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State Advocacy Director

The Director will lead the association’s efforts to impact state policy on a range of criminal justice issue, including sentencing policies, drug laws, law enforcement accountability, pretrial justice, public defense, and collateral consequences. This staff person is a member of the national affairs team and reports to the Deputy Director.


The State Advocacy Director manages NACDL’s day-to-day state advocacy operations and coordinates state legislative reform campaigns. The Director also supports NACDL affiliates’ policy efforts and coordinates NACDL’s efforts to mobilize its members and others in support of the association’s state policy objectives.

  • Track state legislation on priority issues and manage NACDL’s grassroots and legislative tracking platforms.
  • Prepare advocacy materials and action alerts for NACDL activists and affiliates.
  • Coordinate meetings of NACDL’s State Legislative Advocacy Committee and help facilitate other committee initiatives involving state policy issues.
  • Plan and execute NACDL’s annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference.
  • Help coordinate community events, grassroots lobby events, and expungement fairs.
  • Establish effective relationships and facilitate state-level coalition building with NACDL affiliate leaders, advocacy organizations, impacted persons and others.
  • Publicize NACDL’s state policy efforts through the State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) newsletter and other channels.
  • Represent NACDL at appropriate meetings and events, including speaking engagements.


Qualified candidates will possess an undergraduate degree and an interest in criminal law and policy and will share NACDL’s commitment to its mission. Additional selection criteria are below.

  • Five to seven years of professional experience in government relations and advocacy
  • Understanding of public policy issues, governmental relations, and advocacy strategies in the legal and/or nonprofit sector.
  • Experience engaging or working directly with policymakers, or serving in local, state or federal government.
  • Excellent research skills as well as superior oral and written communications skills.
Additionally, the ideal candidate will:
  • Be detail oriented.
  • Demonstrate a strong work ethic and sound professional judgment.
  • Be adept at managing competing priorities and responding to rapid-response demands.
  • Be articulate and able to work well with NACDL’s leaders, members, staff, and allies.

This position is located at NACDL’s headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., but remote applicants will be considered.


Salary is $65,000-75,000, depending on education and experience. Excellent benefits package.

To Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample (3-5 pages desired) by May 24, 2024, to with the subject line “State Advocacy Director.”

The National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is an equal opportunity employer. We adhere to making all employment decisions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, physical appearance or any other protected classification which may be applicable under the law of the particular state or locality in which you are applying for employment. No question on this application is used for the purpose of limiting or excluding any applicant from consideration for employment on a basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. Equal access to employment, services, and programs is available to all persons. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify a representative of the organization. 

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