Counsel, Elections and Government Program (Research and Policy)

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 Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program works to improve the administration of our elections so that they are free, fair, and accessible for all voters; reform campaign finance and amplify the voices of everyday people in politics; combat election disinformation and political violence that often disproportionately harm voters, election workers, and candidates of color and other political minorities; and put forward solutions to ensure that government institutions have the capacity to meet contemporary challenges, among other goals. This work aims to bring the ideal of representative self-government closer to reality by eliminating barriers to full and equal political participation, countering racial and other discrimination in our electoral and political systems, and striving to ensure that public policy and institutions are effective and reflect the diverse voices and interests that make for a rich democracy.

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 Elections and Government Program, working primarily on empirical research and policy advocacy around campaign finance and related money in politics issues (for examples of the type of work this position would do, please see here, here, and here), with opportunities to work on a range of other matters that are the focus of the program’s work.

The Brennan Center’s methods include legislative and policy advocacy, legal and empirical research and writing, litigation, media communications, and public education. This is an in-person position based in New York City or Washington, D.C. It will require occasional travel.

This position will report to the directors of the Elections and Government program, and work under the supervision/in close collaboration with a senior attorney who leads campaign finance research initiatives.

Note: Brennan Center employees adhere to a hybrid schedule that is subject to change, with most employees currently working in the office a minimum of three days per week. This position is intended to be based in New York City, but working out of our Washington, D.C. office may be possible depending on a candidate’s level of seniority and qualifications.  It will require occasional travel.

Responsibilities Include

Designing and executing empirical research projects involving campaign finance and similar data, in collaboration with social scientists and other researchers.

Advocacy, sometimes through work in coalitions, to change policies and laws at the local, state, and federal levels.
Authoring and otherwise supporting the preparation of written work (including articles, opinion pieces, speeches, reports, policy proposals, and organizational materials), with opportunities for named authorship.

Public speaking and other representation of the Brennan Center in meetings and other interactions with external stakeholders, including government officials, allies, donors, and the media.

Legal strategy, research, and writing.
Helping to supervise and mentor junior lawyers, program associates, and legal and undergraduate interns.

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 ). This position is open to applicants who are recent law school graduates, judicial law clerks, and others with 2-5 years of post-law school experience.  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 waiver 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.

Experience conducting social science research and comfort working with experts in the field.

A creative, problem-solving mindset, with demonstrated ability to turn ideas into products or actions.

Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize effectively in a fast-paced environment.

Desire and ability to write for a variety of audiences, including the general public.

Strong interpersonal skills and sound judgment, including the ability to collaborate productively with diverse stakeholders both inside and outside the organization.

Excellent legal research and analysis skills.

Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A growth mindset that seeks and applies constructive feedback.

Full-time work experience in any field prior to or during law school is a plus.

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, Elections and Government Program (Research & Policy)” 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 – $127,000 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 undergraduate 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.

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