Council for Court Excellence Policy Director Washington, DC · Full time

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. CCE seeks an energetic Policy Director to envision and supervise CCE’s policy and advocacy work. The Policy Director will leverage their detailed knowledge of D.C.’s legal and political systems to guide the development of strategic, equitable, and community-centered priorities for CCE’s policy work. They directly supervise the policy staff in developing, managing, and implementing policy initiatives designed to improve the fairness and performance of D.C.’s legal systems. They also maintain and cultivate relationships with external stakeholders to ensure CCE is at the forefront of emerging justice issues. They work closely with the Executive Director and Deputy Director to ensure that all policy projects and organizational positions adhere to the mission and values of CCE, best leverage our organizational strengths and capacities, and fit within strategic priorities.


Duties and Responsibilities

Lead and manage policy, research, and advocacy initiatives (~45%)

  • Manage policy and advocacy projects across CCE’s focus areas. Support staff and committees in turning initial priority ideas into implementable project plans with specific activities, timelines, and deliverables. Decide on CCE’s approach to both new and existing issue areas in collaboration with senior staff and maintain team fidelity to that approach.
  • Edit and provide provisional approval of policy and research reports, testimony, campaign materials, and related educational materials created by policy staff or volunteers.
  • Supervise policy staff’s direct engagement with policymakers. This may include planning or participating in meetings or briefings, and reviewing public statements on relevant issues to the D.C. Council, the executive branch, and the courts.
  • Review and approve rollout strategies for CCE publications and policy campaigns, social media content, press releases, Op-Eds, and other statements to the media.

Manage members of the Policy Team (~30%)

  • Serve as the direct supervisor for the policy staff, guiding them through their multifaceted work within the Civil Justice, Criminal Justice, and Youth Justice portfolios.
  • Meet with staff regularly, provide supervision and support, and assist staff with managing their workloads. Provide substantive training, identify external training opportunities, and provide one-one-one coaching to grow policy staff’s knowledge and skills.
  • Support hiring and onboarding processes for new policy staff and work with policy staff to hire and onboard fellows, interns, etc.
  • Conduct annual and ad-hoc performance reviews of direct supervisees.

Guide the development of strategic, equitable, and community-centered policy priorities (~20%)

  • Maintain a big-picture view and understanding of the relevant stakeholders, processes, news, and developments related to D.C.’s legal systems, and facilitate information sharing between CCE staff and volunteers.
  • Cultivate and support CCE’s relationships with key stakeholders, identifying opportunities to collaborate, educate, and better serve the community.
  • Identify systemic challenges impacting the equitable administration of justice in D.C., determine whether CCE has the relevant skills and capacity to meaningfully address any part of those challenges, and consider potential policy, advocacy, and/or educational campaigns to address those challenges.
  • In close partnership with CCE’s leadership and staff, develop and recommend a vision for CCE’s policy priorities based on strategic criteria, utilizing a racial equity lens, and centering the experiences of impacted communities.

Administrative and other duties (~5%)

Core Competencies Required

  • Self-guided and self-motivated, with the ability to identify new and emerging policy issues and potential solutions without guidance.
  • Ability to conceptualize, design, execute, and manage research, advocacy, and public education projects in short-, medium- and long-term time horizons, as well as supervise projects managed by others.
  • Excellent time management and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Ability to execute duties efficiently and effectively and meet deadlines.
  • 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 CCE professionally with external stakeholders.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize often complex data and statutes and use them to tell compelling and persuasive narratives, make policy arguments, or evaluate and edit others’ work in this area.
  • Refined interpersonal and relationship management skills, including the ability to work with diverse constituencies and interact appropriately with lawyers, judges, government officials, journalists, people directly affected by the justice system, 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.

Additional Criteria for Employment

  • At least 8 to 10 years of directly relevant professional experience or 12 years of related professional or experiential learning experience, including at least 3 years of supervisory experience. Some experience supervising senior-level staff preferred.
  • Graduate-level degree preferred (MPA, MPP, JD, Ph.D., etc.).
  • 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).
  • Subject matter expertise and experience in one or more of CCE’s areas of focus (criminal justice, youth justice, and/or civil justice), as well as knowledge of D.C. political or legal institutions and landscapes required.
  • Experience communicating with and advocating to government staff, elected/appointed officials, and/or judicial officers required.
  • Experience with qualitative or quantitative data collection, conducting primary social science or legal research, or data analysis and interpretation that resulted in published findings required.
  • Extensive experience utilizing legislative, legal, or public policy research databases, including LIMS required. Some experience entering or analyzing data in Excel, Python, R, SAS, Tableau or a comparable tool 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 with community education, public engagement, and/or meeting facilitation with diverse participants preferred.
  • Commitment to and interest in the mission of the Council for Court Excellence.

Salary and Benefits

The salary range for the Policy Director position is $100,000-115,000, 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 use the Gusto “Resume” field to submit a single PDF that includes: 1) a cover letter, 2) your resume, and 3) a writing sample (no more than 10 pages, excerpts are fine). In addition to explaining your interest in CCE’s work, please respond to the following prompts in your cover letter:

  • Supervising and managing the work of senior-level policy staff is a core requirement of this role. Please share an example of a time when you were managing someone who had a different opinion or work style from your own and how you resolved the conflict/challenge.
  • Please share an example of a successful advocacy campaign you managed or an important research project you oversaw. In either instance, please describe your specific role and contribution to the effort, the greatest challenge you faced and how you addressed it, and the result or impact of the work.

Review of applications will begin September 25, 2023 and the position will remain open until filled. As a small organization, we apologize for not being able to respond to all applicants individually; only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


CCE depends on and values a diverse staff and diverse perspectives to carry out its mission. People with lived experience with the justice system are 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.


$100,000 - $115,000 per year