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Counsel, 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. The 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, the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. 

The Brennan Center’s Justice Program seeks to improve our criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration while keeping the country safe. The program blends law, policy, and economics to produce new empirical and legal analyses, craft innovative policy solutions, and conduct legislative advocacy and litigation to advance this important goal. 

Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration (“LEL”), a project of the Justice Program, is a nonpartisan national coalition of 200 current and former police chiefs, sheriffs, federal and state prosecutors, and attorneys general from all 50 states. The group’s mission is to reduce both crime and incarceration together. Created in 2015, LEL has become a prominent voice in the growing bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform. The group’s goals are: (1) to clearly communicate to the public, policymakers, and media that law enforcement believes the country can safely reduce incarceration while decreasing crime; and (2) to advocate for reforms to advance this mission at the federal and state level. 

Position: The Justice Program is seeking a mid-level-to-experienced attorney to join a cutting-edge team that is part of national trans-partisan movement to end mass incarceration in the United States. This is a signal moment in criminal justice reform. Crime and punishment are front and center in the national political debate. Leaders across the political spectrum agree on the need for bold solutions, but must adapt their strategies and policies to confront a challenging political environment. 

The Center seeks a Counsel to manage the day-to-day work of LEL. Reporting to the Justice Program Director, the Counsel will: spearhead federal and state legislative campaigns; draft and edit research reports, op-eds, letters, testimony, and press statements on behalf of LEL and individual members; help execute media and communications strategy; and organize and speak at large public events. This position provides an exciting opportunity for experienced public interest lawyers looking for leadership roles, and for attorneys with political campaign and communications experience. The candidate will join a thriving progressive organization at the heart of the fight for democracy and justice. The Center’s culture is intellectually stimulating, collegial, and fosters professional development of its employees. 


  • Lead a four-person team, comprised of a first-year attorney, a research and program associate, communications strategist, and government affairs specialist to achieve LEL’s policy, research, legislative, and media goals. 
  • Develop and execute legislative campaigns for the group, aimed at persuading lawmakers in Congress and key state legislatures, including the following activities: analyzing legislative reforms; writing testimony, letters of support, and op-eds; editing press documents; and spearheading outreach to policymakers and coalition allies. 
  • Research and write reports to advance LEL’s goals and coordinate media and advocacy strategies upon publication. 
  • Creatively work with a communications strategist to: advance major media campaigns to promote efforts of LEL and its members; draft and edit press releases, op-eds, group statements, and newsletters; and coordinate large public media events. 
  • Cultivate strong relationships with current members, recruit new members, and enlist members to serve as spokespeople for the group; and oversee day-to-day operations of the group. 
  • Work closely with the Justice Program director, staff, and law enforcement officials to advance the goal of reducing mass incarceration in a fast-paced and often unpredictable and changing political environment. 


  • J.D. degree plus 5 or more years of work experience. 
  • Strong project management skills, including the ability to manage staff and consultants and take strategic and editing input from senior leadership. 
  • Top notch writing skills, specifically an ability to succinctly translate complex legal concepts and empirical data into accessible prose understandable by media, legislative, and public audiences. 
  • Ability to write from unique, different perspectives, on behalf of LEL and its members. 
  • Ability to multi-task, pay attention to detail, work under pressure, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment. 
  • A strong work ethic and a passion for public interest law. 
  • Knowledge of criminal law and current political landscape, or willingness to learn both. 

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. 

Applications: The application deadline is December 5, 2018, but 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, resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references. If applicable, please include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples. If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: with “Justice Program Counsel” 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

  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities; 

  • 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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