Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program

Washington, DC
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 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 census protection, 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 the courts, in Congress and the states, and the court of public opinion. 

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; reforming emergency powers to strengthen safeguards against abuse; ending racial, religious, and ethnic profiling in counterterrorism policies; bolstering First and Fourth Amendment protections in the digital age; promoting targeted and effective responses to far-right violence; and enhancing transparency, oversight, and accountability for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. 

Position: 
The Brennan Center seeks an attorney for its Liberty and National Security Program. The attorney will focus primarily on (1) the Program’s efforts to bolster the role of Congress as a check against executive overreach in the area of emergency powers, and (2) reform of government surveillance practices. 


Note: Brennan Center employees adhere to a hybrid schedule that is subject to change, with employees currently required to work in the office a minimum of three days per week, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. While most employees follow this in-person schedule, there may be some positions that require additional in-office days. This position is based in Washington, D.C. It will require occasional travel to our New York City office and other locations as well.   

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 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 research/program associates and interns on projects. 
     

Qualifications: 
Required. A J.D. degree and admission to the bar of the office where the employee is based. If you are admitted to a Bar for a state other than the office where you are located, you must be eligible to practice or apply for admission to that state’s Bar within 6 months of hire. A minimum of two years’ legal experience is required (which may include clerkships). 

Ideal. The ideal candidate will have some combination of the following experiences and qualifications. 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’ relevant experience as an attorney. 

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

  • Outstanding 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, national security, and/or human rights law; legislative advocacy (or other legislative experience); and litigation. 
     

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.  

Application Instructions   
Applications are due by July 19, but earlier applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, visit >>LINK HERE<<.  Please upload the following documents: (1) a cover letter, (2) resume, (3) two writing samples (up to 10 pages each), and (4) contact information for three references. If applicable, include internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples.       

Please, no phone calls or faxes; 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: [email protected] with “Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program” 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 $101,000 - $139,100 and has been determined based on market competitiveness. Each salary in the scale is determined by the number of years of professional experience after the selected candidate graduated from law school. 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.
Share

Apply for this position

Required*
Apply with Indeed
We've received your resume. Click here to update it.
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 and/or 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 04/30/2026
Why are you being asked to complete this form?

We are a federal contractor or subcontractor. The law requires us to provide equal employment opportunity to qualified people with disabilities. We have a goal of having at least 7% of our workers as people with disabilities. The law says we must measure our progress towards this goal. To do this, we must ask applicants and employees if they have a disability or have ever had one. People can become disabled, so we need to ask this question at least every five years.

Completing this form is voluntary, and we hope that you will choose to do so. Your answer is confidential. No one who makes hiring decisions will see it. Your decision to complete the form and your answer will not harm you in any way. If you want to learn more about the law or this form, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at www.dol.gov/ofccp.

How do you know if you have a disability?

A disability is a condition that substantially limits one or more of your “major life activities.” If you have or have ever had such a condition, you are a person with a disability. Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol or other substance use disorder (not currently using drugs illegally)
  • Autoimmune disorder, for example, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS
  • Blind or low vision
  • Cancer (past or present)
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or serious difficulty hearing
  • Diabetes
  • Disfigurement, for example, disfigurement caused by burns, wounds, accidents, or congenital disorders
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, Crohn's Disease, irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intellectual or developmental disability
  • Mental health conditions, for example, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Mobility impairment, benefiting from the use of a wheelchair, scooter, walker, leg brace(s) and/or other supports
  • Nervous system condition, for example, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neurodivergence, for example, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, other learning disabilities
  • Partial or complete paralysis (any cause)
  • Pulmonary or respiratory conditions, for example, tuberculosis, asthma, emphysema
  • Short stature (dwarfism)
  • Traumatic brain injury
Please check one of the boxes below:

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.

You must enter your name and date
Human Check*