director of criminal Legal systems program

Location: Chicago, IL

Impact for Equity, a highly regarded and impactful public interest law and policy center, seeks a mission-driven Director of the Criminal Legal Systems program.   The Director develops and leads the advocacy agenda of the Criminal Legal Systems team and provides organizational leadership for Impact for Equity.    


Impact for Equity, formerly known as BPI, is a public interest law and policy center that has been at the front lines of the fight for social justice in the Chicago region for over fifty years. Known for its innovative and effective advocacy for racial and economic equity, today Impact for Equity is deeply engaged in advancing systemic change in policing, the criminal legal system, and housing.   

With collaboration as a core value, Impact for Equity partners with people directly impacted by racial and economic injustice and the community-based organizations that serve them. The organization’s tenacious lawyers and policy staff employ a combination of legal tools, policy research, organizing, advocacy, and convening to achieve transformational change.  Impact for Equity works to develop nuanced policies and programs, advance effective strategies, catalyze strong coalitions, and advance progress toward its overarching vision of a state where every person has the right and opportunity to live their fullest life in a thriving community and free of systemic barriers.  A collaborative and stimulating workplace, Impact for Equity is committed to offering opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute meaningfully to work that advances racial, economic, and social justice.    

Impact for Equity’s Criminal Legal Systems team advocates for policies and practices that create and protect alternatives to, promotes justice and accountability, and seeks equitable outcomes for those impacted by the criminal legal system in Illinois.  We also advocate for police accountability, which seeks to increase public safety and promote racial justice.  Our work currently focuses on working to enact systemic police reforms, reimagining the roles that police departments play in promoting public safety, reexamining traditional responses to crime, dismantling entry points into the criminal legal system, decarcerating prisons, and expanding services and programming, transparency, and accountability mechanisms to mitigate harms people experience during incarceration.      

The Position

Impact for Equity seeks a mission-driven individual with substantial experience to join our team as Director of the Criminal Legal Systems Program As a key senior leader at Impact for Equity, the Director of Criminal Legal Systems develops and leads the advocacy agenda of the Criminal Legal Systems team and provides organizational leadership for Impact for Equity.    


  • Lead the vision, direction, and agenda for the Criminal Legal Systems team, including short- and long-term goals, strategies and priorities, and outcomes of the work, in consultation with Impact for Equity leadership, program staff, and impacted communities;      
  • Manage the Criminal Legal Systems team and oversee the day-to-day execution of the program’s advocacy work, including setting annual strategic goals for the program and team, developing workplans, and measuring progress towards those goals; 
  • Identify, develop, and implement advocacy strategies consistent with the agenda of the Criminal Legal Systems team, which may include policy development, legislative advocacy, litigation, education, convening, and other relevant, effective strategies;   
  • Effectively supervise and mentor program staff members, interns, and volunteers to ensure they have the skills and tools necessary to advance Impact for Equity’s work and with an eye towards their professional development; 
  • Develop and maintain strong, collaborative relationships with leaders and organizations in the criminal legal systems field, including community-based organizations, allies, stakeholders, communities affected by our work, government officials, and systems stakeholders; 
  • Represent Impact for Equity in public, providing inspiration and building external engagement, including by speaking to community groups, funders, media, and other audiences on program issues;  
  • Draft and edit program and Impact for Equity communications, including reports, newsletters, blog or social media posts, or other publications;   
  • Cooperate with development staff to identify, apply for, and be accountable for external funding to support the work;  
  • Maintain a deep understanding of local, state, and national issues related to criminal legal systems work;  
  • Consistently integrate equity concepts into projects and interactions; and  
  • Exemplify Impact for Equity’s core values and advance Impact for Equity’s vision.  


  • Seven or more years of experience in public interest law or policy advocacy;  
  • Knowledge of and/or experience working on an issue or issues related to the criminal legal system;  
  • An enterprising mindset; a commitment to equity, inclusion, and shared power; and a passion for racial, economic, and social justice and Impact for Equity’s mission;   
  • Top-notch research, writing and public speaking skills, including an ability to succinctly translate complex policy and legal concepts into information understandable by legislative, media, political, legal, and public audiences;  
  • Ability to effectively manage attorneys and staff to consistently produce high-quality results while developing knowledge, skills, and abilities; 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with diverse constituencies both inside and outside the organization;  
  • Ability to take initiative, multi-task, identify priorities amidst competing demands, and lead projects to completion with strong strategic thinking, problem-solving and relationship-building skills, flexibility and good judgement; 
  • An ability to develop and manage strong relationships and partnerships with coalitions of organizations, community members/leaders, and public officials;  
  • Excellent track record of working with individuals and communities with diverse identities; 
  • Highly collaborative with the desire to consult and share information with colleagues and to respectfully resolve differences; 
  • Ability to travel;   
  • Multilingual skills are a plus, but not required; and   
  • Juris Doctor degree and admission to the Illinois Bar. 

The salary for this position is commensurate with experience with a likely range between: $120,000-130,000. 

This is a full-time, salaried position with some evening and weekend hours required.  

Impact for Equity offers a generous benefits plan that includes health/ dental/ vision insurance; a 403(b) retirement plan; holiday, vacation, and sick PTO; a cell phone benefit; and a hybrid work schedule.  

To Apply

Please apply using the application portal at, including a resume, writing sample, and a cover letter explaining your interest and qualification for this position.  If your candidacy advances, you will be asked to provide a list of three professional references.  Impact for Equity will accept applications until the position is filled.    

Impact for Equity currently maintains a hybrid work environment with days in the office each week.  Impact for Equity requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accordingly, successful candidates must submit proof of vaccination prior to the commencement of employment, unless they qualify for a reasonable accommodation for bona fide medical or religious reasons. 

Impact for Equity is an equal opportunity employer.  We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.  We strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, people with lived experience of poverty, and people from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. 

Reasonable accommodation will be made so that applicants with disabilities may participate in the application process.  Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application. 

Drop files here or
Max. file size: 128 MB.

    Stay Informed

    Join our newsletter and stay up-to-date with Impact for Equity.

    "*" indicates required fields