View Our Website View All Jobs

Counsel, Justice Program

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 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 analyses and advance innovative policy solutions to advance this goal. 

Position: The Justice Program is seeking a mid-level to senior Counsel to join a cutting-edge team that is part of a 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 Counsel will lead an interdisciplinary team working to produce data-driven statistical and economic analyses published as seminal Brennan Center studies. Topics include causes and trends in national crime rates, and quantifying the economic and societal harms of mass incarceration. The Counsel will supervise an economist and a research associate, and work closely with other attorneys, a communications team, and the Brennan Center’s Economic Advisory Board, with strategic direction from the Justice Program’s Director. 

The Counsel will be the primary author of groundbreaking data-driven reports; ensure that the empirical methodology behind these reports reflects the realities and complexities of the criminal justice system; and translate and simplify methodology and findings into prose accessible to the broader public. This position will report to the Director of the Justice Program. 

Responsibilities will include: 

  • Writing and co-authoring reports that blend law and data analysis to further core Justice Program goals, including translating the work of researchers into accessible prose for the general public. 
  • Reviewing methodology of researchers for accuracy and substantive depth; receiving and implementing substantive input and language edits from the Economic Advisory Board and Brennan Center leadership. 
  • Managing reports from start to finish including: development of concept, research, writing, editing, rollout, media, and advocacy; at each step directly supervising team members and laterally managing staff in other departments. 
  • Working with the Director to devise report ideas, advocacy goals, program plans, and assist with program management responsibilities. 
  • Translating research findings into legal documents including briefs, and legislative and executive agency testimony. 
  • Advancing core program goals through media and communications work, including public speaking engagements, media appearances, and op-eds. 

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have: 

  • A J.D. degree plus 4-8 years of legal experience in a law firm, public policy, government, nonprofit, or private-sector organization. Unique candidates with less experience will be considered. Law firm experience is a plus. 
  • Top notch writing skills, including the ability to succinctly translate complex empirical analyses and complex legal concepts into accessible prose that can be understood by a variety of audiences (including legal, legislative, journalistic, media, and public audiences). 
  • Comfort with and general understanding of numbers and statistics. Undergraduate or graduate degree in economics, statistics, or social science a plus. Experience incorporating data into legal work a plus. 
  • Strong analytic, strategic, and research skills. 
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, ability to multi-task in a fast-pace environment, attention to detail, and ability to meet deadlines. 
  • Strong inter-personal skills. Ability to manage multiple staff members on projects – including the ability to delegate and hold staff accountable, edit and supervise the work of staff, take input from senior leadership, and work respectfully with other colleagues. 
  • Willingness to learn communications and media work. Experience in communications writing is a plus. 
  • A passion for public interest law and a strong work ethic. 

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. 

Applications: The application deadline is July 1, 2018, but applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. To apply, visit and please upload (where it says “attach resume”) the following application materials: cover letter (copy and paste where indicated), 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 Counsel” in the subject line, after registering in the online system. Applying through our website is strongly preferred. 

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.
Read More

Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
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 / 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 1/31/2020
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

Because we do business with the government, we must reach out to, hire, and provide equal opportunity to qualified people with disabilities.i To help us measure how well we are doing, we are asking you to tell us if you have a disability or if you ever had a disability. Completing this form is voluntary, but we hope that you will choose to fill it out. If you are applying for a job, any answer you give will be kept private and will not be used against you in any way.

If you already work for us, your answer will not be used against you in any way. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we are required to ask all of our employees to update their information every five years. You may voluntarily self-identify as having a disability on this form without fear of any punishment because you did not identify as having a disability earlier.

How do I know if I 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:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair
  • Intellectual disability (previously called mental retardation)
Please check one of the boxes below:

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

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities. Please tell us if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for a job or to perform your job. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making a change to the application process or work procedures, providing documents in an alternate format, using a sign language interpreter, or using specialized equipment.

iSection 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of Federal contractors, visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at

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.