View Our Website View All Jobs

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.


  • 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:  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: 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.
Read More

Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
We've received your resume. Click here to update it.
Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or Paste resume

Paste your resume here or Attach resume file

To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity and/or Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.

Invitation for Job Applicants to Self-Identify as a U.S. Veteran
  • A “disabled veteran” is one of the following:
    • a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or
    • a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
  • A “recently separated veteran” means any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service.
  • An “active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran” means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.
  • An “Armed forces service medal veteran” means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.
Veteran status

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability
Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability Form CC-305
OMB Control Number 1250-0005
Expires 5/31/2023
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

We are a federal contractor or subcontractor required by law to provide equal employment opportunity to qualified people with disabilities. We are also required to measure our progress toward having at least 7% of our workforce be individuals with disabilities. To do this, we must ask applicants and employees if they have a disability or have ever had a disability. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we ask all of our employees to update their information at least every five years.

Identifying yourself as an individual with a disability is voluntary, and we hope that you will choose to do so. Your answer will be maintained confidentially and not be seen by selecting officials or anyone else involved in making personnel decisions. Completing the form will not negatively impact you in any way, regardless of whether you have self-identified in the past. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of federal contractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at

How do you know if you have a disability?

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disorder, for example, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS
  • Blind or low vision
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, Crohn's Disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intellectual disability
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Nervous system condition for example, migraine headaches, Parkinson's disease, or Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Psychiatric condition, for example, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or major depression
Please check one of the boxes below:

PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENT: According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.

You must enter your name and date
Your Name Today's Date