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 court 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 legal arguments. And we fight for them—in the courts, in Congress and the states, and in the court of public opinion.
The Brennan Center seeks a talented attorney with a passion for legal and historical scholarship to join our Democracy Program. The attorney will focus primarily on the Democracy Program’s growing work with historians and legal scholars to combat the use of originalism in judicial decision making, helping to lead a cross-disciplinary campaign to critique abuses of history in the courts and deploy history to promote court decisions that better protect democracy and constitutional rights. To support this work, the attorney will build a community of historians, litigators, legal scholars, and others; publish related research, amicus briefs, and popular writing; and create advocacy strategies. The work will be part of a major Brennan Center strategic initiative to counter originalism and the United States Supreme Court’s radicalization.
The attorney’s secondary focus will be on one or more legal strategy projects managed by Democracy Program principals, involving the federal courts, elections, and other cutting-edge democracy and constitutional law issues.
Note: This is a hybrid position. Staff are currently working in the office 3 days a week. The position is based at our headquarters in New York City and may require occasional travel.
Responsibilities may include:
- Engaging in legal and historical research and drafting reports, strategy memoranda, and legal scholarship.
- Building networks of historians, litigators, and other relevant subject-matter experts (work that includes organizing convenings, legal strategy meetings, and academic symposia).
- Tracking litigation, analyzing opinions, and coordinating or filing amicus briefs in key cases.
- Counseling civil rights groups, good government organizations, government officials, and law firms on litigation strategy in cases with significant historical dimensions.
- Advancing organizational goals through media and public communications, including opinion pieces, blog posts, media appearances, and participation in conferences.
- Managing junior staff and contributing to productive and collegial work within the team and across departments, including administration, recruitment, communications, and development.
Required. The position requires a J.D. and admission to the New York State bar (or admission within one year of being hired).
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. We hope that you will apply if you believe you could excel in our organization and our project.
- A minimum of four years of legal experience, including clerkships. Both mid- and senior-level candidates are encouraged to apply.
- Experience working with historians or other scholars and academic literature. An academic background in history (undergraduate or graduate) is a plus.
- Experience working on cross-disciplinary projects with experts from other fields.
- Excellent legal research and analysis skills.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including a strong ability and desire to write for legal, academic, and public audiences.
- A creative, problem-solving mindset with demonstrated ability to turn ideas into products or actions.
- Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize and delegate effectively in a fast-paced environment.
- A commitment to racial equity.
- Strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to work with diverse constituencies both inside and outside the organization, and openness to feedback.
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.
Position Start Date: Spring-Summer 2023
Application: To apply, please visit [this link] and upload the following documents: (1) a cover letter, (2) resume, (3) one writing sample (up to 10 pages), and (4) contact information for three references. If applicable, include Internet hyperlinks to authored writing samples. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “Counsel/Senior Counsel, Democracy Program” in the subject line.
Compensation and Benefits:
This is a scaled position. The salary range assigned for the scale is $104,000 - $176,001 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 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.