Apr 05, 2022

Associate Counsel for Criminal Justice Reform

  • New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
  • Newark, NJ, USA
Full-Time Advocacy/Lobbying Policy Research and Development

Job Description

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, the 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, protests have taken place across the nation in response to the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others whose names we do not know. The time is now for not only meaningful police reform, but to also evaluate how we can transform public safety and stem the flow of individuals into the front-ends of the youth justice and adult justice systems.   

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.



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 Criminal Justice Reform Program. In this program, the Institute works to end criminal justice policies that result in the criminalization of communities of color, racial injustice and mass incarceration. The Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Program is centered around two issues that the Associate Counsel will work on: (1) building a culture of accountable policing and investing in community-based public safety options and (2) transforming New Jersey’s broken youth justice system.

The Associate Counsel will report to the Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform 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 the weekend).

Responsibilities include:

  • Working in partnership with Criminal Justice Reform Director in supporting and developing proposals and strategies for legislation, regulations and policy initiatives regarding criminal 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 criminal justice programming priorities.
  • Representing the Institute on the Independent Monitoring Team for the federal consent decree reforming the Newark Police Division (NPD); coordinating with Independent Monitoring Team members, preparing reports on NPD compliance with reforms and hosting events highlighting the Consent Decree work.
  • Researching and drafting op-eds, online articles, and opinion pieces.
  • 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 lay 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.

Hiring Organization

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice


  • 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.

Industry/Service Area

Advocacy/Social Action, Public Policy, Social Justice




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.

Application Instructions

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.”  

The position includes competitive salary and benefits and will remain open until filled. Those with individual or familial experience with the criminal justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.

Apply Now