View Our Website View All Jobs

Counsel, Democracy Program

Counsel, Democracy Program 

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, promote democratic values in campaign finance and ethics in government, end mass incarceration, strengthen checks and balances, 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 a talented early-to-mid-level attorney to work in the Democracy Program. The attorney’s primary responsibilities will be to help advance our ongoing efforts to reduce the outsized influence of money in politics, and will also include work on voting rights, election administration and possibly also government ethics. Our attorneys use multiple strategies to advance goals, including policy research and writing; legislative advocacy including drafting bills and providing advice to lawmakers; trial and appellate litigation in federal and state courts; providing expert commentary to news media; working with coalitions; and participating in public events and education. 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Producing excellent legal research and analysis for projects including legislative drafting and advocacy, litigation, policy reports, and scholarship. 
  • Contributing to or leading public-facing policy reports that identify problems impeding democracy and propose concrete solutions, including conceptualization, research, writing, media promotion, and post-publication legal and public advocacy. 
  • Advancing legislative and policy reforms at the state and federal levels by drafting and reviewing legislation, providing advice to federal and state law makers, working in coalitions, and otherwise building long-term relationships with external stakeholders. 
  • Litigating trial and appellate court cases, including work on case development, motions, and briefs. 
  • Participating in media and public communications, including public speaking engagements, media appearances, op-eds, blog posts, and conferences. 
  • Supervising legal interns and research associates on projects. 
  • 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 approximately 2 to 3 years of legal experience (including clerkships, if any), but we will consider exceptional candidates, regardless of experience. We encourage applicants from diverse professional backgrounds, and demonstrated commitment to the public interest is a plus. 

The ideal candidate will have: 

  • Superb legal research and analysis skills, including the ability to produce sound legal analysis on tight deadlines. 
  • Excellent writing skills, with the ability and enthusiasm to produce clear, cogent writing in a variety of modes (court briefs, policy reports, op-eds, and others). 
  • Strong initiative and time-management and problem-solving skills, conducive to effectively executing assignments independently or as part of a team and balancing an ambitious docket of both near-term and long-term work. 
  • An aptitude for strategic thinking, able to spot and capitalize on opportunities, anticipate and avoid problems, and consider long-term implications in order to advance the team’s goals. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to work diplomatically and effectively with colleagues across departments and at all levels and with a wide diversity of others including clients, allies, pro bono counsel, government officials, and adversaries. 
  • Eagerness to improve self and team, including openness to receiving feedback and interest in providing mentorship. 
  • Curiosity, creativity, and flexibility. 
  • 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 September 22, 2017, but earlier applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit and upload 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)” 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.

Read More

Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, or .docx (limit 2MB) or Paste resume

Paste your resume here or Attach resume file

To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.
Veteran/Disability status