Director of Legal Services

The Illinois Prison Project (IPP) is a young nonprofit organization in Chicago that seeks to reduce mass incarceration by providing legal services to individuals incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections. We focus on novel and creative approaches to prison reduction including mass commutation campaigns, sentence restructuring, public education, and advocacy.

IPP’s Director of Legal Services will be responsible for leading IPP’s legal services team, which serves currently incarcerated individuals in Illinois’ state prisons. The Director of Legal Services will oversee program administration, supervise staff and case management, and provide direct legal services to incarcerated people and their families.

Responsibilities include:

  • Work with executive team to set priorities, define litigation campaigns, and identify strategic goals for criminal legal reform
  • Supervise legal staff, law clerks, and pro bono attorneys and their caseloads on commutation petitions, administrative advocacy requests, and other release mechanisms
  • Supervises other staff as needed on legal information, the unauthorized practice of law, and other areas
  • Provide direct representation as required, including writing commutation petitions, administrative advocacy requests, representing clients at public commutation or parole hearings, and others as needed
  • Develop and maintain relationships with partner organizations and firms
  • Recruit, train, and support pro-bono attorneys
  • Supervise bi-monthly legal clinics (after hours and Saturday hours required)
  • Monitor changes and prospective changes to criminal law legislation, prison reform, Illinois Department of Corrections’ administrative directives, and policy
  • Assist staff in identifying and participating in relevant trainings and professional development opportunities
  • Oversee data collection and recording, keeping accurate and thorough client records
  • Ensure compliance with ethical rules and all applicable regulations
  • Represent IPP at community events
  • Other duties as assigned

Desired Qualifications:

  • Juris Doctorate degree and 10+ years practicing criminal defense, civil, or similar field of law
  • 3+ years of experience directly supervising attorneys or other legal staff
  • Commitment to criminal legal reform in Illinois and social, economic, and racial justice
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Proficiency using Google suite; prior experience with Clio a plus
  • Strong proofreading and detail-oriented research and writing skills
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from community members and the general public
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Flexibility to work some evenings and weekends as required
  • Ability to commute to IPP’s office in Chicago and travel throughout the state for prison visits, parole board hearings, and other events

Location: A hybrid work environment, including working remotely and out of IPP’s office at 53 West Jackson Blvd in Chicago, IL.

Reports To: Executive Director

Compensation: This is a full-time position with a salary of $70,000 and benefits that includes generous vacation leave, health, dental, vision, long-term disability, life, and 401K.

Illinois Prison Project is committed to providing an environment of mutual respect where equal employment opportunities are available to all applicants and teammates without regard to race, color, religion or belief, sex, pregnancy, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military and veteran status, and any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Illinois Prison Project believes that diversity and inclusion among our teammates is critical to our success as an organization, and we seek to recruit, develop and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool.

How to Apply:

  • Please submit a resume, cover letter, writing sample that includes both factual and legal analysis, and three professional references via email to info@illinoisprisonproject.org with “Director of Legal Services” in the subject line.