Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program

New York, NY
Full Time
Mid Level

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 Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to census protection, from ending mass incarceration to preserving constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism.  Part think tank, part public interest law center, part cutting-edge communications hub, we are known for our 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. 

Position Overview 

The Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program works to advance effective national security policies that respect the rule of law and constitutional values. Our current program priorities include ensuring that Congress and the courts serve their constitutional role as a check on executive power in the area of national security; bolstering First and Fourth Amendment protections in the digital age; ending racial, religious, and ethnic profiling in counterterrorism policies; enhancing transparency, oversight, and accountability for intelligence and law enforcement agencies; and reforming emergency powers to strengthen safeguards against abuse. 

The Brennan Center seeks an attorney for its Liberty and National Security Program. The position is based in the Brennan Center’s New York City office and requires occasional travel to Washington, D.C. and other locations. The attorney will focus on law enforcement use of surveillance technology and related data, including their impact on communities of color and social justice movements, Fourth and First Amendment protections, and criminalization of access to reproductive care in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

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 will include: 

  • Engaging in legal and policy research and analysis. 

  • Producing written reports and other public education materials. 

  • Participating in communications activities such as public speaking engagements, outreach to media and media appearances, op-eds, blog posts, and participation in conferences. 

  • Conceiving and planning public events and private convenings. 

  • Advancing policy reforms by educating and providing advice to lawmakers, and by working in coalitions and with external stakeholders. 

  • Identifying and conducting interviews with relevant subject matter experts. 

  • Advising officials, advocates, and activists. 

  • Possibly participating in litigation as amicus or counsel. 

  • Supervising junior counsel, research/program associates, and interns on projects. 

  • Contributing to programmatic priorities and strategic planning.  

Qualifications 

Required. A J.D. degree and admission to a bar is required, as well as a minimum of three years’ legal experience (which may include clerkships) and excellent writing skills. 

The ideal candidate will have some combination of the following experiences and qualifications listed below. We recognize that many excellent candidates may not have all these experiences and qualifications and we will provide support for the successful candidate to acquire additional skills.  

  • Three to five years of relevant experience as an attorney.     

  • Excellent writing skills for a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, and public). 

  • Strong research and analytical skills. 

  • Comfort with public speaking. 

  • Ability to work with media. 

  • Ability to work in coalition with other organizations and with diverse constituencies. 

  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to juggle tasks in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. 

  • Strong initiative and ability to work independently, combined with a “team player” mentality. 

  • Good interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to work diplomatically and effectively with others both inside and outside the organization. 

  • Resilience, a sense of humor, and a solutions-oriented outlook. 

  • A background in one or more of the following areas: civil liberties, civil rights, national security, policing, technology, and/or legislative advocacy (or other legislative experience).  

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. We welcome applicants to describe their contributions to DEI values in their cover letter. 

Applications: Applications are due by September 30th, 2022, but earlier applications will be considered on a rolling basis. However, a hire will be made as soon as a qualified candidate is identified.  

To apply, please visit https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/Counsel-Liberty-And-National-Security-Program and upload the following application materials: cover letter, resume, two writing samples (up to 10 pages each), and contact information for three references. Your writing samples should highlight your analytical and/or persuasive skills, but do not need to be a traditional legal memo. Please use your cover letter to highlight your relevant experience, including how your existing experience and skills would enable you to develop some or all of the skills described above. 

If you have difficulty with the online system, you may send your application by e-mail to: brennancenterjobs@nyu.edu with “Counsel, Liberty and National Security-NY” in the subject line, after registering in the online system. 

Compensation and Benefits:

This is a scaled position. The salary range assigned for the scale is $104,856 - $138,173 and has been determined based on market competitiveness. Each salary in the scale is determined by the number of years of professional experience after graduation from law school of the selected candidate.  Additionally, we offer a very robust and competitive array of benefits such as a generous time off program, 401k plan, comprehensive health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), and wellness and office perks.

In addition, this position is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW local 2320. 

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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