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Counsel/Senior Counsel, Liberty and National Security Program

Posted Feb 06
Full Time
HybridNew York, New York

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve 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 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 ending racial, religious, and ethnic profiling in counterterrorism policies; bolstering protections for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties in the digital age; promoting targeted and effective responses to far-right violence; enhancing transparency, oversight, and accountability for intelligence and law enforcement agencies; ensuring that Congress and the courts serve their constitutional role as a check on executive power in the area of national security; and reforming emergency powers to strengthen safeguards against abuse. 

The Brennan Center seeks a senior attorney for its Liberty and National Security Program to work primarily on issues related to artificial intelligence (AI), particularly with regard to national security, intelligence, and law enforcement programs and agencies. The attorney will report to the Senior Director of the program and work with her to develop and execute a roster of projects that promote fairness, civil rights and civil liberties, transparency, and accountability in government programs that use AI. The attorney will supervise and work in collaboration with other staff in the program. 

Note: The Brennan Center operates on a hybrid schedule, with employees currently required to work in the office a minimum of three days per week. The schedule and number of in-office required days is subject to change. It will require periodic travel, including to Washington, D.C.  

Responsibilities will include: 

  • Developing and managing projects that promote transparency and accountability in government use of AI and proposing ways to promote fairness and protect against bias.  

  • Supervising legal and policy research and analysis and the production of written reports and other public education materials. 

  • Leading team responses and comments to executive branch and legislative AI proposals. 

  • Contributing relevant technical expertise to support the program’s work.  

  • Writing and speaking to legal and non-legal audiences, including through opinion pieces and public appearances.  

  • Supervising and mentoring junior staff in the program. 

  • Taking on other work as requested.  

Required. A J.D. degree or equivalent and admission to the NY Bar is required, as well as a minimum of six years’ legal experience with a preference for eight or more years (including clerkship).  If you are admitted to a Bar other than NY, you must be able to be admitted to the NY Bar within 6 months of hire. 

The ideal candidate will have: 

  • Worked on research and advocacy on a substantial range of AI issues; relevant experience may be in areas outside the national security, intelligence, and law enforcement context. 

  • Experience working on tech-related laws and regulation in the US, Europe, and other jurisdictions.  

  • Proven track record of writing for multiple audiences. 

  • 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. 

  • Familiarity with the technical components of machine learning and other forms of algorithmic decision-making and experience working on interdisciplinary projects with technologists and experts from other fields would be an asset for this position, but is not a requirement. 

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 Process: 
To apply, please visit >>HERE<< and 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.  No phone calls or faxes. Please reference where you saw this posting. Applications without all listed materials will not be considered.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified.  We prefer applications be submitted through our website. If you have difficulty uploading these items, email with “LNS AI Counsel” in the subject line.   

Compensation and Benefits:  
This is a scaled position. The salary assigned for the scale is $133,000 - $185,800 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, 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.