Policy Associate, Law Enforcement Leaders/Justice Program

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 Justice Program aims 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 shrink reliance on mass incarceration and mitigate its pernicious effects.  

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, corrections directors, federal and state prosecutors, and attorneys general from all 50 states. The group’s mission is to reduce both crime and incarceration. 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 vocally 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 in line with this mission at the federal and state level. 

Position: The Justice Program is seeking a full-time Policy Associate (PA) to join a cutting-edge, inter-disciplinary team working to create innovative, data-driven solutions to end mass incarceration and support the day-to-day work of LEL. This is a signal moment in criminal justice reform. Crime and punishment are front and center in the national political debate. Leaders from 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 Policy Associate will also contribute to other projects for the Justice Program as needed. 

The Policy Associate will support the advocacy, research, communications, and administrative functions of LEL. This position is intended for individuals interested in policy development who are also committed to reform of the criminal justice system. Through substantive policy engagement, the position provides an outstanding opportunity for skill growth in communications, writing, research, project management and advocacy. The candidate will join a thriving organization at the heart of the fight for democracy and justice. The Center’s culture is intellectually stimulating and collegial, committed to fostering the professional development of its employees.  

Note: This is a hybrid position. Staff are currently working remotely 2 days a week. This position is based in New York, N.Y. 


  • Research and draft memoranda, talking points, public remarks, and other materials to advance LEL and the Justice Program’s policy objectives. 

  • Monitor legislation, hearings, and other developments in relevant issue areas. 

  • Work with coalition partners and other external stakeholders under supervision of other LEL and Justice Program staff. 

  • Develop and maintain systems for tracking LEL meetings and correspondence with federal and state-level partners and representatives, including members of Congress, the Administration, and federal advocates and advocates and representatives for specific state campaigns. 

  • Support LEL-focused communications work, including maintaining selected pages on the Brennan Center’s website related to its federal and state-based advocacy. 

  • Provide research and administrative/logistical support for meetings with current or former law enforcement officials, advocacy group leaders as well as committee testimony, Hill briefings and other public events, and high-level meetings. 

  • Other projects and duties as assigned. 


  • Bachelor’s Degree and at least one year of relevant work experience are required. Candidates with a Master’s or other post-graduate degree, and three to five years relevant work experience, or the equivalent, preferably with experience working with law enforcement to support the larger justice reform movement, will be given full consideration. 

  • Strong writing and research skills, including the ability to succinctly translate technical information into accessible prose for a general audience. 

  • Excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, self-reliance, and strong work ethic. 

  • Drive and ability to take initiative, anticipate needs and solve problems, and complete tasks and projects with a high degree of focus and independence.  

  • Ability to manage time and successfully multi-task in a deadline-driven environment. 

  • Knowledge of criminal justice system-related policies and current political landscape, or willingness to learn both. 

  • Openness to receiving and implementing feedback, and to accepting direction from organizational management. 

  • Proficiency in MS Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

  • Demonstrated commitment to and understanding of racial justice.   

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. 

Applications: Applicants will be interviewed on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.  We hope to expeditiously move through the recruitment process; therefore, we strongly encourage interested applicants to apply early. The earliest start date is July 1, 2023. To apply, visit https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/apply/chiM1SEEji/Policy-Associate-Law-Enforcement-LeadersJustice-Program. Please upload each of the following application materials separately: cover letter, resume, writing sample (up to 10 pages), and contact information for three references. If applicable, include internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples.  If applicable, please include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples.   

Please, no phone calls or faxes.  Please 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: brennancenterjobs@nyu.edu with “Policy Associate, LEL/Justice Program” in the subject line, after registering in the online system. 

Compensation and Benefits: 

The salary range assigned for this position is $57,000-$67,000 and has been determined based on market competitiveness. 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 applicants with disabilities and applicants of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic identities, sexual orientations, and national origin or citizenship, including people who have been previously incarcerated;
  • Hires diverse candidates and works to improve our recruitment practices to allow for such
  • 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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