Founded in 2003, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) is a national organization committed to advancing justice and equity for transgender and non-binary people through impact litigation, direct legal services, advocacy, and public education. TLDEF’s Legal Programs currently include the Impact Litigation Project, Name Change Project, and Trans Health Project. Last year, TLDEF won two landmark cases in the South concerning trans access to health insurance coverage, brought lawsuits against two jail systems about abuse of trans people in their custody, and advocated for greater access to name changes and government identification in multiple states. And we’re just getting started.
TLDEF seeks an experienced and dynamic Director of Public Policy to lead our inaugural Public Policy Department. The successful candidate will develop and lead TLDEF’s policy agenda to advance legal equity for transgender people in alignment with the Strategic Plan and current priorities. The position will be responsible for leading TLDEF’s legislative, administrative, and advocacy matters with a primary focus on states in the Midwest and South and some strategic federal engagement. This role will also involve regular engagement with a wide range of cross-movement advocates, attorneys, and policy/lawmakers to advance TLDEF’s agenda in a variety of forums, building and nurturing relationships with new and existing partners, and elevating the voices and leadership of transgender people. The successful candidate will have a well-rounded background in all aspects of policy and advocacy development and possess a strong working knowledge of the LGBTQ+ movement, particularly at the state level. The Director of Public Policy will report to the Deputy Executive Director and is expected to supervise staff, fellows, and interns with future support secured by the organization.
Leadership & Management
With the Executive Director, lead the development, oversight, and implementation of TLDEF’s policy and advocacy agenda with a primary focus on state-based work in the Midwest and South. Ensure alignment of TLDEF’s policy agenda and strategies with the organization’s Strategic Plan and legal advocacy priorities.
Serve as a member of TLDEF’s Senior Team and work closely with senior staff in the creation and monitoring of both department-specific and organization-wide systems, policies, and procedures.
Regularly advise Senior Team members on key policy and advocacy developments, news, and events. Collaborate with the Executive Director, Legal Director, and other program directors as appropriate to develop strategic responses.
Develop and oversee adherence to annual departmental budgets; partner with the Deputy Executive Director and Senior Team members to address and reconcile budgetary changes.
Hire, train, and supervise department employees, fellows, and interns; deliver Board and staff trainings about organization-wide policy and advocacy matters.
Manage external consultants to support policy and advocacy projects and activities as needed.
Lead the development of TLDEF’s legislative and administrative strategy to advance the organization’s policy priorities with a primary focus on states in the South and Midwest.
Cultivate and maintain an extensive roster of high-impact relationships with state lawmakers and members of Congress, the White House, state/federal agency staff, and governors’ offices to influence policy and build support for TLDEF’s priorities.
Remain informed on policy matters, including any shifts in direction. Actively advise TLDEF on developments and any strategic response or action required.
Monitor legislative activity and the progression of bills in priority states. Produce research and analysis to inform any short and long-term strategic responses.
Craft and negotiate model language for legislation and regulations. Lead and coordinate internal efforts for drafting comments on proposed regulations.
Lead research and analysis of legislation and laws, and author memos, issue briefs, fact sheets, and testimony among other materials. Collaborate on the development of resources and materials.
Closely partner with the program directors (Communications, Legal Programs, Public Education) to develop integrated advocacy strategies across program areas.
Build and maintain robust relationships with movement and ally organizations, professional associations, and advocates, with a primary focus on state-based groups.
Partner with and advise local, state, and national organizations on emergent or existing policy matters and their specific impacts on transgender and non-binary people.
Serve as TLDEF’s lead representative in policy and advocacy coalitions. Track and coordinate staff participation at other coalitions and tables. Build coalitions and partnerships with a range of actors, such as movement organizations, professional associations, and business leaders.
Lead the development and execution of programs, campaigns, and initiatives intended to educate and/or mobilize experts, advocates, and community members.
Collaborate with communications staff and external partners on messaging, rapid response, and advocacy campaigns to drive audiences toward engagement and mobilization.
Closely work with the Director of Finance & Operations and Deputy Executive Director to manage state/federal lobbying efforts, including all compliance requirements, filing of all LDA reports, any local/state reporting requirements, and ethics disclosures.
Serve as a primary spokesperson for policy and advocacy-related press inquiries.
Support the development of funding proposals and reports and any donor engagement activities.
Strong belief in TLDEF’s mission and the people who are driving the work forward, including a commitment to social, racial, economic, disability, and gender justice.
An undergraduate degree in a relevant field (i.e., political science, public policy, public affairs, etc.)
At least seven (7) years of direct professional experience with progressive responsibilities, either focused in state legislation, government affairs, public policy, or issue-based advocacy or prior political law experience at a law firm or in-house legal department.
At least three (3) years of supervisory experience managing more than one (1) direct report and a commitment to mentorship and professional development for employees, fellows, and interns.
Strong knowledge of transgender-specific, LGBTQ+, and civil rights laws and policies.
Proven experience planning and executing policy and/or advocacy efforts at the state level, particularly in the South and Midwest.
Knowledge of legislative, budgeting, agency, and/or rule-making processes.
Superior writing, research, and analytical skills.
Solid political acumen and experience navigating complex and nuanced environments.
Excellent judgment and the ability to manage personally identifiable information and legally privileged information with sensitivity and discretion.
Proven stakeholder management experience, including building and managing coalitions.
Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships.
Capable of engaging with a variety of stakeholders in a tactful, positive, and professional manner.
Strong verbal and presentation skills.
Highly organized and exceptional time management skills with the ability to effectively manage multiple priorities when necessary.
Mastery of Microsoft Office applications and other tools, such as Asana, Slack, and Zoom.
Proficiency with LexisNexis, Legistorm, TrackBill, and/or Westlaw, among other tools.
Ability to travel and work outside normal office hours, particularly during state legislative sessions.
An advanced degree in a relevant field (i.e., JD, MPP, MPA, etc.)
A license to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction and experience practicing law for at least five (5) years in a field directly relevant to the role.
Prior experience working in a government setting, particularly in a legislative or administrative context.
Prior experience drafting legislation and/or regulations.
Experience engaging with bipartisan and/or conservative audiences.
Working knowledge of LGBTQ case law and current legal developments facing transgender and non-binary people.
Experience working and/or managing employees in a unionized workplace.
TLDEF acknowledges that applicants from groups that have been historically marginalized are less likely to apply for positions unless they feel that they meet 100% of a job description’s qualifications. We understand that the ideal candidate might not completely meet the criteria listed above or be equally proficient in each area; we especially encourage applicants who are impacted by TLDEF’s work to submit their application anyway.
Salary range is $120,000 to $140,000 depending on experience. TLDEF offers a robust benefits package that includes 100% employer-paid medical, vision, dental, and life insurance; employer contributions to dependent healthcare; employer contributions to 401(k) retirement plan; 15 paid holidays; generous paid time off; sick time; healthcare flex spending account; and pre-tax commuter benefits.
This is a remote position and is eligible to be specifically located in Washington, DC/National Capital Region, New York City, or the South or Midwest regions. The position will require periodic travel to New York City if based outside of Washington, DC/National Capital Region so applicants must be located within a reasonable distance of a major airport hub.
To ensure the health and safety of TLDEF staff and job applicants, all interviews will be conducted either by phone or video conference.
Submit all of the following required materials: (1) a compelling one-page cover letter explaining your specific interest and qualifications for the position; (2) a resume or curriculum vitae (CV); and (3) three policy writing samples that total no more than 20 pages. Submissions that do not contain all required materials will not be considered. No phone calls or emails, please.
TLDEF is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from all qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. We wish to build a team that reflects the diversity of our communities. Black people, indigenous people, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex people, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.
To apply for this job please visit TLDEF.bamboohr.com.