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Counsel, Liberty and National Security 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. 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 we fight for them — in Congress and the states, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

The Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program works to advance effective national security policies that respect the rule of law and constitutional values. Our current program priorities include ensuring that Congress and the courts serve their constitutional role as a check on executive power in the area of national security; reforming emergency powers to strengthen safeguards against abuse; ending racial, religious, and ethnic profiling in counterterrorism policies; bolstering First and Fourth Amendment protections in the digital age; promoting targeted and effective responses to far-right violence; and enhancing transparency, oversight, and accountability for intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

Position: The Brennan Center seeks an attorney for its Liberty and National Security Program. The position is based in the Brennan Center’s Washington, D.C. office and requires occasional travel to New York City and other locations. The position is funded for a two-year period; an extension of this period is possible but not guaranteed.

The attorney will focus primarily on the Program’s efforts to bolster the role of Congress and the courts as checks against executive overreach in the areas of emergency powers and war powers.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Engaging in legal and policy research and analysis.
  • Producing written reports and other public education materials.
  • Participating in communications activities such as public speaking engagements, outreach to media and media appearances, op-eds, blog posts, and conferences.
  • Conceiving and planning public events and private convenings.
  • Advancing policy reforms by educating and providing advice to lawmakers, and by working in coalitions and with external stakeholders.
  • Identifying and conducting interviews with relevant subject matter experts.
  • Advising officials, advocates, and activists.
  • Possibly participating in litigation as amici or counsel.
  • Supervising research/program associates and interns on projects.

Qualifications

Required. A J.D. degree and admission to the bar is required, as well as a minimum of two years’ legal experience (which may include clerkships).

The ideal candidate will have some combination of the following experiences and qualifications. We recognize that many excellent candidates may not have all these experiences and qualifications and we will provide support for the successful candidate to acquire additional skills.

  • Three to five years’ relevant experience as an attorney.
  • Exceptional writing skills for a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, and public).
  • Outstanding research and analytical skills.
  • Comfort with public speaking.
  • Ability to work with media.
  • Ability to work in coalition with other organizations and with diverse constituencies.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to juggle tasks in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment.
  • Strong initiative and ability to work independently, combined with a “team player” mentality.
  • Good interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to work diplomatically and effectively with others both inside and outside the organization.
  • Resilience, a sense of humor, and a solutions-oriented outlook.
  • A background in one or more of the following areas: civil liberties, national security, and/or human rights law; legislative advocacy (or other legislative experience); and litigation.

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

Applications: Applications are due by April 23, but earlier applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please visit https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/apply/fgXuFUaF3Z/Counsel-Liberty-And-National-Security-Program and upload the following application materials AS ONE DOCUMENT where it asks for resume: 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 (Liberty and National Security)” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.  Applying on 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

  • Welcomes and hires applicants of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic identities and sexual orientations, including people 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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