Policy Counsel
Legal Defense Fund Thurgood Marshall Institute

The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) seeks an experienced Policy Counsel to join its policy team.

LDF and the Thurgood Marshall Institute at LDF:

LDF is the nation’s first and foremost civil and human rights law organization. Since its founding under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall in 1940, LDF has been committed to transforming this nation’s promise of racial equity and justice into reality for all Americans.

LDF uses litigation, public policy advocacy, organizing and public education programs to ensure the fundamental and basic human rights of all people to quality education, economic opportunity, the right to vote and fully participate in democracy, and the right to a fair criminal justice system.

In 2015, LDF celebrated its 75th anniversary with the launch of the Thurgood Marshall Institute.  The Thurgood Marshall Institute at LDF is a collaborative hub within LDF that combines a multidisciplinary approach to advocacy with LDF’s traditional litigation strengths to advance a modern vision of racial justice.  The Institute’s goal is to advance racial equity, justice and a more inclusive democracy through research and public education, targeted policy reform advocacy and communication campaigns.

Through the Thurgood Marshall Institute, LDF will have the ability to generate and integrate innovative research, organizing, advocacy, and communications aimed at educating the public and key decision makers. This added capacity will leverage LDF’s litigation expertise, advocacy experience and unique leadership role on matters of race, law, and policy to shape the narrative on racial justice and equity. Through targeted policy reform campaigns that attack entrenched problems of racial bias, the LDF Thurgood Marshall Institute will partner with local advocates to advance holistic strategies to achieve obtainable and lasting solutions on issues of criminal justice, political participation, education and economic opportunity.

LDF seeks an experienced Policy Counsel to develop and implement the policy initiatives of the Thurgood Marshall Institute.


  • Identify, develop and implement legislative and policy reform strategies at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with LDF’s substantive priorities and the work of the Thurgood Marshall Institute;
  • Conduct policy and other forms of research in LDF’s programmatic areas including political participation, economic justice, education and criminal justice;
  • Monitor and respond to developing civil rights issues in proposed federal, state and local legislation or agency action;
  • Identify, secure and prepare for opportunities for LDF to influence legislation and policy at the federal level, including commenting on proposed legislation and rules, submitting statements and letters, preparing advocacy materials, and organizing and conducting meetings with elected and administrative officials and their staff;
  • Secure, draft and deliver legislative testimony at the federal, state, and local levels;
  • Participate in and/or organize briefings with Members of Congress, state and local legislators, and federal or state agency officials on LDF’s substantive priorities;
  • Build and/or participate in national coalitions, partnerships and task forces working to advance political participation, education, economic opportunity and criminal justice, or to oppose laws and policies that will undermine reform;
  • Assume a leading and strategic role in national, state or local coalition campaigns on federal advocacy issues consistent with LDF’s priorities, including lobbying, communications and grassroots outreach;
  • Work collaboratively with LDF’s attorneys, organizers and multidisciplinary teams to advance national, state and local reforms;
  • Work collaboratively with LDF’s attorneys and researchers to write, publish and widely disseminate policy briefs, fact sheets, talking points, infographics, reports, and other documents that will educate legislators, agency officials, stakeholders and the general public about the need for policy changes to address issues and propose solid recommendations for change;
  • Other duties as requested by the Director of Policy, the Deputy Director of Policy, the Thurgood Marshall Institute Director, or other senior management.   


The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following characteristics and skills:

  • Juris Doctor or other graduate degree;
  • Five or more years of experience in policy reform or advocacy at the federal, state or local level in the areas of political participation, economic justice, education and criminal justice;
  • Excellent research, writing and public speaking skills;
    • A demonstrated commitment to civil rights and racial justice;
    • A demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships with coalitions of organizations, community members/leaders, and public officials;
    • A demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically, including an ability to lead and manage complex policy reform efforts involving multiple issues and parties; and
    • Ability to work independently and on teams.

To Apply:  Please submit your resume and cover letter:

Email to: jobs@naacpldf.org


Monica Garcia, Director of Human Resources/Administration
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
40 Rector Street, 5th floor
New York, New York 10006

We seek to fill this position immediately.


The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund 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.

Get the newsletter