term plans and implement them successfully.
  • High level of creativity with the ability to solve problems and identify creative approaches to complex challenges.
  • Appreciation for the importance of the court and legal system in shaping the country.
  • Familiarity with the federal judiciary process and the prominent legal issues that arise in federal courts.
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for self-sufficiency and self-direction.

American Progress offers a full and competitive benefits package. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is not represented by a union. The minimum salary for the Director position is $92,000, and the minimum salary for the Senior Director position is $125,000.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the levels of community spread and adjust plans as needed for in-office work. Any changes to our current hybrid work policy will be communicated at the time of hire. Updates will be posted on American Progress’ Jobs page.

Apply Now

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.

American Progress is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is more than a commitment at American Progress—it is the foundation of what we do. American Progress recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, and all the other characteristics that make us unique.

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

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