Research Associate - Democracy, NY

  • New York, NY
  • Full Time
  • Entry Level

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the 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 Democracy Program works to ensure that all Americans have an equal voice in our elections and that our government advances the public interest and upholds the rule of law. We lead national efforts to ensure that citizens — not special interests or partisan operatives — are at the center of our politics. The Democracy Program brings national perspective and expertise in the fight to protect and promote voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting integrity, election security, fair courts, and a First Amendment jurisprudence that puts the rights of citizens — not special interests — at the center of our democracy. The Program collaborates with grassroots groups, advocacy organizations, and reform-minded government officials to promote policies that eliminate barriers to full and equal political participation. 


The Brennan Center seeks two full-time Research Associates to work in the Democracy Program’s Research Team in our New York City office. This is an entry-level position that will report directly to the senior researchers. This position could be ideal for the following: a person committed to rigorous research that informs policy and legislation, a person who seeks to work effectively across stakeholders to ensure research is translated into improving democracy and justice, and/or a person considering applying for PhD programs in the future

Note: This is a hybrid position. Staff are currently working from home 2 days a week. This position is based in New York City. 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Conducting empirical research and data analysis.
  • Collecting and cleaning raw data from a wide variety of sources.
  • Managing public records requests and other data pipelines.
  • Drafting and editing publications, reports, academic journal articles, and other public communications.
  • Working with researchers, attorneys, communications and development professionals, editors, allies, clients, other Brennan Center staff, and organizational leadership. 


  • Bachelor’s Degree required. Candidates with two years of applied data and research experience, or candidates with a Master’s Degree will be given full consideration.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and understanding of racial justice. 
  • Working knowledge of a command-line program such as Python, R, or Stata required; familiarity with R or Stata specifically is preferred.
  • Familiarity with Excel is required.
  • Familiarity with spatial data programs such as ArcMap or QGIS preferred.
  • Experience working for government or political campaigns and/or policy experience is a plus, but not required. 
  • Knowledge, skills, experience, and/or interest that is in alignment with the mission and advocacy approach of the Brennan Center. A strong entrepreneurial spirit, a can-do attitude, and a passion for the work of the Center is also critical.
  • Exceptional writing skills and excellent analytic, strategic, research and organizational skills. 
  • The ability to work effectively in a team-based and deadline-driven environment and a talent for juggling multiple priorities. 
  • Openness to receiving and implementing constructive feedback, and sharing ideas and feedback, as well. 
  • Creativity in researching tough questions and uncovering hard-to-find information. 
  • Strong communications skills and confidence to reach out to and represent the Center with a variety of audiences, including allies, public officials, reporters, and members of the public. 

The Brennan Center is committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.  We continuously work with our staff to find new ways to increase diversity and to build and cultivate an inclusive and equitable work environment, where everyone can be their true-self and feel a strong sense of belonging.  As such, we seek to hire employees who have a commitment to and/or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion.  In addition, we expect employees to participate/contribute with DEI initiatives or activities with recruitment, retention, and workplace culture.

Salary: The salary is highly competitive in the field and commensurate with experience.

To Apply: To apply, please visit and upload a cover letter, resume, coding sample, and contact information for three references. The coding sample (syntax) should be basic, about 1-2 pages with examples of typical data cleaning and coding, as well as analyses you have run. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified. We prefer applications to be submitted through our website.  If you have difficulty uploading these items as one document, e-mail them to with “Research Associate – Democracy, NY” in the subject line.

Note: The Brennan Center is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues and visitors.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees working in the New York and Washington, DC offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including having a booster, or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption.

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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