Policy Counsel- New Orleans

Req No. 2016-1072
Job Locations US-LA-New Orleans
Category Legal
Type Regular Full-Time


The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Legal Department seeks a Policy Counsel based in our New Orleans, Louisiana office.  The ideal candidate is an outgoing, results-driven, and experienced advocate, who is passionate about advancing civil rights for society’s most vulnerable members and communities. The Policy Counsel works under the supervision of the Managing Attorney and in concert with the Deputy Legal Directors to advance SPLC’s state and local policy objectives in Louisiana via multi-strategy campaigns. The Policy Counsel works with teams of attorneys, paralegals, advocates, and members of the SPLC communications and editorial departments. The Policy Counsel liaises directly with elected and appointed officials, agencies, judges, non-profit organizations, and affected individuals and communities.


  • Develop and maintain relationships with elected and appointed government officials and their staffs  at the state and local level;
  • Identify, secure, and prepare for opportunities for SPLC to influence legislation and policy at the state and local level, including commenting on proposed legislation and rules, submitting statements and letters, preparing advocacy materials, and organizing and conducting meetings with elected and administrative officials and their staff;
  • Secure, draft, and deliver or coordinate delivery of legislative testimony at the state and local levels;
  • Conduct legal, social science, and factual research, along with qualitative and quantitative data analysis, on policies and practices related to mass incarceration, economic justice, children’s rights, the treatment of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender individuals, immigrants’ rights, and/or other social justice issues as determined by the organization;
  • Research, monitor, review, and summarize the constitutional and practical impact of state and local legislation that will affect one or more of the SPLC’s primary issue areas;
  • Identify problematic language in proposed legislation and develop strategies to defeat or advance legislation that impacts SPLC’s primary issue areas;
  • Draft model legislation affirmatively advancing SPLC’s policy goals; identify and recruit sponsors; and develop and implement strategies to advance passage of affirmative legislation.;
  • Assume a leading and strategic role in coalition campaigns on advocacy issues consistent with SPLC’s priorities;
  • Develop or work in partnership with coalitions representing diverse groups of stakeholders;
  • Represent the SPLC’s interests and cultivate relationships with partners to advance reform and promote sustainable, data-driven, research-based policies in the above areas;
  • In collaboration with the Managing Attorney and the Deputy Legal Directors, serve as the liaison between SPLC and its contract lobbyists. Identify and recruit potential lobbyists, facilitate meetings, monitor performance, assess results, and recommend whether to continue contracts;
  • Work collaboratively with SPLC’s attorneys, advocates, and communications and design staff to write, publish, and widely disseminate policy briefs, fact sheets, talking points, reports, and other documents that will educate legislators, agency officials, stakeholders, and the general public about the need for policy changes to address issues and propose solid recommendations for change;
  • Other duties as requested by the CEO, Legal Director, Deputy Legal Directors, Managing Attorney, or other senior management.


Education and Related Work Experience:

  • J.D.
  • At least 5 years of legal advocacy experience developing, managing, and implementing policy campaigns, with a strong preference for experience with the Louisiana state legislature.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Ability to review legality of proposed legislation and to analyze and articulate legal concepts and communicate them to a variety of audiences;
  • Familiarity with the legislative process and political strategic planning;
  • Familiarity with an expansive toolbox of strategies to move decision-makers;
  • Initiative and ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced work environment;
  • Strong organizational skills, follow-through, and flexibility around changing priorities and deadlines;
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team to develop new policy campaigns and legal initiatives;
  • Ability to work on several campaigns at once;
  • Articulate public advocate; strong communication and writing skills;
  • Ability to develop thoughtful, multi-faceted action plans to approach difficult and complicated policy questions, integrating statistical analysis, research, and other strategies to develop a thorough understanding of the issues and build realistic solutions;
  • Ability to conduct data analysis and help develop campaign messaging;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in large coalitions and with diverse staff, activists and legislators;
  • Capacity to work in an environment that encourages and includes individuals from diverse backgrounds and conflict-resolution styles;
  •  Enthusiasm, optimism, and a sense of humor; and
  • Commitment to and a passion for social justice.

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