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Researcher, Justice Program

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on improving the systems of democracy and justice. A singular institution – part think-tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the Brennan Center combines research, scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks 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 unwind, and alleviate the harms of, mass incarceration. The program melds law, policy, and economics to produce new empirical analyses and innovative policy solutions to advance this critical goal.

Position: The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law focuses on data-driven and interdisciplinary research to inform its legal and policy recommendations to reform our criminal legal system. The Brennan Center is seeking a Researcher to work in the Justice Program. The researcher will be a thought partner that works alongside Justice Program attorneys on the Brennan Center’s public advocacy and research initiatives. The researcher is expected to serve as the principal investigator on upcoming quantitative and qualitative research projects aimed at better understanding the operation and impact of the criminal legal system—including an upcoming project on misdemeanor adjudication. Such research is intended to stimulate innovative policy and practice solutions to reduce the footprint of mass incarceration. The researcher will provide the theory and statistical analyses as part of this process and will be expected to write and execute data-driven reports, in collaboration with attorneys, Communications staff, and the leadership of the organization.

In addition to the above, the Researcher will both execute research projects that the Director and Managing Director of the Justice Program propose in addition to developing original research ideas and managing multiple, complex research projects to completion. The researcher will utilize sophisticated modeling and research design to execute program initiatives. This position will be based in New York City and will report to the Managing Director, Justice Program.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Conducting literature reviews and distilling key findings into memos;
  • Developing study designs.
  • Building and maintaining datasets;
  • Co-authoring reports with attorneys and managing such reports to completion, including: public release and rollout of reports, managing edits from peer reviewers and organizational leadership, meeting with advocates, speaking at congressional briefings and national conferences, speaking to reporters, and attending meetings with government officials.
  • Leading quantitative sections of policy reports, and devising innovative policy recommendations and report ideas with a sound basis in criminology or criminal justice theory with input from staff.
  • Distilling complex theoretical concepts, or quantitative analyses to staff from other disciplines.
  • Conducting research for legislative and executive agency testimony, legal briefs, and other Brennan Center documents.
  • Creating engaging and accessible formats to present research conclusions for reports and other publications through public speaking engagements, media appearances, op-eds, attending academic conferences, and engaging the academic community at NYU.

Qualifications:

  • Ph.D., Ph.D. candidate, or master’s in social science, public policy, law and society, or related interdisciplinary field
  • Experience and recognized expertise in developing and leading applied research on the criminal legal systems. Candidates should be comfortable engaging in primary and secondary research, interpreting data, and performing original empirical analyses.
  • Fluency with data science techniques, and experience using R, Stata, or another comparable data analysis program. Strong background with Excel.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including proven ability to work effectively with a team and work collaboratively with editors, other staff, and outside peer reviewers.
  • Ability and interest in communicating research findings to broad range of audiences, including policymakers, practitioners, journalists, community-based groups and members of the public.
  • Experience in using research and analysis to address issues of racism and inequity in the criminal legal system is preferred but not required.

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.

Application instructions: Please visit: https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/apply/OWSXb5HVyp/Researcher-Justice-Program.  Please upload as one document (where it says “attach resume”) the following application materials: resume, cover letter, a writing sample (up to 10 pages), and contact information for three references. If applicable, include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples. Please, no phone calls or faxes. Also, 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: brennancenterjobs@nyu.edu with “Researcher, Justice Program” in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

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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