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Senior Policy Fellow - 2017

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan public policy and law institute that focuses on improving the systems of democracy and justice in the United States. Among our core priorities, we fight to protect voting rights, to address the challenge of special interest money in our politics, to end mass incarceration, and to advance Constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. 

The Center combines the elements of a think tank, a legal advocacy group and a communications hub. Its model for legal and policy change reflects the view that winning in the court of public opinion is a necessary precursor for winning in the court of law. This model of popular constitutional advocacy is congruent with the emerging body of thoughtful scholarship. The Center believes that our democracy, system of self-governance, and legal system all urgently need revitalization and repair. We are committed to helping provide some of the intellectual energy behind that revitalization. In particular, the Center is committed to working on new policy proposals that can help catalyze reform movements and serve as part of a future governing agenda. As traditional arguments are increasingly revealed to be shopworn, these new ideas can help propel the next wave of positive reform and substantive change. 

Position: The Brennan Center seeks a senior or midlevel professional, with experience in the legal, academic, governmental or think tank policy sectors, to join the Center’s Fellows Program as a Senior Policy Fellow based in the Washington, D.C. Office. 

Background: The Brennan Center is growing its Fellows Program with the goal of attracting thought leaders and innovators who are passionately committed to the goal of strengthening and repairing the institutions of democracy and justice in the United States. Fellows work with our talented program staff to deepen our thinking in our existing areas of work. They also serve a research and development function – allowing us to “color outside the lines” of our program priorities and explore areas that might become priorities in the future. 

Brennan Center fellows contribute to the intellectual life of the Center by producing books, research reports and policy proposals to help define the conversation on our issues; by sponsoring academic symposia to fill critical gaps in research and scholarship; and by serving as public intellectuals deeply engaged in the public debate through public speaking and writing, helping to infuse fresh perspectives and informed expertise in all our work. 

In recent years, we have expanded our Fellows Program through the hire of respected journalists and academics, known for their incisive views and broad perspective, who produce regular commentary on issues of justice and democracy. We have also brought on experts drawn from the ranks of law enforcement, government and civil rights advocacy. 

We now seek a Senior Policy Fellow, who will be based in the Center’s Washington. DC Office. The Fellow will report to the Center’s Vice President for Programs, and will have opportunities to collaborate with Brennan Center program staff in its Washington and New York offices. 

The position offers an opportunity for intellectual and policy engagement with the support of the Center and its staff and communications team. The Fellow would have the opportunity to write and comment widely on issues of democracy, justice and the rule of law: identifying urgent challenges that need to be addressed and exploring concrete policy goals solutions. The Fellowship will provide a unique platform to engage with top-tier thought leaders and policy makers through the Brennan Center’s established academic and media platforms. 

Responsibilities will include: 

  • Developing exclusive written content (including blog posts, articles, op-eds, reports and books) on a variety of topics. The Fellowship is an ideal platform for thought leaders interested in writing books and other long-form written products, including empirical research reports, policy proposals and white papers. 
  • Contributing to the public debate through speaking engagements, media appearances, and conferences. The ideal candidate will seek visibility through public appearances and the organizing of conferences and events. 
  • Conducting research on issues relevant to the Brennan Center’s mission. 
  • Reaching out to counterparts in think tanks, policy institutes and the academy to foster partnerships and leverage collective resources. The Center’s affiliation with New York University School of Law, one of the nation’s top law schools, offers unparalleled opportunities for engagement with the academic community. We also expect the Fellow to serve as an ambassador to the Washington think tank community, deepening our connections to the nation’s top thinkers and policy experts. 
  • Advising and assisting Brennan Center staff. 
  • Participating in, and helping to organize, Brennan Center events. 
  • Other projects that may arise. 

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have significant experience in academia, government, policy advocacy, or the public interest sector; an advanced degree is preferred. Experience working in politics, or engaging on the Brennan Center’s issues, is a plus. The ideal candidate will also have: strong academic credentials; excellent writing skills (for a variety of audiences, including legal, legislative, journalistic, and public); analytic, strategic, and research skills; creativity, versatility, and flexibility; organizational skills; and the ability to deal with diverse clients and allies. We are looking for a candidate with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, versatility and a desire to go deep on a wide array of Brennan Center issues. 

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. 

Applications: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.  Please visit: and upload the following application materials: a 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 “Senior Policy Fellow” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

The Brennan Center, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, 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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