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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, in 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 to senior Counsel to join a cutting-edge team that is part of a 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 lead an interdisciplinary team working to produce data-driven statistical and economic analyses published as seminal Brennan Center studies. Topics include causes and trends in national crime rates, and quantifying the economic and societal harms of mass incarceration. The Counsel will supervise an economist and a research associate, and work closely with other attorneys, a communications team, and the Brennan Center’s Economic Advisory Board, with strategic direction from the Justice Program’s Director. 

The Counsel will be the primary author of groundbreaking data-driven reports; ensure that the empirical methodology behind these reports reflects the realities and complexities of the criminal justice system; and translate and simplify methodology and findings into prose accessible to the broader public. This position will report to the Director of the Justice Program. 

Responsibilities will include: 

  • Writing and co-authoring reports that blend law and data analysis to further core Justice Program goals, including translating the work of researchers into accessible prose for the general public. 
  • Reviewing methodology of researchers for accuracy and substantive depth; receiving and implementing substantive input and language edits from the Economic Advisory Board and Brennan Center leadership. 
  • Managing reports from start to finish including: development of concept, research, writing, editing, rollout, media, and advocacy; at each step directly supervising team members and laterally managing staff in other departments. 
  • Working with the Director to devise report ideas, advocacy goals, program plans, and assist with program management responsibilities. 
  • Translating research findings into legal documents including briefs, and legislative and executive agency testimony. 
  • Advancing core program goals through media and communications work, including public speaking engagements, media appearances, and op-eds. 

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have: 

  • A J.D. degree plus 4-8 years of legal experience in a law firm, public policy, government, nonprofit, or private-sector organization. Unique candidates with less experience will be considered. Law firm experience is a plus. 
  • Top notch writing skills, including the ability to succinctly translate complex empirical analyses and complex legal concepts into accessible prose that can be understood by a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, media, and public audiences). 
  • Comfort with and general understanding of numbers and statistics. Undergraduate or graduate degree in economics, statistics, or social science a plus. Experience incorporating data into legal work a plus. 
  • Strong analytic, strategic, and research skills. 
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, ability to multi-task in a fast-pace environment, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines. 
  • Strong inter-personal skills. Ability to manage multiple staff members on projects – including the ability to delegate and hold staff accountable, edit and supervise the work of staff, take input from senior leadership, and work respectfully with other colleagues. 
  • Willingness to learn communications and media work. Experience in communications writing 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 July 1, 2018, but applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. To apply, visit https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/apply/cGmPmJrAX8/Counsel-Justice-Program and please upload (where it says “attach resume”) the following application materials: cover letter (copy and paste where indicated), 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. 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 
  • Commits to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.
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