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Senior Attorney, Democracy Program

Senior Attorney: 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, 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 strategies, and we fight for them — in the courts, in Congress and the states, and in the court of public opinion.

Position:  The Brennan Center seeks an exceptional attorney to work in the Democracy Program, focusing on legal strategy across our issue areas. On Voting Rights and Elections, we work to ensure that voting is free, fair, and accessible for all American citizens. On Money in Politics, we work to reduce the power of money and special interests in our elections; to return voters to the center of our democracy by advancing and defending reforms that help create equal political opportunity; and to stem the erosion of norms designed to prevent the abuse of government power and resources for private aims. On Redistricting, we work to protect the right to vote and prevent manipulation of electoral rules; promote fair, transparent, and participatory redistricting and representation; and prevent the abuse of redistricting for undue partisan gain or to disadvantage minority communities.  On Fair Courts, we work 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; promote the appropriate role of the courts in constraining government action; and defend against efforts to undermine courts’ legitimacy.

This position will help develop, shape, and lead legal strategies to advance these goals.  Reporting to the Director of the Democracy Program and working closely with program staff, the senior attorney will employ a combination of research and scholarship, litigation, advocacy, and public communications and education.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing, shaping and helping to lead legal strategies, including strategies to shape the law of democracy.
  • Engaging in appellate and trial court litigation to shape democracy jurisprudence, including work on case development, discovery, motions and briefs, and drafting and coordinating amicus briefs.
  • Conducting research and writing reports shedding light on the problems in our systems of democracy and proposing policy solutions.
  • Collaborating with academics, top legal experts, and allies to work through thorny jurisprudential and policy questions.
  • Contributing to the public debate about democracy through media and communications work, including public speaking engagements, media appearances, blog posts, op-eds, and conferences.
  • Advancing legislative and policy advocacy goals at the federal and state levels, counseling federal and state policy makers and advocates, drafting and reviewing legislation, and working in coalition.
  • 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:   A J.D. degree and admission in the New York State Bar, either before or shortly after employment commences, are required, as well as a minimum of seven years of legal experience.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Exceptional writing skills for a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, and public).
  • Significant litigation experience, including before appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Strong strategic thinking skills, and the capacity to conceptualize, develop, execute, and achieve the intended goals
  • Strong entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the work of the Brennan Center.
  • Excellent analytic and research skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team-based and deadline-driven environment while maintaining a heavy docket of work.
  • Ability to work effectively in a coalition and with diverse clients and allies.
  • Creativity, versatility, and flexibility.
  • Strong organization skills.
  • Openness to feedback.
  • Strong public speaking and communications skills.

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

Applications: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit http://www.brennancenter.org, click on employment, click on Apply Now (under this position), and upload the following application materials (preferably in pdf): 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: brennancenterjobs@nyu.edu 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.

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