Research Associate, Justice Program

New York, NY
Full Time
Entry Level

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the 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. The Brennan 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 aims to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all” by tackling racial disparities and economic injustice, promoting a dignity-centered approach to crime and punishment, and creating a rational, effective, and fair justice system. Its priority focus is to reform the criminal legal system to shrink reliance on mass incarceration and mitigate its pernicious effects.

Position: The Justice Program is seeking a full-time Research Associate (RA) to join a cutting edge inter-disciplinary team working to create innovative, data-driven solutions to end mass incarceration and support new, holistic solutions to public safety that put communities first. The Research Associate will conduct research and policy advocacy for Program initiatives, working with attorneys and associates, and reporting to a Senior Research Fellow. Some projects in the near term will include: a mixed methods study examining the misdemeanor enforcement apparatus, examining racial inequities and helping to develop community-based approaches with the engagement of impacted communities; and work to understand the trends, root causes, and structural solutions to crime, as well as alternatives to enforcement (e.g., policing, prosecution, and incarceration). 

Reporting directly to the Senior Research Fellow, the Research Associate will provide quantitative research and analysis for these projects; support the writing and editing of reports that present these findings; assist with the release of reports, including organizing events and reporting back to stakeholders. The ideal candidate will be person with two to five years of relevant work experience and data programming skills required. Graduate degrees are preferred. The candidate is committed to rigorous mixed methods research that informs policy and legislation by centering impacted communities. The candidate seeks to work effectively across stakeholders so that solutions address the harms of the criminal legal system

Note: This is a hybrid position.  Staff are currently working from home 2 days a week. This position is based in New York City.  


  • Provide quantitative research and support, including: locating, collecting, and cleaning data related to the criminal legal system; managing large datasets documentation; analyzing data using statistical programs (such as R, Stata, or GIS); and helping draft and refine research findings and methodologies for reports and public forums. 
  • Provide qualitative research and support, such as: helping develop protocols; conducting or co-facilitating interviews and focus groups; analyzing qualitative data; and helping draft and refine research findings and methodologies for reports and public forums. 
  • Provide research, drafting, and fact-checking support for research reports, quantitative and qualitative analyses, proposed legislation, and advocacy work.
  • Assist with the rollout of these reports, including: writing and research for briefs and opinion pieces, managing communications to high-level stakeholders, helping prepare and schedule, and co-lead presentations, and helping organize major events.


  • Bachelor’s Degree required. Candidates with two years of applied data and research experience, or candidates with a Master’s Degree will be given full consideration.
  • Working knowledge of a data processing programs, such as R or Stata required; familiarity with R or Stata specifically is preferred.
  • Mixed-methods experience, lived experience, participatory research, sociology, demography, public health, public policy, criminology, or statistics are a plus. 
  • Ability to think creatively about how to obtain data, analyze and contextualize it, and persuasively present data stories and solutions to an audience. 
  • Strong statistical and quantitative skills, and the ability to quickly conduct research and obtain hard to find data and information, and creativity and perseverance in those tasks. 
  • Strong writing skills, including the ability to succinctly translate legal and quantitative terms into accessible prose for a general audience.
  • Excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, self-reliance, and strong work ethic.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and understanding of racial justice.  
  • Experience in community engagement, qualitative skills, and the ability to engage with a range of stakeholders, within system and especially with communities most impacted by disinvestment, concentrated poverty, and the criminal legal system a plus.


The Brennan Center is committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.  We continuously work with our staff to find new ways to increase diversity and to build and cultivate an inclusive and equitable work environment, where everyone can be their true-self and feel a strong sense of belonging.  As such, we seek to hire employees who have a commitment to and/or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In addition, we expect employees to participate/contribute with DEI initiatives or activities with recruitment, retention, and workplace culture.


Applications: The application deadline is July 1, 2022, but applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. To apply, visit Please upload as one document the following application materials: cover letter, resume, writing sample (up to 10 pages), a data coding syntax sample (up to 2 pages), and contact information for three references. If applicable, please include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples.  Please, no phone calls or faxes.  Please identify where you saw this ad - it is strongly preferred that you apply on our website.

If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Research Associate, Justice Program” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.


Compensation and Benefits:

The salary range assigned for this position is $56,000 - $65,000. We determine our salary ranges based on market competitiveness and internal equity for each job. The salary offered a selected candidate will be contingent upon the candidate’s qualifications and internal equity considerations.  Additionally, we offer a very robust and competitive array of benefits such as a generous time off program, 401k plan, comprehensive health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), and wellness and office perks.

In addition, this position is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW local 2320.

Note: The Brennan Center is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and visitors.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees working in the New York and Washington, DC offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including having a booster, or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption.

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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