The Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center is a nonpartisan center for research and advocacy at SMU Dedman School of Law dedicated to making impactful change to the criminal legal system. The Center combines data-driven research and compelling stories to advocate for innovative reform. The Center prides itself on its collaborative interdisciplinary process, as well as its fast-paced, informal environment.

The Deason Center is respected nationwide for its expertise on the right to counsel and the early stage criminal process. In recent years, the Center has published several research and policy papers on the process for appointing counsel and the importance of counsel at initial appearance. The Day One Campaign will expand this work by pursuing critical reforms that guarantee:

Initial appearance within 24 hours of arrest
Counsel at initial appearance
Continuous representation from initial appearance to disposition
About the Position:

The Day One Campaign Director will be an experienced legal and policy advocate who spearheads the Center’s grant-funded Day One work. Day One is a national campaign to advance the constitutional right to counsel by providing prompt and effective representation for every arrested person. The Campaign Director will coordinate this multi-state campaign, lead the Center’s reform efforts in several target jurisdictions, and manage grant compliance. 

Preferred location on campus in Dallas, Texas. Candidates seeking remote work will be considered. However, remote work will require applicants to work in the Center’s Dallas office approximately three times per yearm in addition to other work travel.

Essential Functions:

The Campaign Director will develop national strategies and mechanisms for implementing Day One best practices, including determinations of eligibility for appointed counsel, provision of counsel at initial appearance, identification and training of qualified initial appearance counsel, provision of continuous representation, and timely appointment of  counsel for case defense and disposition. 
The Day One Campaign Director will lead the Day One campaign in several target jurisdictions.  They will assess jurisdictional needs, develop and execute advocacy plans, create and nurture local partnerships, promote legal and public education about Day One rights, and support related stakeholder efforts, including Day One training programs and pilot projects.
The Campaign Director will research and draft reports and policy briefs related to the National Day One Campaign. They will also draft and provide legislative testimony, Day One one-pagers, press briefings, CLEs, stakeholder consultations, and other similar front-facing engagements. 
The Campaign Director will consult on litigation strategies relevant to achieving Day One campaign goals. Working with senior Center staff, the Campaign Director may help litigate test cases or file amicus briefs. 
The Campaign Director will oversee grant compliance, manage grant budgets, and timely draft and submit grant reports. 
The Campaign Director will contribute to other Deason Center efforts, including meeting with students and contributing to the law school environment, planning virtual and in-person events, contributing to other Center publications, etc. 

A juris doctor and five (5) years of extensive experience with criminal justice policy or litigation is required for this position. Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Ideal candidate will be an experienced advocate and leader, invested in achieving equitable early stage criminal process and with experience in multiple jurisdictions. Other desirable experiences include community organizing, class action litigation, legislative process, policy advocacy, grant management, and student supervision. Ideal candidate has experience with, or knowledge of, right to counsel jurisprudence and initial appearance procedure in multiple jurisdictions, and a  track record of excellent judgment, success juggling competing priorities, a keen eye for detail, and a capacity to set and meet deadlines. The successful candidate will also have strong skills in research, writing, and public speaking. There is a strong preference for experience leading committees or working groups, and conducting trainings. Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of constituencies. Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Must also have strong organizational, planning and time management skills. Physical and Environmental Demands: Sit for long periods of time Deadline to Apply: This position is open until filled. EEO Statement: SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601, Benefits: SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution. SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU's retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU. The value of learning at SMU isn't just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.
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