Illinois Federation of Teachers
Illinois Federation of Teachers
500 Oakmont Lane
Westmont, Illinois 60559

Legal Counsel and Research Director

Based in Westmont, IL
(Northern Region Office)


To Apply:
Application is made by sending a letter and a current résumé to the attention of Barb Latta, at the address shown above or via e-mail, at: blatta@ift-aft.org,  no later than March 24th, 2023.

The IFT is a 103,000-member union comprised of PreK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRPs), higher education professionals, and public employees across Illinois in local unions. The IFT seeks applications for a Legal Counsel and Research Director with a demonstrated commitment to worker rights. This position will provide in-house legal counsel and advice to IFT locals, leaders and staff, and additionally oversee IFT’s research program.


  1. Excellent oral and written communications skills.
  2. Extensive knowledge of areas related to all aspects of collective bargaining, organizing, contract campaigns, and labor law
  3. Experience in analyzing public sector budgets (pre-K-12, higher education, state agencies).
  4. Experience in researching education and public policies that impact workers.
  5. Knowledge of and ability to analyze state and local pension systems and related law.
  6. Experience in developing and delivering training to groups.
  7. Advance skills in database work and online search strategies.
  8. Extensive knowledge of:
    • Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, Power Point
    • Westlaw & other legal research resources
    • FOIA, public document searches and other online research tools
  9. Ability to creatively and independently identify research needs and to plan, initiate and successfully complete extensive research projects.
  10. Ability to work in multi-party coalitions and with groups outside the IFT, as directed.
  11. Strong knowledge of rules and regulations under state and federal labor relations boards and of federal and state labor laws and regulations.
  12. Ability to work independently and to work long hours, including some holidays and weekends as needed, and to produce work on short deadlines.
  13. Ability to travel long distances as needed.
  14. Experience in labor negotiations, litigation matters, labor law, civil rights, disability, arbitration, and contract administration is highly preferred.
  15. Strong Preference given to Candidate with a Juris Doctor who is licensed to practice law. Consideration will be given to applicants who do not have a JD, but if selected, the IFT will modify the job title.


  • Develop and maintain statewide research capabilities and databases.
  • Present before groups interested in IFT information.
  • Provide approved parties with IFT research.
  • Design and initiate specific research programs in areas including collective bargaining, salary, arbitration, organizing, legal, legislative and public policy, community engagement and other strategic areas as needed.
  • Coordinate research requests and assistance from AFT


  • Advise Field Service Directors and IFT Locals in disciplinary matters, arbitrations, unfair labor practices and other contractual administrative matters.
  • Assist Field Service Directors and outside counsel with preparing for arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges.
  • Assist Organizing Directors and Field Service Directors with coordinating legal and regulatory aspects of organizing drives under the IELRA, ILRA, and NLRA.
  • Identify internal and external legal risks and provide advice and guidance on various labor and employment law matters facing the IFT.
  • Update and train staff on a continuing basis. Update and train locals upon request in coordination with field service directors or other staff.


  • Attend IFT meetings and workshops.
  • Assist in IFT convention and conference programs.
  • Attend IELRB and ISLRB meetings when needed.
  • Assist in legislative and political activities, communications and media needs, and organizing and field campaigns.
  • Produce timely reports on IFT research activities, as directed.
  • Carry out assignments as directed by the President, Chief Operating Officer, or the Directors of Field and Organizing.

The position is in the bargaining unit represented by the Illinois Organizers Union, Chicago Newspaper Guild Local 34071, and offers competitive salary and excellent benefits, including comprehensive medical and dental insurance plans, life and long-term disability plans, and retirement contributions.

Successful candidates will undergo a background and professional reference check

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.