Senior Policy Counsel or Assistant Policy Director

Focus: Policy Advocacy to Promote the Rights and Welfare of Criminal Defendants and Incarcerated Individuals

Terms of Employment:



New York Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY


Senior Policy Counsel: Compensation of NYCLU attorneys is subject to the NYCLU’s attorney set salary scale, which is based on years of legal experience range for this position is between $90,000 and $107,000.


Assistant Policy Director: Subject to the NYCLU’s salary scale for non-attorney positions, this position pays between $90,000 and

$120,000 dependent on the applicant’s experience.


NYCLU has a generous and competitive vacation and benefits package.

Application Deadline:

Applications will be considered until the position is filled


The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is one of the nation's leading advocates on behalf of constitutional rights and liberties. Founded in 1951, as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, the NYCLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with more than 180,000 members and supporters, and eight offices statewide. We work in the courts, in the legislatures and on the streets to advocate for racial and economic justice, free speech, freedom of religion, privacy and equality before the law for all New Yorkers. For more information please visit our website: www.nyclu.org.

The NYCLU’s Policy Department implements and monitors legislative and policy initiatives across the state that implicate constitutional rights and liberties. The Policy team drafts and supports affirmative legislation that advances constitutional freedoms, and opposes laws, rules and policies that would compromise those freedoms. The Policy team represents the NYCLU at the state legislative session in Albany, and monitors and advocates before the New York City Council and, working closely with the NYCLU’s regional chapter offices, other municipal bodies. This work involves extensive written analysis and commentary; direct lobbying of  lawmakers; collaboration with our Legal Department on litigation; public education and testimony; supervision

and management of personnel and campaign work; and coalition building that engages NYCLU members and allied organizations.

The NYCLU seeks an experienced and innovative advocate to strengthen and lead our policy advocacy to promote the rights and wellbeing of criminal defendants after arrest. We are seeking a candidate who thrives in a collaborative organization and can skillfully handle diverse approaches to a broad docket that includes advocacy on bail, discovery, and speedy trial reforms; alternatives to incarceration; parole and sentencing reform; ending solitary confinement; and conditions of confinement and community supervision.

Depending on the applicant’s experience (in both policy advocacy and management), this hire is for either a Senior Policy Counsel or an Assistant Policy Director. Both positions are senior positions that require an individual with a background in policy advocacy who can develop and implement an advocacy docket. The successful candidate will manage a docket designed to enhance New Yorkers’ rights and liberties when they come into contact with the criminal legal system, from arrest through confinement. The successful candidate will implement a range of legal and policy strategies to this end, including technical research, legislative and agency lawyering, litigation and legal analysis, civic engagement and field organizing, coalition work, public education, and strategic communications. Working closely with the NYCLU’s Policy Counsel, Legal Department, Field Organizing Department, and Communications team, the successful candidate will design and manage campaigns to enhance the rights of New Yorkers who interact with the criminal legal system.

The successful candidate also is a creative thinker, collaborates well both internally and with external partners, and possesses excellent management and supervision skills.

Senior Policy Counsel reports to the Policy Director. Policy Counsel at the NYCLU play a critical role in the organization's efforts to promote and defend civil rights and civil liberties through public policy, including public education, testimony, lobbying, coalition work, and legislative advocacy. The NYCLU's Policy Counsel conduct research, writing, and advocacy on a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues in the New York State Legislature, the New York City Council, and (working closely with the NYCLU’s chapter offices across the state) at the municipal or county level. They also participate in the public education and communications work of the NYCLU. The title of “Senior” Policy Counsel is reserved for counsel with at least 8 years of experience in legal or policy advocacy, and the interest and ability to supervise colleagues within the Policy team and devise strategy and tactics to move our civil rights advocacy forward.

The Assistant Policy Director is a middle management position reporting to the Policy Director. The Assistant Director will be a core part of the management team of the NYCLU’s Policy Department, sharing responsibility for managing personnel and campaign work. The Assistant Director also will be a member of the NYCLU’s organization-wide middle management team, which works with the NYCLU’s senior leadership team to  manage and implement the NYCLU’s strategic and functional priorities. The ideal candidate will bring a positive and thoughtful approach to daily management and supervision, performance evaluation and feedback, and longtime career development of their supervisees.

  • Manage a team of colleagues (both lawyers and non-lawyers) working on advocacy to enhance the rights and welfare of individuals in the criminal legal
  • Devise and manage short- and long-term campaigns to protect and expand the rights of criminal defendants and incarcerated New Yorkers – through a combination of advocacy, litigation, public education, and Tactics include developing legal and policy positions, drafting and editing

legislation, advocating before government officials, litigation and amicus briefing, and contributing to public education and strategic communication materials.

  • Build and maintain relationships with criminal defense experts, public interest groups, government officials, community stakeholders, and academics to engage them in our work and implement collaborative projects, and foster positive working relationships with state and national ACLU
  • Serve as a key spokesperson and resource for the NYCLU in the press, in internal discussions and strategy development, and in NYCLU
  • Monitor legal and policy developments in due process, criminal procedure, and conditions of confinement nationwide and in New
  • Engage in legislative advocacy, including evaluating local and state legislation and ballot measures, drafting and editing new legislation and model policies, drafting local and state advocacy materials, and sharing expertise with
  • Collaborate with and supervise colleagues in a manner that supports their professional development, communicate transparent expectations and
  • Serve as a member of the NYCLU’s middle management
  • Actively support the NYCLU’s internal and external commitment to diversity, equity, and
  • 8+ years of experience in legal or public policy advocacy in areas at the intersection of criminal defense, due process, racial justice, and civil (For candidates interested in this position but without the requisite experience, please see the concurrent posting for Policy Counsel – available at www.nyclu.org.)
  • D. required. Litigation experience is a plus.
  • Initiative, vision, and ability to develop and implement short and long-term policy strategies utilizing a broad range of political and legal Experience with the New York State Legislature is a plus.
  • Strong communications skills – both written and oral – are necessary for this job’s focus on external The successful candidate will be able to effectively communicate complex legal and technical issues to a variety of audiences.
  • Excellent research and analytical skills are a must, as is fluency in the procedures and vocabulary of the criminal legal A background in criminal defense work is a plus.
  • Ability to develop and implement strategic initiatives and manage multiple issues at once in a fast-paced This position requires strong project and time management skills, including a high level of organization, attention to detail, and follow-through.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging in creative problem solving, strategic flexibility, and good
  • Ability to develop allies and work collaboratively and
  • A strong commitment to diversity and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstances is a Demonstrated experience engaging and working with and/or on behalf of underrepresented communities is a plus.
  • Willingness to travel within New York State for speaking events, meetings, and

Due to the Coronavirus, the NYCLU is currently a completely remote workforce. This position is, in non- pandemic times, based out of our New York City office. If the successful candidate is hired while the NYCLU staff is still remote, we will work with that candidate to ensure that they have the tools, equipment, and digital onboarding to be successfully integrated into our remote work environment.

Please submit your cover letter and resume via  https://recruiting.paylocity.com/recruiting/jobs/Details/279279/New-York-Civil-Liberties-Union-   Foundation/Senior-Policy-Counsel-or-Assistant-Policy-Director

The NYCLU is proud to be an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and encourages all applicants regardless of race, sex, gender identity, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and having a workforce that reflects the population that we serve.

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