Civil Justice Policy Advocate

01 Jun, 2021


Civil Justice Policy Advocate

Pew Charitable Trusts
Washington, DC

The Government Performance Portfolio within Program

Pew’s government performance work identifies and advances effective approaches to help solve complex challenges at all levels of government in the United States.

The portfolio’s work can be traced back to our founders’ early efforts to improve the lives of Americans by supporting efforts that promoted health, civic engagement, and democratic ideals. Today, we conduct research on emerging topics, develop data-driven reports, and highlight innovative approaches in addressing complex problems at the federal, state, and local levels. Current initiatives focus on health and human services, government management and budget, family economic stability, and safety and justice.

Our teams explore and advance effective policy reforms using credible, timely, and accessible research, assessing public support for change, identifying approaches that have proved successful elsewhere, and bringing together diverse perspectives to find common ground. In addition, our teams use strategic outreach and dissemination to ensure that good information is widely communicated to decision-makers, media, influential stakeholders, and the public.

Civil Legal System Modernization

The civil legal system modernization project was launched in 2018 as an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project works to make the civil legal system more open, efficient, and equitable for the millions of people who navigate civil courts without lawyers each year. For more information about this project, visit .

Specifically, the project will:

  • Elevate the importance of reforming the civil legal system in the eyes of judicial and political leadership.
  • Work with state courts, legal aid organizations, and bar to increase access to legal information online.
  • Publish evaluations of online dispute resolution tools and legal assistance portals.
  • Assist ten states (at the state level or via major cities or counties) to adopt one or more technology, policy, and process improvements designed to make the adjudication of civil cases more open, efficient, and equitable in their court systems, starting with debt claims.
  • Inform state and national model laws to improve court operations and adjudication of debt collection lawsuits.
  • Develop, test, and publish measurable modernization principles that establish a common understanding of what technological innovations in the civil legal system should achieve, and serve as cornerstones for the development of performance measures that court systems employ for different case types.
  • Work with scholars and practitioners to develop and demonstrate a safe and effective approach to sharing civil court data that expedites program monitoring and evaluation of court practices and performance.
  • Release research on guardianship and housing disputes that analyze the extent to which a lack of openness, efficiency, and equity in civil cases creates barriers for employment, family stability, and housing for many Americans. Research will elevate the profile of the issue, as evidenced by generating media coverage and being used by philanthropic, private sector, and technology partners to pressure courts and other government leaders to act.

Position Overview

The principal associate is responsible for managing multiple state and local engagements aimed at modernizing the civil legal system at the state and local level, and ensuring that these initiatives are well-planned, strategic, collaborative, and effectively implemented. The principal associate will also work collaboratively with colleagues across Pew, including philanthropic partnerships, government relations, legal affairs, and communications.

This position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the associate manager, civil legal system modernization. The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.


  • Manage the project’s efforts to develop and maintain partnerships with external partners ranging from leading national organizations to influential state entities. Take the lead on designing tailored outreach plans to help advance project’s policy goals and objectives and managing the use of consultants and third-party vendors in support of state activities.
  • Provide support to management when assessing the viability of engagements in a particular jurisdiction including conducting political research.
  • Lead working group meetings and outreach to judiciary, executive, legislative, independent agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other key stakeholders.
  • Ensure all state assistance components within the project team are well-coordinated and strategically focused. Facilitate the development of internal capacity to help the project team identify, evaluate, and implement strategic state engagements and technical assistance efforts.
  • Provide guidance and support for team-sponsored convenings of stakeholders, experts, and the public-including securing speakers and experts, agenda development, logistics, invitations, and preparing materials for briefings and events.
  • Assist with the initiative’s contracts. Identify and vet potential contractors and consultants, evaluate proposals, monitor progress, and ensure products are delivered on time, within budget, and meet the contract’s objectives.
  • Collaborate with government relations, communications, legal affairs, and operations to manage Pew’s presence in a particular jurisdiction including, but not limited to, assisting with lobbying and ethics compliance, developing strategic partnerships, and coordinating activities between the civil legal system project and other projects across Pew. Facilitate cross-project communication on state policy development and advocacy strategies with project staff and partners on performance initiatives and, where appropriate, with other Pew initiatives.
  • Maintain and continue to develop an understanding of emerging justice reform issues by monitoring publications and participating in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities. Proactively identify and monitor the positions of influential stakeholders and thought leaders on key policy issues that have a direct relationship to the civil legal system.
  • Represent the project and Pew at conferences, meetings, and other events, including preparing materials for distribution and making presentations.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks of the project, as well as, broader Pew projects and activities, as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience is required. Experience in public policy, public administration, law, or a related field preferred.
  • At least six years of applicable experience in the public policy arena, particularly working in the state legislative arena. A working knowledge of civil justice issues (e.g., court operations, debt claims, housing, and/or family law) is preferred.
  • Prior to commencing employment with Pew, candidates for this position who were registered to lobby in any jurisdiction must certify termination of previous registration(s) and provide copies of termination notices with said jurisdiction(s) to Pew.
  • Ability to communicate ideas, thoughts, and concepts clearly, concisely, and in a compelling way, both in writing and orally. A clear, effective writing and presentation style.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details and exercise sound judgment in problem-solving. Ability to develop and move complex projects forward with a high degree of independence within a creative, fast-paced, action-oriented and collegial environment.
  • Demonstrated research and analytical skills applied to public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue.
  • Demonstrated time and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to establish a systematic course of action to ensure project completion.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team, foster consensus, and collaborate with diverse partners to advance pragmatic solutions.
  • Acute political awareness and nonpartisan perspective and approach.
  • Experience convening groups of policymakers, practitioners, stakeholders, researchers and other constituencies. Demonstrated ability to build relationships and support efforts to develop consensus and move toward a desired outcome.


This position requires frequent travel for meetings and conferences.

Total Rewards

We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Apply here

Job posted: 2021-06-01