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Research and Program Associate, 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. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from reducing mass incarceration to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution – part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group, part communications hub – the Brennan Center seeks meaningful, measurable change in the systems by which our nation is governed.

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to improve our criminal justice system, with a focus on ending mass incarceration while keeping the country safe. The program blends law, policy, and economics to produce new empirical analyses and innovative policy solutions to advance this goal.

Position: The Brennan Center’s Justice Program is seeking a full-time Research & Program Associate (RPA) to join an inter-disciplinary team of lawyers, social scientists, and researchers working to end mass incarceration in the United States. The RPA will provide research, drafting, and administrative support to program staff on a major project: coordinating a group of law enforcement officials advocating for criminal justice reform. The group unites nearly 200 current and former law enforcement officials from all fifty states to urge changes to federal, state, and local laws and practices that more effectively fight crime while reducing unnecessary imprisonment. The ideal candidate will be a recent college graduate considering a career in law or public policy, and seeking to develop the writing and research ability, attention to detail, and execution skills essential to future professional success.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Providing legal and factual research, drafting, editing, and fact-checking for reports, op-eds, sign-on letters, legislative testimony, speeches, media interviews, newsletters, research memoranda, and other group documents.
  • Performing a wide range of administrative, database, paralegal, and website administration tasks.
  • Communicating and working with law enforcement, lawyers, allies, and stakeholders in the field.
  • Managing multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment.
  • Assisting with organizing and staffing annual group events, including inviting speakers, drafting remarks, securing attendance, and coordinating travel arrangements and member reimbursements.
  • Overtime (compensated at 1 ½ times the regular hourly rate) may be required to meet important deadlines.
  • At least 50% of the Research & Program Associate’s time may be spent on administrative tasks, depending on program priorities.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A bachelor’s degree. Coursework or internships in law, public policy, criminal justice, journalism, or writing is a plus. (Lawyers and individuals with advanced degrees will not be considered.)
  • 1-2 years of experience in public policy or legal environment preferred.
  • Strong research skills, including: ability to quickly conduct research; creativity and perseverance in finding data and information; and ability to understand criminal justice legislation and policies.
  • Strong writing skills including the ability to succinctly translate jargon into accessible prose for lay audiences.
  • Excellent organizational skills, ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment to meet deadlines, attention to detail, and willingness to work overtime near deadlines.
  • An understanding of the value of administrative tasks.
  • Energy, internal motivation, self-reliance, commitment to high quality work, and a sense of humor and positive attitude.
  • Strong inter-personal skills and ability to engage with law enforcement, allies, and teammates. An understanding of and respect for the role of law enforcement in criminal justice reform efforts.

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.

Applications: The application deadline is April 15, 2017 but applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. We encourage applicants to submit their applications early. The anticipated starting date for this position is approximately July 1, 2017, and a firm two-year commitment is required. To apply, please upload (where it says “attach resume”) as one document the following application materials: cover letter, resume, writing sample (up to 10 pages), and contact information for three references. Please include Internet hyperlinks to writing samples where available. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Justice Research & Program Associate” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

The Brennan Center, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, and applicants who have been previously incarcerated.

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