Legal Research & Policy Attorney
at Heartland Alliance

Date Posted: 10/13/2019

Job Description


Grounded in 130 years working to advance human rights, Heartland Alliance informs public policy decisions and advances solutions to improve opportunities and quality of life for people experiencing inequity, living in poverty, and facing danger.

Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division engages in research on social issues and solutions, policy and systems change, and field building nationwide. The division is home to the Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance’s Policy & Advocacy team, and Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Economic Opportunity. Our Policy and Advocacy team identifies and advances proven solutions to poverty at the local, state, and federal levels. We lead by developing policy proposals, building strategic alliances, and pursuing legislative and budgetary action. Our Policy and Advocacy team manages several projects based on our policy priorities, including: financial justice, poverty and economic security, and health care. The team also focuses on advancing a sustainable budget, supporting human services, and fighting injustice. Our work is advancing meaningful policy and systems change to strengthen communities, advance equity, and create a more just society.


Heartland Alliance is seeking a Legal Research & Policy Attorney to lead the analysis of Illinois state statutes, regulations, and case law as it pertains to the collateral consequences of having a criminal record. This person will play a central role in Heartland Alliance's groundbreaking efforts to advance wholesale collateral consequence reform in Illinois.

In partnership with team members across the Research & Policy Division and with expert consultants, the  will work to review and analyze Illinois state statutes, regulations, and case law in order to inform our legislative strategy and blueprint for advancing large scale collateral consequence reform in Illinois. This is a one year position.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:  

  • With expert consultants, conduct legal and policy research and analyze legislation, scholarly literature, and other relevant materials as it relates to the collateral consequences of a criminal record, such as barriers or restrictions to employment, housing, or education.

  • Draft reports, memoranda and other material to support legislative strategy and campaign goals.

  • Maintain complete, thorough, accurate and current records in an organized fashion in accordance with legal standards, rules and ethics.

  • Prepare recommendations and support Heartland Alliance policy and campaign staff and partners, in the development of Heartland Alliance’s legislative strategy.

  • Ensure the accuracy, substance, and timeliness of reports, projects, and other relevant work products.

  • Remains current on criminal justice law, scholarship, policies, and procedures.

  • Identifies trends and recurring legal or policy concerns.Recommends strategies for solutions and other needed advocacy.

  • Other duties may be assigned.

Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience: Juris Doctor required; and one year of direct experience in social service counseling and/or legal representation. Experience providing direct service to people who have experienced poverty or injustice is a plus. Familiarity with Illinois’s of criminal justice system and/or Illinois’s criminal justice and collateral consequence laws and regulations is a plus.
  • Mission alignment. Demonstrated commitment to racial justice and criminal justice reform. Proven ability to work in a manner that respects differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Equity Commitments. Fosters a commitment to and application of equity, inclusion, and diversity throughout our work. Provides direction for careful equity analysis of potential consequences of local and federal policies and makes strategic recommendations for appropriate substance. Prioritizes engagement of impacted populations throughout our policy and advocacy work from conception to design to action, and is attentive to the diverse perspectives of our stakeholders. Sustains and builds upon our position as a leading policy change agent by maintaining momentum on critical issues and by laying the groundwork for emerging policy issues.

  • Language/Communication Skills: Ability to read, analyze, and interpret case law, general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations.  Ability to write legal memoranda, reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to draft materials including legal information for a variety of audiences.  Excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • Computer Skills:Demonstrated proficiency with computer skills in word processing, spreadsheets and Internet usage, including new media. Familiarity with Microsoft Office package.
  • Other Skills: Demonstrated ability to think critically, solve problems creatively, and manage multiple assignments under deadlines. Highly organized. Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands andarms
  • The employee is regularly required to sit, stand and walk
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10
  • Due to computer usage, the employee will need vision abilities such as close vision and ability to adjust

Work Environment:  The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

    Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, criminal justice involvement (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at (312) 660-1431.

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Job Type: Research
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 10/13/2019

About Us

It’s more than a job, it’s a purpose.

Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our multicultural staff are passionate about our mission and make Heartland Alliance a dynamic and exciting place to develop your career.

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