National Legal & Policy Director

  • Full Time
  • Anywhere

Job title: National Legal & Policy Director

Location: Washington, DC or anywhere in the U.S., CT or ET preferable

Classification: Regular, full-time, exempt

Organization: Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY)

Overview of the position:

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth (CFSY) is hiring a National Legal & Policy Director. Founded in 2009, the CFSY is a national nonprofit that leads efforts to ban life without parole and other extreme sentences for children. The CFSY is an equity-driven organization that explicitly works to dismantle the racial disparities, social injustices, and residual harms caused by the legal system. Through partnerships with advocacy organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders, the CFSY supports survivors of youth violence, those incarcerated as children who are still serving or have been released, and their respective families and communities.

The National Legal & Policy Director will bolster and lead CFSY’s multifaceted strategy— that involves legislative advocacy, litigation, organizing, and narrative change—to establish more age-appropriate, trauma-informed responses to youth who commit serious crimes, with a continued focus on ending extreme sentences for children. This person will lead the Legal and Policy Department and leverage their knowledge of, and experience with, the field, political climate, and trends in youth sentencing policy to build upon the CFSY’s past successes,  refine our reform strategy and meet the unique challenges and opportunities of this moment. The National Legal & Policy Director is responsive to the vision and leadership of the directly impacted leaders in our community and drives organizational strategy to support the movement of directly impacted individuals working for innovative change in their own communities. 

The National Legal & Policy Director reports to the Chief Program & Strategy Officer. The National Legal & Policy Director oversees the Legal and Policy Department.  This is a regular, full-time, exempt position.

Key Responsibilities:

Lead and manage policy and reform implementation (~ 50%) 

  • In partnership with a cross section of team members, develop and oversee expanded national policy agenda, legislative and reform strategy that aligns with our emergent priorities, the current political climate, and the interests of our directly impacted, grassroots partners;
  • Convene and partner with reform advocates around the country—including our directly impacted community—working to end extreme sentencing of children and other related reforms (i.e. alternatives to adult prison, ending direct file, death penalty abolition, second look for older populations, etc.) so that CFSY legal and policy strategies inform and align with the broader field;
  • Work alongside CFSY staff and ICAN (Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network) and NFN (National Family Network) members to shape reform and implementation strategies, and identify opportunities to support and amplify the voices and efforts of local ICAN, NFN, and survivor advocates;
  • Maintain subject matter expertise and along with other staff,  serve as external expert on judicial and legislative trends in extreme sentencing of youth;
  • Identify opportunities to educate system stakeholders on advancements in the law, racial inequities, and the lived experiences of directly impacted individuals;
  • Partner with communications department to develop strategic messaging around judicial and legislative trends, reform trends, informed by conversations with the broader field;
  • Support legal & policy team members in identifying strategic data collection, analysis, and messaging; to include editing and providing provisional approval of policy and research reports.

Guide strategic planning initiatives (~25%)

  • Maintain a big-picture view and understanding of CFSY’s reform work—internally and as it relates to the broader field, specifically litigation and legislative developments pertaining to the extreme sentencing of youth; ensure information sharing between team members and other stakeholders; 
  • Cultivate and support CFSY’s relationships with key stakeholders, identifying opportunities to collaborate, educate and advance reform efforts;
  • Identify challenges that impact the advancement of the reform work, determine whether CFSY has the relevant skills and capacity to meaningfully address the needs for the moment – and ways in which we can best mitigate/overcome those challenges;
  • Collaborate closely with CFSY’s executive leadership and team members to develop and propose a vision for the CFSY’s priorities, guided by strategic criteria. This process will involve employing a racial equity perspective and centering the experiences of directly impacted communities  (i.e. those formerly incarcerated for crimes committed as youth, survivors of youth crime, and loved ones of persons serving or returning home after serving lengthy sentences).

Manage operation of our Legal & Policy team (~20%)

  • Oversee Legal & Policy team, leveraging our organizational reform strategy to guide them through their multifaceted work within the legislative, litigation, and parole reform workstreams;
  • Identify opportunities to grow the capacity of the Legal & Policy Department through fellowships like Equal Justice Works.

Administrative and other duties (~5%)



  • Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree strongly preferred, a Ph.D or master’s degree in law, public policy, or related field may be considered;
  • Demonstrated ability to build partnerships and coalitions to strategically advance reforms;
  • Self-guided and self-motivated, with the ability to identify new and emerging policy issues and potential solutions without guidance;
  • High level of competency and experience in managing staff, including day-to-day assistance with project prioritization, review, and implementation, and a welcoming and inclusive attitude. Adaptability and flexibility in managing a diverse team with multiple, frequently changing, and competing tasks and deadlines, and different viewpoints;
  • Exceptional communications skills, including the ability to clearly explain law, research, data, and policy to different audiences verbally and in writing. Strong editorial skills, with experience refining research, policy, and/or advocacy documents to be publication ready. Ability to represent CFSY professionally with external stakeholders;
  • Refined interpersonal and relationship management skills, including the ability to work with diverse constituencies and interact appropriately with lawyers, judges, parole board members,legislators, journalists, people directly affected by the justice system and survivors of youth crime, and others in a variety of settings; 
  • 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; 
  • Subject matter expertise and commitment to criminal legal reform, particularly to reforming extreme youth sentencing policies;
  • Excellent written communications skills and attention to detail in writing;
  • Excellent verbal communications skills, both for use internally and in communicating with external partners and stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated ability to be innovative and strategic in identifying target audiences and reaching them in creative and persuasive ways.

Values and Traits:

  • Passionate about ending the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of parole and other extreme penalties;
  • Belief that our society has failed the children impacted by life without parole and other extreme sentences and that we all have a responsibility to create avenues for their restoration and that of our entire community;
  • Belief in the inherent good, dignity and humanity of all people regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, class, education level, zip code and more; and belief that every one of us is more than the worst things we’ve done or experienced;
  • Self-motivated and able to direct and implement own responsibilities; takes initiatives within guidelines of department structure, workplan and responsibilities;
  • An orientation towards planning ahead, collaborating and organizing with others to implement plans and achieve outcomes;
  • Flexible, willing and able to adapt to the evolving nature of CFSY’s work and programming;
  • Constructive and optimistic; confronts problems with the expectation that a solution exists; prioritizes self-care.

Location and Travel:

The CFSY’s headquarters are in Washington, DC, with many staff working remotely throughout the country. Among remote candidates, candidates who can be available for meetings from 9 AM – 5 PM ET strongly preferred. 

It is expected that the National Legal & Policy Director will travel occasionally. All business related travel will be paid for by the CFSY in accordance with our travel policy, and travel to Washington, DC or other locations to gather as a team is required at least once a year for all staff. 

Physical Environment and Equipment:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • The work will be performed primarily in an office setting, with moderate background noise and requiring the ability to sit and/or stand at a workstation for extended periods of time;
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to: stand, sit, talk, hear, and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and telephone;
  • Specific vision abilities include close vision requirements due to computer work;
  • Ability to effectively use a telephone, including mobile phone; computer (with Microsoft and Google applications); keyboard; and video conferencing; and
  • Ability to travel occasionally, including in a plane, car and (less frequently) on public transportation.

Compensation, Benefits, and Culture:

The salary range for this position is $120,000 – $130,000, commensurate with experience. 

The CFSY also offers a generous benefits package, including:

  • Four weeks of paid vacation yearly and accrued sick time; 
  • 100% employer-paid premiums for an individual health insurance plan, life and disability insurance; 
  • An Employee Assistance Program; 
  • An eight-week sabbatical after five consecutive years of employment; 
  • Twelve weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child;
  • A 403(b) retirement plan; and
  • Flexible approach in promotion of self-care, including office closure at 2 pm on Fridays.

The CFSY believes in and actively practices meaningful connection to individuals directly impacted by extreme prison sentences. We work in deep partnership with people currently in prison, those who have been released, and their family and social networks. All staff at the CFSY, regardless of role and position, engage in this connection and are regularly proximate to those directly impacted by the work we do. 

The CFSY is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is an equal opportunity employer. Black, Latinx, Indigenous and others who identify as nonwhite, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those with lived experience with the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply for this role. 

To Apply:

Email a letter of interest, resume, and two references in one PDF file to Use “National Legal & Policy Director-Last Name” as the subject of your email and as the file name for your PDF, and include your availability in the email. For tax purposes, please list the address you will be working from should you accept the position. Only complete applications sending all application materials in one PDF file will be reviewed

We will begin reviewing applications on November 13, 2023 and encourage you to apply by that time.

To apply for this job email your details to