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Counsel, Liberty & National Security Program

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. 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 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 countering Islamophobic policies and rhetoric, ensuring that changes to immigration policy undertaken in the name of national security are rational and do not intrude into constitutionally protected spheres, evaluating the use of new surveillance technologies and developing safeguards against their abuse, and reining in overbroad emergency powers and government secrecy. 

Position: The Brennan Center seeks an attorney for its Liberty and National Security Program. The position is based in the Brennan Center’s New York office and requires occasional travel to Washington, D.C. and other locations. 

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. 
  • Taking an active role in coalition-building. 
  • 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: A J.D. degree or equivalent and admission to the bar is required, as well as a minimum of four years’ legal experience (including clerkship). The ideal candidate will have: 

  • Four to six years’ relevant experience. 
  • 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 and/or national security law; issues at the intersection of law and technology, including law enforcement use of surveillance technology; legislative advocacy; and/or litigation, including federal and state freedom of information law requests. 

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

Applications: Applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as exemplary candidates are identified. To apply, visit Please upload the following application materials: cover letter (copy and paste where indicated), resume, two writing samples (up to 10 pages each), and contact information for three references. No phone calls or faxes. Please reference where you saw this posting. 

If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “LNS 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 
  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.
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