Counsel, Democracy Program

New York, NY, USA
Posted on  

Job Description

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. Among our core priorities, we fight to protect voting rights, end mass incarceration, strengthen checks and balances, and preserve 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, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. 


The fight for a more secure, responsive, and equitable democracy has never been more urgent. The Brennan Center seeks a talented attorney to join its team in the Democracy Program, working on a range of issues related to voting rights and elections, redistricting and representation, money in politics, and abuse of power.    

This position will work under the supervision of and in close collaboration with a senior attorney who works on litigation initiatives across the Democracy Program. At the outset, the position will focus primarily on appellate and trial litigation and related advocacy and writing. Other work may include legislative and policy advocacy, legal and empirical research, media communications, and public education, based on interest and the Democracy Program’s needs. 

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 New York City or Washington, D.C. It will require occasional travel as well.  

Responsibilities Include 

  • Participating in litigation, including fact and legal research, motion and brief writing, and strategy development, with team members, allied organizations, and/or pro bono law firm counsel. 
  • Assisting with the development and execution of amicus campaigns, including engaging with experts and scholars and coordinating with other organizations and pro bono partners. 
  • Developing legal strategies to address emerging issues, including identifying areas where empirical or other research is needed. 
  • Producing legal, academic, or empirical research and writing relevant to litigation or advocacy strategies. 
  • Writing and speaking for a general, non-legal audience, including potentially authoring publications and opinion pieces, speaking with the media, and participating in conferences and other public appearances. 
  • Contributing to productive and collegial work within the team and across departments, including administration, recruitment, communications, and development. 
  • Taking on special projects and other duties as assigned. 


Required: The position requires a J.D. 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. 

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. 

  • A minimum of three years’ legal work experience, including any clerkships. 
  • Excellent legal research, writing, and analytic skills. 
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize effectively in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.  
  • Experience with trial and/or appellate litigation, including anticipating and handling the day-to-day needs of litigation or advocacy campaigns. 
  • A creative, problem-solving mindset with demonstrated ability to turn ideas into products or actions. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to collaborate productively with diverse stakeholders both inside and outside the organization.  
  • Familiarity with administrative law, civil rights law, and/or federal civil litigation. 
  • Comfort working with social science research and experts. 
  • Experience working with civil rights, immigrant rights, or good government organizations, or community-based groups in a legal or non-legal capacity. 
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • A growth mindset that seeks and applies constructive 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. 

Application Instructions 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested applicants to apply early, as the position will be filled once a qualified candidate is found. To apply, visit >>LINK HERE<<. Please upload the following documents: (1) a cover letter, (2) resume, (3) two writing samples (up to 10 pages), 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: with “Counsel, Democracy 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 $110,200 - $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.