Legal Program Director, Criminal Justice Reform

Texas Civil Rights Project
Position Description: 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) is boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. Using tools of litigation and legal advocacy to protect and advance civil rights in Texas, it partners with communities across the state to serve the rising movement for social justice in three key areas: Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, and Racial and Economic Justice. TCRP undertakes its work with a vision of a Texas in which all communities can thrive with dignity and justice and without fear. To advance this work, TCRP is seeking a Legal Program Director to lead its Criminal Justice Reform group. For nearly thirty years, TCRP has been a committed partner to community organizers, families and advocacy groups across the state. Whether through litigation or other means, the attorneys and staff at TCRP work to dismantle mass incarceration, discrimination in voting and civic participation, systemic poverty and racial inequity. As community lawyers, they work with coalitions of community-based organizations to identify injustices facing Texas communities and then develop impactful, system-changing solutions using litigation and other tools of legal advocacy. Reporting to TCRP’s President, the Criminal Justice Reform Legal Program Director will lead a team of talented attorneys and paralegals focused on bold measures to reform criminal justice processes in Texas, including challenging inhumane prison conditions — including the misuse of solitary confinement — racially biased policing methods, and inequitable pre-trial processes that drive the over-incarceration of poor Texans. The Director’s primary work includes supervising and mentoring attorneys as they develop complex, impact litigation; working in coalition with grassroots organizations and other legal advocates; pushing strategic communication and advocacy campaigns to advance criminal justice reform in Texas; collaboratively setting and implementing a compelling vision for the Criminal Justice Reform Program; and, as a member of TCRP’s Leadership Team, helping to advance internal goals of the organization. The ideal candidate will, first and foremost, be an inclusive, passionate leader committed to combatting inequitable policies and mass incarceration in Texas. She/he/they will be an experienced litigator with the proven ability to develop and lead successful complex litigation. They will have a deep respect for community-centered lawyering and experience working in coalition with community-based organizations. They will be a proven manager with significant skills in strategy alignment and priority setting, and interpersonal communication. The new Director must be licensed to practice law in Texas or eligible to immediately waive into the Texas bar.  While this position is traditionally based in Houston, applicants based in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio will also be considered.

     COMPENSATION The expected salary range is $95,000-$110,000 per year, commensurate with experience. TCRP also offers excellent benefits, professional development opportunities and a deep commitment to a meaningful work-life balance. Benefits include: employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance, four weeks paid vacation, eight weeks paid family leave (with opportunities to extend leave to 14 paid weeks in total), a robust professional development budget annually, and extensive holidays, including a two-week winter break at the end of December. 


    QUALIFICATIONS The ideal candidate will be an entrepreneurial and effective litigator, strategist and manager with an unrelenting commitment to justice on behalf of all. While no one candidate will have all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will be an experienced attorney and have many of the following skills, qualifications, and abilities: 

    • Sincere commitments to equity and inclusion, social justice and dismantling mass incarceration;
    • Exceptional litigation skills and at least five (5) years of federal or state court civil litigation experience, including complex case development;
    • Three to five years of demonstrated success inspiring and leading highly talented and diverse teams, preferably of legal staff; proven success hiring, training, conducting performance evaluations and mentoring teams;
    • Initiative, vision, creativity, and a demonstrated willingness to take calculated risks in crafting and executing strategies;
    • A deep personal commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion; proven success in engaging with and working in partnership with diverse communities; lived experience that informs an authentic understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable communities and a sophisticated understanding of the historical nature of structural power differences with a lens into how that impacts social justice efforts today;
    • Demonstrated knowledge of criminal justice reform is a plus;
    • Experience analyzing public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue;
    • Excellent communication skills, including research and writing, interpersonal and public communication skills, and an ability to translate vision and strategy into external messaging;
    • Excellent interpersonal skills, including maturity, keen judgment, the ability to facilitate challenging conversations and quickly read interpersonal dynamics, and the ability to work with people from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives and across projects;
    • Ability to create a positive atmosphere in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment; excellent and consistent attention to detail and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines;
    • A personal drive for self-reflection, improvement, and learning;
    • Patience, a sense of humor, gravitas and a high tolerance for ambiguity; the ability to adapt quickly to change; and a natural orientation towards collaboration;
    • The ability and willingness to travel regionally;
    • Spanish fluency is a plus;
    • Admission to the Texas Bar or ability to immediately waive into Texas Bar.
    Application Deadline: 
    Monday, August 12, 2019
    Application Instructions: 

    TO APPLY This search is assisted by Meredith Horton, Erica Nicole Richardson, and Callie Carroll of the national search firm, NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: TCRP-CJRLPD [at] In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail. TCRP values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture — people of color, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and people from other underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. TCRP does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, age, creed, religion, physical ability, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, previous incarceration, veteran status, union membership or activism, or any other characteristic protected by local, state or federal law.

    Position Level: 
    Meredith Horton
    Country/US Territory: 
    United States