Policy Manager/Counsel (2 positions)

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on  

Job Description

The Council for Court Excellence (CCE) is a non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the justice system in the District of Columbia to serve the public equitably. CCE collaborates with diverse stakeholders to conduct research, advance policy reform, educate the public, and increase civic engagement on justice-related issues. CCE’s work focuses on the adult criminal legal system, youth justice systems, and civil justice/access to justice issues.

Job Description

CCE seeks two (2) energetic Policy Counsels or Policy Managers to manage and provide subject matter knowledge for our 1) adult criminal legal system/criminal justice portfolio and 2) for our youth justice/juvenile justice portfolio.

The Policy Counsels/Managers work collaboratively with CCE staff, committee members, directly impacted members of the community, and other external system stakeholders to identify, develop, and implement research projects, policy solutions, and educational initiatives to improve the fairness and performance of D.C.’s legal systems. They participate in project design, implementation, and management; research, write and edit for diverse audiences; and maintain and cultivate relationships with key stakeholders to ensure that CCE is at the forefront of emerging justice issues.

Duties and Responsibilities

Participate in identifying, developing, and implementing research projects, policy solutions, and educational projects (~40%)

  • Identify current and emerging criminal or youth justice policy issues for potential CCE actions or projects. Work with senior leadership to develop and manage plans to turn initial ideas into projects or campaigns with specific activities and deliverables.
  • Analyze statutes, proposed legislation, budgetary documents, court decisions, regulations, etc. to determine their impact on CCE’s policy priorities.
  • Engage directly with policymakers, court leadership, and their staffs, in coordination with the senior leadership and the rest of the policy team, to share CCE’s research findings or policy positions. Participate in meetings and briefings, draft and/or present testimony and public comment on relevant issues to the D.C. Council, various executive agencies, and the courts.
  • Track implementation of policy recommendations over time and work with senior leadership to engage in follow up advocacy work to ensure recommendations are implemented.
  • Develop and implement educational initiatives, events, trainings, etc. to keep the D.C. community informed and updated about policy changes, resources available, and advocacy opportunities.

Conduct research, and write and edit a variety of publications, memos, external and internal communications (~35%)

  • Conduct legal and policy research on adult or youth criminal legal system issues areas at the direction of senior leadership. Collect qualitative data, via interviews, surveys, case studies, court-watching, and/or freedom of information act requests. Support occasional quantitative data analysis or survey development.
  • Support the development, drafting, and editing of policy reports, lay-person guides to law, policy testimony, and educational materials for a variety of audiences.
  • Work with other CCE staff to draft and disseminate materials, one-pagers, talking points, press releases, op-eds, etc. related to various advocacy/policy campaigns.

Manage the work of CCE Committees and participate in relevant coalitions (~20%)

  • Serve as staff liaison to standing or special Committees. Work with Committee leadership and the Policy Director to develop regular strategic plans, determine priorities, and identify projects the Committee would like to take on.
  • Schedule and attend Committee meetings, develop agendas for meetings, maintain notes and updated files, and track next steps and deliverables.
  • Participate in various coalitions related to CCE’s work, special projects, etc. Report back to CCE staff and committees on coalition work and priorities and manage CCE’s engagement with coalitions.

Administrative and other duties (~5%)


Core Competencies Required for this role

  • Self-motivated and focused, with the ability to identify new and emerging policy issues, develop potential solutions, and execute effective advocacy, policy, and public education projects with moderate supervision. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to explain legal issues, data, and policy clearly for different audiences verbally and in writing without requiring significant editing or revisions from senior staff. Ability to represent CCE professionally with external stakeholders.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize dense, often complex data and/or legal information and use it to tell a compelling story about reforms needed to the DC legal system.
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship management skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and external partners, including lawyers, judges, government officials, journalists, people directly affected by the legal system, and others with some supervision.
  • Demonstrated time management and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Ability to execute duties efficiently and effectively, and to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to manage projects in short-, medium- and long-term time horizons with supervision and support.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and contributing to an inclusive, respectful working environment. Willingness to continue to grow and learn within diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.

Additional Criteria for Employment

  • Working knowledge of and experience in one or more of CCE’s areas of focus (criminal justice, youth justice, and/or civil justice) required, with a strong preference for experience in the adult criminal legal system OR in the youth/juvenile justice space.
  • Some experience with qualitative or quantitative data collection, primary social science or legal research, or data analysis and interpretation required.
  • Experience utilizing legislative, legal, and/or public policy research databases (e.g., LIMS), and/or some experience entering or analyzing data (e.g., in Excel, Python, R, SAS, Tableau) required.
  • Excellent computer skills required, including experience working with the Microsoft Office suite, cloud-based file management systems (e.g., Box or Google Drive), project management systems (e.g., Asana), and video and audio conferencing (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams).
  • Experience communicating with and advocating to state or local government staff, elected or appointed officials, and/or judicial officers; some knowledge of the operations of D.C. Council, executive agencies, and/or the courts strongly preferred.
  • Some experience with community education, public engagement, and/or meeting facilitation with diverse participants strongly preferred.
  • Commitment to and interest in the mission of the Council for Court Excellence.
  • This position features core job duties that require some work in CCE’s office, the Wilson Building, D.C. courts, etc., so a successful candidate will live in the greater Washington, DC region (though there is flexibility to work remotely regularly, if desired).
  • Policy Counsel
  • JD required.
  • At least 3 years of directly relevant professional or experiential learning experience required.
  • Policy Manager
  • Graduate degree preferred (MPA, MPP, or similar).
  • At least 3 years of directly relevant professional or experiential learning experience required.
  • Note: We are open to candidates with additional experience at the level of Senior Policy Counsel/Manager. At the senior level, the educational requirements remain the same for each position, but at least six years of experience is required. The Senior Policy Counsel/Manager also has a different set of core competencies and criteria for employment. Please note in your application materials if you feel you may be qualified for the senior level position.

Additional Information

Salary and Benefits

The salary range for the Policy Counsel/Manager position is $77,000 – 88,000, based on experience and skills. Competitive benefits include employer-paid health and life insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match after 6 months, dental and vision plans, generous annual and wellness leave, and flexible scheduling and remote policies. CCE observes all D.C. government holidays, plus gives employees the day after Thanksgiving (and typically the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) off. CCE also supports individual professional development and training opportunities.

To Apply

Please submit your application at https://careers.smartrecruiters.com/CouncilForCourtExcellence. The positions will remain open until filled. Note that the application site will only allow you to submit one (1) document. Please use that “Resume” field to submit a single PDF that includes: 1) a cover letter, 2) your resume, and 3) a writing sample (no more than 5 pages, excerpts are fine). You can use the website ILovePDF.com to create and merge PDFs if needed. In your cover letter, please clearly indicate your preference for either the adult criminal legal portfolio or the youth/juvenile justice portfolio.

CCE depends on and values a diverse staff and diverse perspectives to carry out its mission. People with lived experience within the justice system are strongly encouraged to apply. CCE is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, or current employment status. Please note that candidates must be authorized to work in the United States.