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Associate Counsel for Democracy & Justice

Employer
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
Location
New Jersey, United States
Salary
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
May 17, 2022

View more

Position Type
Programs, Government Relations and Advocacy
Fields
Advocacy, Research
Employment Type
Full Time
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Established over two decades ago by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein, the Institute undertakes dynamic and independent advocacy aimed at toppling load-bearing walls of structural racial inequality to create just, vibrant, and healthy urban communities of color. 

The Institute employs a broad range of advocacy tools to advance our ambitious racial and social justice agenda, including research, analysis and writing, public education, grassroots organizing, communications, development of pilot programs, legislative strategies and litigation.

As was the case at our founding, this moment calls for racial and social justice advocacy inspired by the fierce urgency of now. In recent years, Jim Crow-like voter suppression has swept across America. The time is now for not only meaningful voting reform, but to also evaluate how we can transform civic engagement and expand democracy in New Jersey.

We continue to serve as a leading voice in designing, advocating for and implementing solutions to the systemic racism that has pervaded the Garden State and our nation.

To answer this mighty charge, the Institute advocates for unapologetically progressive and reparative systems that build wealth in urban communities, transform youth justice and build democratic power.

Using a holistic approach to address the unique and critical issues facing New Jersey’s urban communities of color, the Institute advocates for systemic reform that is at once transformative, achievable in the state and replicable in communities across the nation.

Overview

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the “Institute”) is looking for a sophisticated, creative and dynamic team player to serve as Associate Counsel to advance a program of strategic legal and policy advocacy to expand racial and social justice in New Jersey.

This is an exciting opportunity, at a critical time in our history, to advance racial and social justice on behalf of New Jersey’s urban communities through the Institute’s Democracy and Justice Program.

The Institute’s Democracy & Justice Pillar advocates to build a progressive, policy-driven agenda to protect and expand democracy particularly for people of color in New Jersey; to provide a space for robust discussions with policy makers and elected officials, focused on social justice issues; and prepare voters to realize maximum participation in the next several election cycles and collecting and analyzing data from those elections to identify and offer policy recommendations to address voting barriers.   

Over the coming years, the pillar will work on many initiatives to expand democracy in New Jersey, including but not limited to: restore the vote to incarcerated people; institute same day registration, including on election day; restore the right to serve on a jury for people with criminal convictions; and explore methods to incorporate voting rights into state law as the federal Voting Rights Act is under attack.

The Associate Counsel will conduct research and policy analysis on issues related to democracy and justice in New Jersey and will help develop and conduct advocacy and public education strategies to advance the Institute’s mission to make the promise of democracy real for people of color in the State. 

The Associate Counsel will report to the Institute’s Democracy & Justice Director. 

Our physical office is located in Newark, New Jersey. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, our staff has the option to work from home or to work in our office at a limited capacity until further notice. Once normal office functions and event scheduling resume, the position will require travel throughout the state and occasional travel to national conferences, seminars and events. The position may also require some speaking engagements outside of normal office hours (including on weekends).

 

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Working in partnership with Democracy & Justice Director in supporting and developing proposals and strategies for legislation, regulations and policy initiatives regarding democracy and justice reform.
  • Researching and drafting policy analysis, position papers, reports, legal memoranda, letters, testimony and advocacy materials pertaining to legislation, proposed administrative rules and regulations and government policies and practices affecting the Institute’s democracy and justice programming priorities.
  • Researching and drafting op-eds, online articles, and opinion pieces.
  • Participating in select litigation related to democracy issues in New Jersey, including recommending and analyzing potential lawsuits, drafting and filing court documents, identifying and interacting with clients and working with co-counsel.
  • Attending coalition meetings and symposia and participating in in-depth briefings pertaining to Institute priority issues.
  • Engaging in public speaking, including with the media and at conferences for expert and general audiences.
  • Working in collaboration with Institute attorneys and staff, coalition members, and community partners on issue-based campaigns.
  • Coordinating with campaign/outreach staff to ensure seamless integration of policy research with community outreach efforts.
  • Working with partner organizations and individuals to advance the Institute’s mission, engaging on shared priorities, and exchanging knowledge and information in support of the Institute’s programs and initiatives.
  • Assisting with the integration of litigation, legislative initiatives, policy goals, public education and targeted campaigns.
  • Modeling values of an inclusive and respectful workplace and fostering the same in the staff.
  • Track national, state, and local developments in democracy and voting rights research and

 

Minimum Requirements:

  • Law degree and minimum of three years of experience as a practicing attorney. Clerkship experience is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions and community groups, and to work across political ideology, race, ethnicity, socio-economic circumstances, religion, gender, sexual orientation and religion.
  • Passion for, and knowledge of, racial and social justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the Institute.
  • Strong analytic capabilities and an ability to provide constitutional analysis of legislative and administrative policy.
  • Outstanding legal research, writing and oral communication skills; superior attention to detail; ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously and under pressure; good problem-solving skills and a positive, professional attitude with excellent judgment, flexibility, determination, and grace in a fast-paced office.
  • Impeccable time management skills.
  • Integrity, honesty, and a balanced, non-partisan approach.
  • Ability to work effectively in a collaborative context and participate in teams, including a willingness to circulate widely, communicate openly, listen well and learn from others.
  • Excellent judgment and follow through.
  • Ability to think creatively and develop new and innovative litigation, policy and advocacy strategies.

 

Compensation

This is a full-time, at-will position. Salary is commensurate with experience and includes excellent benefits, including health, dental, and vision, life insurance, Medical Expense Reimbursement Program, travel stipend, a 401(k) plan with an employer contribution, and generous vacation, sick, and holiday leave.

Applications:

Interested individuals should submit the following materials via email to recruitment@njisj.org, as soon as possible.

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Short legal writing sample
  • Names and contact information for three references

Please submit your application materials via Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF.  Include all attachments in a single email stating, in the subject line, Associate Counsel, Democracy & Justice.”  

The position includes competitive salary and benefits and will remain open until filled.

 

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The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to you without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, disability or genetic information.

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