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Counsel, Democracy Program - Fair Courts

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. Among our core priorities, we fight to protect voting rights, end mass incarceration, strengthen checks and balances, maintain the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, and preserve Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part public interest law center, part cutting-edge communications hub, we are known for our rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

Position: The Brennan Center seeks an exceptional attorney to work in the Democracy Program, primarily on our Fair Courts project. A fair and independent judiciary, at both the federal and state level, plays a crucial role in protecting individual rights and an open political system and in checking the political branches of government. The Fair Courts project works to promote and preserve norms of judicial independence and equal justice for all; develop policies that will safeguard courts from special interest influence and political interference, while promoting a diverse bench; contribute to legal and academic debates on the role of the courts in constraining government action; and defend against efforts to undermine courts’ independence and legitimacy. Team members work to advance these goals through a combination of academic and policy research and writing, media communications, litigation, advocacy, and public education.  The attorney will also work on other democracy-related issues, including helping to develop and execute new work on the scope of executive power in the American constitutional system.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Producing legal and academic research and writing reports and other public writing that shed light on problems in our court system and democracy, and propose innovative policy solutions.
  • Advancing program goals through media and public communications, including public speaking engagements, media appearances, op-eds, blog posts, and conferences.
  • Litigating cases and drafting amicus briefs, including work on case development, motions, and briefs.
  • Counseling federal and state policy makers, court administrators, and advocates, and drafting and reviewing legislation and judicial conduct rules.
  • Contributing to the effective administration of a dynamic and wide-ranging program, including mentoring of staff, participation in recruitment and hiring, and working with communications, research, and development professionals.

Qualifications: As an equal opportunity affirmative action employer, the Brennan Center is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, and applicants who have been previously incarcerated. A J.D. degree and admission in the New York State Bar, either before or shortly after employment commences, are required. We prefer candidates with at least 3 years of legal experience (including clerkships, if any), but we will consider other exceptional candidates. We encourage applicants from diverse professional backgrounds, and demonstrated commitment to the public interest is a plus. 

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Exceptional writing skills (for a variety of audiences, including legal, legislative, journalistic, and public).
  • Strong strategic thinking skills, and the capacity to execute and achieve intended goals.
  • Excellent analytic and research skills.
  • The ability to work effectively in a team-based and deadline-driven environment while maintaining a heavy docket of work.
  • Creativity, versatility, and flexibility.
  • Openness to feedback.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in a coalition and with diverse clients and allies.
  • A strong entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the work of the Brennan Center.

Salary: The salary is highly competitive in the field and commensurate with experience. A generous benefits package is available as well.

Applications: Applications are due by April 28, 2017, but earlier applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit and upload (where it says “attach resume”) as one document the following application materials: cover letter, resume, two writing samples (up to 10 pages each), and contact information for three references. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Counsel Position (Democracy-Fair Courts)” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

As an equal opportunity affirmative action employer, the Brennan Center is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, and applicants who have been previously incarcerated.


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