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Counsel, Justice 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. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them — in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. 

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to improve our criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration while keeping the country safe. The program blends law, policy, and economics to produce new empirical analyses and advance innovative policy solutions to advance this goal. 

Position: The Justice Program is seeking a mid-level attorney to join a cutting-edge team that is part of national trans-partisan movement to end mass incarceration in the United States. This is a signal moment in criminal justice reform. Crime and punishment are front and center in the national political debate. Leaders across the political spectrum agree on the need for bold solutions, but must adapt their strategies and policies to confront a challenging political environment. 

The Counsel will assist the program with two major goals.  First: help advance federal and state criminal justice policy by authoring reports, conducting advocacy, and shaping public debate in the media. This includes framing responses to the current administration’s policies and statements on criminal justice and working across the political spectrum to help position ending mass incarceration as a top issue in the upcoming elections.  Second: help develop the program’s appellate amicus practice, identifying critical opportunities and drafting briefs that leverage Justice Program research to make the case in court for a better, fairer criminal justice system.  The Counsel will report to a senior Justice Program attorney, and collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of lawyers, economists, researchers, and communications professionals. 

Responsibilities: 

  • Research and monitor up-to-the-minute developments in federal, state, and local criminal justice policy, and craft public responses within the Center’s broad advocacy strategy. 
  • Help craft the Program’s amicus practice by researching opportunities where the Center’s unique, interdisciplinary approach can contribute to major criminal justice cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and other high courts. Working with pro bono counsel and Center staff, draft amicus briefs that persuasively use the Center’s research to shape the outcome of those cases. 
  • Advance advocacy efforts on key legislative and policy goals, including writing testimony, memos, and outreach to lawmakers and officials, and litigation efforts. 
  • Write or coauthor reports that leverage the Center’s legal, policy, and empirical expertise to analyze major policy changes and explain their significance to the public, media, and policymakers. 
  • Assist with other programmatic research and advocacy to assist with empirical reports and policy solutions. 
  • Advance program goals through media and communications work, including public speaking, media appearances, and public writing in the form of op-eds, blogging and other short-form pieces. 

Qualifications: 

  • A J.D. degree plus a minimum of 3-5 years of legal experience in a law firm, public policy, government, nonprofit, or private-sector organization. 
  • Top notch writing skills, including the ability to succinctly translate complex legal concepts and empirical analyses into accessible prose that can be understood by a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, media, and public audiences). 
  • Experience writing appellate briefs and analyzing criminal law and policy strongly preferred. 
  • Ability to manage junior staff – including the ability to delegate, hold staff accountable, and take strategic and editing input from senior leadership. 
  • Ability to multi-task, pay attention to detail, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Ability to understand statistics and empirical work to advance legal advocacy is a plus. 
  • A passion for public interest law and a strong work ethic. 

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. 

Applications: The application deadline is December 1, 2017, but applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.  To apply, visit http://brennancenter.org/employment and please upload the following application materials: cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references. If applicable, please include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: brennancenterjobs@nyu.edu with “Justice Counsel” 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, gender identity and expression, and applicants who have been previously incarcerated. 

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