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Posted May 26, 2023


Policy Associate

Hybrid/Denver, Colo.

$53,955 annually

Posted May 22, 2023

Policy Specialist

Hybrid/Denver, Colo.

$67,681 annually

Full Time (On-site)

June 2, 2023 11:59 p.m. MT

Job Overview

About The Role

NCSL’s Criminal and Civil Justice Program (CCJ) is seeking a Policy Specialist to work on state legislative criminal justice policy in a nonpartisan manner. The NCSL CCJ team tracks state legislative interests and actions on a wide range of topics that reflect the many aspects and functions of criminal and civil justice systems. The program’s research and publications address a myriad of criminal and civil issues, and the CCJ staff offers training and assistance to our members on key topics, such as policing, pretrial release, sentencing & corrections, juvenile justice, civil rights and civil law.

The Policy Specialist will join a growing group of nine team members and work collaboratively with the team on multiple issues and grant projects that cover a wide range of criminal justice areas. This position will report to an associate director in the CCJ Program. The CCJ team is nonpartisan, hardworking, loyal, trustworthy and embraces and incorporates NCSL’s core values and DEI into their day-to-day activities and work culture.

This position will have contact with legislators, legislative staff, and other officials outside of NCSL, including face-to-face discussions or presentations at meetings in order to meet the information needs of state legislators and legislative staff across the country. The ideal candidate will combine strong technical skills with a broader ability to: 1) collect and analyze criminal justice legislation and legislative trends; 2) express information on criminal justice policies clearly and concisely through writing; 3) build a national network of criminal justice legislators, legislative staff and experts; 4) bring energy, ideas and creativity to a variety of team activities. Work may be performed independently or as a member of a team.


  • Develops subject matter expertise on a variety of issues related to a specific subject area and assists legislators and legislative staff with their research and information needs.  
  • Collects and analyzes legislative data; interprets and identifies legislative implications and trends; develops comparative 50-state legislation and statute data sets. 
  • Conducts research on federal, state, and local actions that impact the work of legislatures, such as, executive and administrative actions, relevant case law or judicial interpretations, and intergovernmental actions. 
  • Translates detailed and complex information in the most effective format using a variety of methods, e.g., verbal presentations, publications, webpages, podcasts, webinars, briefings, memos, newsletters, articles, and others.
  • Plans technical assistance programs, small-sized meetings, and educational sessions at larger meetings and assists with overall planning for larger meetings with supervisor oversight. May contribute to planning tasks, such as speaker identification, agenda development, and on-site support. 
  • Creates substantive, engaging, and interactive presentations for legislators, legislative staff, and others on state topics within a specific portfolio with the ability to respond to questions. 
  • Prepares concise, accurate, and nonpartisan written products for a variety of purposes and audiences including communications with members (email, memos), reports, webpages and articles.
  • Participates in peer review editing of colleagues’ work, as needed.  
  • Maintains effective relations with key legislators and legislative staff involved as needed. 
  • May assist with the development of new projects in assigned subject areas, including assisting with concept papers, proposals, and grant applications. 
  • Travels domestically for meetings, technical assistance, and other project activities as needed.
  • Performs other responsibilities as needed.

Supervisor/Management Responsibilities

  • May oversee one intern or serve as coordinator of a team of other professionals on a short-term project.


  • Bachelor's degree required, plus four years of work experience in state legislatures or other governmental, public policy or research organizations.
  • Knowledge of criminal justice policy which could include, but is not limited to, policing, pretrial release, community supervision, prison oversight and criminal justice data.
  • Proficient writing and presentation skills and the ability to clearly and credibly communicate information to a variety of audiences. 
  • Aptitude at working both collaboratively with others and independently.  
  • Proven ability to build and maintain relationships with legislators, legislative staff, national experts, funders and others, under the guidance or mentorship of supervisor(s). 
  • Ability to work in a politically neutral manner and maintain confidentiality when required. 
  • Strong research and analysis skills, including accessing and assessing a variety of resources and research; synthesizing data and legislation; and analyzing and summarizing policy options and legislative activities.   
  • Strong organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple tasks and deadlines under the guidance of supervisor(s). Ability to work under deadline pressure and adapt to changes in workload.  
  • Proficient knowledge of state legislative and political processes and the separation of power between the branches of government. 
  • Ability to travel by air 5-7 times per year, with most trips being 1-3 nights, as well as work extended hours, possibly evenings and weekends, usually associated with events/travel.

Work Environment

This position is mostly performed in an office environment, on or off-site, with prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer. NCSL provides a unique hybrid remote work policy with the requirement that staff travel on their own fare to the NCSL office once a month for team meetings and professional development. Employees routinely use standard office equipment such as laptops, printers, scanners, copy machines, and smartphones. Occasional travel by airplane, including overnights and weekends, is required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.


NCSL has a flexible remote work policy. Building and maintaining our organizational culture is critical and we do so by bringing staff together, in person, for four days each month.  The remote work policy provides the freedom to work from anywhere with the requirement that staff travel on their own fare to the NCSL office once a month for team meetings and professional development. We are committed to offering a full range of other benefits for you and your eligible family members, including domestic partners.

Your total compensation goes beyond the number on your paycheck. Our outstanding benefits include low-cost health, dental and vision coverage, a 401(a)-retirement plan with 10% contribution after 6 months and full vesting, life & disability insurance, 3-weeks paid vacation with 5+ years of paid full-time work experience, generous time off plans and paid family leave, floating holidays, identity theft protection, employee assistance programs, pet insurance, paid time off to volunteer, and more! Relocation assistance provided for out-of-state candidates.

About the Organization

Are you ready to join an organization with an extraordinary mission? The National Conference of State Legislatures offers careers where you can use your skills, knowledge, and experience to truly make a difference. NCSL’s mission is purposeful – strengthening the legislative institution. From informing effective policies and promoting communication among state legislatures, to ensuring states have a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system, our team works in service of legislatures. And, with a commitment to constantly innovating all resources and services to meet the evolving needs of members, NCSL has earned the reputation as the nation’s most trusted bipartisan membership organization for legislators and legislative staff. Our success serving NCSL members relies on our team of passionate, dedicated professionals who work diligently to strengthen the legislative institution. Join our team and contribute to this unique, essential mission. NCSL has a flexible remote work policy.  Building and maintaining our organizational culture is critical and we do so by bringing staff together, in person, for four days each month.  The remote work policy provides the freedom to work from anywhere with the requirement that staff travel on their own fare to the NCSL office once a month for team meetings and professional development. 

How to Apply

If you are a purpose-driven, dedicated professional looking to give as much as you get – submit your resume and cover letter by 11:59 p.m. MT, June 2, 2023 for best consideration. Learn more about working with NCSL by visiting our careers page.

NCSL is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and is committed to developing a diverse, dynamic team and inclusive workplace. NCSL does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability, or any other status protected by law or regulation.

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