Building the Bench Counsel

United States
Posted on  

Job Description


Job title

Building the Bench Counsel

Reports to

Deputy Director for Building the Bench

FLSA Status

Exempt Position

Job purpose

AFJ and AFJ Action Campaign are seeking a lawyer with two or more years of experience to serve in the role of Building the Bench Counsel. The Counsel will be part an integral part of the Justice Team and will help develop and achieve AFJ and AFJ Action Campaign’s Building the Bench (BtB) goals. Those goals include transforming our courts by developing a pool of highly qualified state and federal judicial nominees to put forward for selection, as well as a complementary campaign to highlight the importance of filling those vacancies with professionally and demographically diverse movement lawyers.

The BtB Counsel will assist with our tracking, training, advocacy, research, coalition leadership, and Judicial Legacies events. At times, the Counsel will also assist the federal court team and the state courts team with post-nomination work like advocacy, nominee reports, substantive reports, and multimedia campaigns.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Counsel will report to the Deputy Director for Building the Bench and will be responsible for the following:

·   Help set team strategies, identify geographic priorities, and craft a continually developing work plan for BtB and judicial legacies;

·   Identify and research potential qualified candidates for the BtB pipeline;

·   Oversee the research of potential nominees, including in coordination with law firms, initiative partners, outside counsel, and volunteers;

·   Review and edit research, op-eds, fact sheets, and reports for our federal and state courts work, including those about specific nominees as well as substantive topics like judicial diversity;

·   Help draft, review, and edit press and collateral materials for BtB, including fact sheets, blogs, web presence, social media, press, and reports;

·   Support meetings with key legislative and executive offices in coordination with the state and federal courts teams;

·   Help engage and support the BtB Advisory Council and AFJ Action board;

·   Liaise and help build relationships with partner groups, nominations coalition, AFJ members, and other thought-leaders and allied organizations;

·   Work with AFJ’s networks of attorneys and community leaders to source referrals for potential candidates;

·   Speak at legal and policy conferences, and brief academics, member organizations, and other audiences on BtB and other initiatives;

·   Identify state and federal judges who should be honored for their legacies and do outreach to the clerk networks of those judges;

·   Help plan and execute judicial legacies events (in coordination with other internal teams);

·   Work with the communications team on the external presence for building the bench and judicial legacies initiatives;

·   Coordinate with the state and federal courts teams to develop relationships with key judicial gatekeepers;

·   Coordinate with law firms, outside counsel, law students, and non-attorney volunteers to advance the above initiatives; and

·   Other duties as assigned.

Desired Qualifications:

  • J.D. and 2+ years of experience in legal, policy and advocacy work;
  • Experience in judicial pipelines, judicial clerkships, civil rights, labor, consumer, public interest and/or constitutional law is preferred;
  • Ability to work quickly and independently under pressure, with shifting deadlines and priorities;
  • Strong networking experience with progressive coalitions and legal communities;
  • Capacity to manage multiple long-term and short-term projects simultaneously;
  • Experience coordinating staff across various geographies and issue areas;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, shifting for different audiences;
  • Demonstrated commitment to underrepresented and diverse constituencies;
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to multitask;
  • Strong project and data management skills, and experience working with CRM databases preferred;
  • Ability to keep all job-acquired information confidential;
  • Ability to inspire and work collegially with others;
  • Passion for civil rights, social justice, and judicial advocacy; and
  • Strong interpersonal skills and positive attitude.


This is a union position covered under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement with the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, CWA Local 32035, which includes salary minimums based on job position category. This position is in Group 5 with a starting salary range of $85,000 to $93,000 depending on qualifications and experience.

AFJ also offers a comprehensive and generous benefits program including: 

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

Other Insurance – Employer-paid life and disability insurance.

Savings – Save for retirement with an employer matching 401K plan. Save on out-of-pocket medical and childcare expenses with a flexible spending account.

Annual Leave – We have a generous paid time off policy. Vacation: 11 days for first year of employment, 15 days for second year, and 21 days after 3 years.

Sick Leave – 10 days per year.

Bereavement Leave – Employees are granted 3 days of bereavement for the deaths of immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.). 

Family Leave – We provide up to 16 weeks of parental leave and a range of paid and unpaid family leave programs that allow our employees to bond with and care for their children and other dependents.


This is an exempt position that has no direct reports.

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.

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. The position may also change direct-reports at the discretion of management depending on whether state or federal courts take on a strategic focus.

Job Location

Remote with some travel required, including to our national headquarters in Washington, DC

 How to Apply

 Qualified applicants please reference Building the Bench Counsel 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.


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