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Director of the Washington Office

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection 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 for Justice at NYU School of Law seeks a creative, dynamic leader to help drive our federal advocacy strategy on major democracy and justice issues. The primary task of the Director of the DC Office is to increase the profile of the Brennan Center’s work among policymakers and thought leaders, particularly those in Congress. 

The Director of the DC Office will broaden the Brennan Center’s reach, influence, and impact in Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Washington political sphere; deepen our relationships with members of Congress and their staff; grow powerful alliances with thought leaders and allies; and act as a public spokesperson on behalf of the Brennan Center. This position works in close collaboration with the Center’s program leadership and will have the full support of the Center’s communications department. The organization has achieved growing influence. Now we seek a passionate, effective strategist and public advocate to lift our advocacy work to the next level of impact. 

Today, the Brennan Center is engaged in a great fight for the future of American democracy. We are a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform and revitalize the systems of democracy and justice so they work for all Americans. We seek to protect voting rights, fight for racial justice, end mass incarceration, check executive abuses and strengthen democratic norms now under attack, and preserve Constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. We craft the next generation of reforms and advocate for their adoption.  

Already many members of Congress and their staff, allies, and political leaders from across the political spectrum rely on our experts and research. Our policy proposals have been embraced by political leaders from both parties. Center staff appear widely in the media, testify at committee hearings, host and participate in Hill briefings, and help draft legislation. The Center’s work is routinely cited on newspaper front pages and in editorials, on cable TV, radio and traditional media including in the DC market. We now aim to deepen our reach in Congress and increase our impact in the nation’s capital.

Core responsibilities:

  • With executive and program leadership, identify top federal legislative priorities and develop and implement effective strategies to move them forward.
  • Develop strong relationships for the Brennan Center with congressional leaders, members, and staff, and among advocates and allies from across the political spectrum; serve as the Center’s chief lobbyist.
  • Host high profile public events and convenings to advance our issues and reforms and expand our network of influential public figures and journalists. 
  • Speak on the Center’s behalf to allies, policymakers, journalists, and the public. 
  • Testify or advise program experts in testifying before Congress.
  • Help lead coordinated advocacy efforts among allies and coalitions and ensure that those efforts are consistent with the Center’s larger advocacy goals.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively with the Center’s program leadership and experts in our NYC and DC offices. 
  • Act as a leader of the Brennan Center’s growing DC office, oversee its operations, and promote a supportive, cohesive atmosphere among the 12 program staff, fellows, and operations staff based there.  
  • Serve as part of the Brennan Center’s Management Team and report to the Managing Director and Vice President.  


The ideal candidate would have: 

  • At least 10 years of relevant experience in issue advocacy, government, legal practice, politics or government relations, with a strong preference for experience working in or with Congress. 
  • Political and strategic savvy and a proven understanding of how Congress and the executive branch work and how to advance a federal legislative agenda 
  • Management experience leading and developing staff with diverse backgrounds and experience and track record of working well in collaboration with a broad array of senior staff.
  • Record of building relationships with legislative leaders and staff, coalition partners, thought leaders, and journalists.
  • Familiarity with and passion for democracy, criminal justice reform, racial justice, and rule of law issues and an ability to quickly develop fluency in the Center’s program work and research.
  • Experience as an effective public speaker and communicator and strong editing and writing skills.
  • Enthusiasm for and ability to work in a fast-paced, shifting environment with competing deadlines and priorities.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, confidence to work well with strong and experienced colleagues, and ability to inspire trust in allies, members of Congress and their staff, and the media.
  • J.D. preferred.

Salary is commensurate with the job and experience. A generous benefits package is available as well.


Please visit, and upload your cover letter, resume, and two relevant writing samples using the drop down menus.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.  No phone calls or faxes, please.  Please reference where you saw this posting. 

If you are unable to upload your documents, you may send them to with "Director, DC Office" in the subject line, after registering in the online system. Applying through our website is strongly preferred.

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center: 

  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic identity;
  • Considers and hires applicants who have been previously incarcerated; 
  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged; 
  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and 
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.
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