Officer, Research, Civil Legal System Modernization
- Job posted by The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.
We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.
Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the best interests of the people. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.
With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Australia, Brussels and London, and with additional staff in other regions of the United States and around the globe, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.
The civil legal system modernization project was launched in 2018 as an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The project works to make the nation's civil legal system more accessible and affordable to the public by implementing the most promising technologies and tools to assist self-represented litigants and improve state court efficiency. The project provides technical assistance to courts to encourage the broad-scale adoption of these technologies and conducts evaluations to determine best practices.
Specifically, the project will:
- Promote the adoption of online dispute resolution as an official judicial procedure in five states, through deployment statewide or in a major municipal subdivision of the state court system.
- Support the successful implementation of statewide legal-assistance portals in two states that provide access via the internet to diagnostics of civil legal problems and referral to a variety of information and services to assist self-represented litigants.
- Identify the next set of states to target for the adoption of statewide legal-assistance portals.
- Produce evaluations of four online dispute resolution systems and two legal-assistance portals that estimate the expected return on investment for and examine changes in affordability, access, and time to case resolution for these technologies compared to traditional processing.
- Convene a prominent civil justice working group to produce recommendations regarding additional technologies and reforms that would improve access to justice.
The officer, research, reports to the senior officer and is responsible for managing, writing, editing, and conducting research that supports technical assistance on civil legal system modernization at the state level, as well as broader research that illustrates challenges with the civil legal system in the US in general. The officer manages the project's research processes to ensure that new work is methodologically sound, relevant, and accurate. Work also includes development of new tools that help states identify policies and practices that can improve access to civic data, efficient court processes, and fair outcomes in the civil legal system. The officer also conceives, researches, writes, and produces additional content with insight into the connection between the civil legal system and critical policy issues at the state and local level; provides expertise and support to the project's identification of best practices in technology and other civil legal system innovations; and oversees relationships with external researchers and evaluators. The ideal candidate has strong quantitative and qualitative skills, as well as familiarity with one or more aspects of the civil legal system (e.g., courts, legal services, law libraries, and/or substantive areas such as housing, family, consumer debt).
The officer collaborates with the senior officer in creating a research portfolio that comprises both short- and longer-term projects. This position requires strategic thinking and initiative in recommending research projects and tools that will advance the goals of civil legal system modernization. The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.
- With the senior officer, design and implement a research agenda that builds the evidence base for modernization of the civil legal system, including case studies, policy briefs, infographics, and other research products. This work will be done in collaboration with the program's research unit, external experts, and campaign partners.
- Outline opportunities for growth, improvement, and examination of new concepts. Create and maintain a prioritized list of research work. Design and oversee strategies to achieve the team's goals.
- Manage research processes for the team, coordinating with Pew's quality control staff and outside experts as needed to ensure sound methodologies and accurate findings. Work with operations staff to oversee and manage contracts with data providers and experts.
- Execute new research, including authoring, co-authoring, and/or guiding research reports, issue briefs or other content.
- Present findings internally and externally with policymakers, media, and other stakeholders.
- Cultivate and maintain a broad knowledge of public policy discussions, promising technologies, regulatory changes, and other relevant changes to state-level legal policies, research methodologies, and practices. Participate in conferences, webinars, and other professional development activities to develop and maintain expertise in areas of focus.
- Work with the senior officer to manage and coordinate external research products, including soliciting vendors; monitoring projects' progress toward deliverables; and obtaining input from peer reviewers and others on draft reports.
- Work closely with technical assistance staff to provide quick turnaround information, helping to ensure that state partners have the research, facts, and comparative information they need to achieve their goals.
- Write fact sheets, issue briefs, reports, and case studies about the civil legal system, including summaries of what is known about the legal system in the states and the effectiveness of policies designed to improve it.
- Represent the project and Pew at conferences, meetings, and other events, including preparing presentations and materials for distribution, as well as making presentations.
- Contribute to and participate in tasks in the broader state and local government performance portfolio as well as broader Pew institutional projects and activities.
- Bachelor's degree required. Advanced degree with research focus on law, public policy, sociology, economics, or related field preferred.
- Minimum of eight years of specialized experience in the field gained through professional education, training, and professional experience in research and/or public policy.
- A highly skilled researcher with both the technical background in research as well as project management, with an interest in working both on research and on its practical application on the ground.
- Knowledge of the judicial branch, access to justice, and/or substantive areas of law preferred.
- Experience working with quantitative and qualitative data, particularly in conducting outcome and process evaluations.
- Demonstrated strong analytical skills applied to public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue.
- Strong qualitative analytical skills, including an ability to synthesize large amounts of information quickly, summarize findings effectively, identify gaps in research and policy analysis, and develop ideas for research products that generate broad interest.
- Proficiency in Excel required; familiarity with other statistical analytical tools (R, Stata, and/or SPSS) is a plus.
- Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time, remain attentive to details and identify resources for projects. Ability to establish a systematic course of action to ensure project completion.
- A creative thinker who can initiate project ideas that will advance the work of the project as a whole.
- Ability to independently deliver high-quality work while also operating as a team player; ability to develop and manage productive and collaborative relationships, both internally and externally.
- Demonstrated track record of producing accurate, high-quality work.
- Superior written and oral communications skills, including demonstrated ability to translate complex concepts clearly for a policy audience.
- Strong interpersonal skills; ability to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners, and others.
- Proven success in overseeing complex projects and achieving measurable results. Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
- Acute political awareness and nonpartisan perspective and approach.
- Ability to fit into Pew's creative, fast-paced, and highly professional corporate culture, which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork.
Occasional domestic travel for conferences and meetings.
We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.
Minimum Education Required