Policing Project Justice Fellow

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Policing Justice Fellow

The Policing Project at New York University School of Law invites applications for our 2023–2024 Policing Justice Fellowship, a one-year, potentially-renewable position based in New York City. The Fellowship will begin August/September 2023.

This fellowship is designed for recent law school graduates with a passion for transforming how policing occurs, and an interest in the legal and other research necessary to take us there. The Fellow will play a significant role in the Policing Project’s litigation efforts—particularly related to the regulation of policing technologies and our racial justice litigation—as well as drafting legislation and engaging in other policy work.

Background on the Policing Project

The Policing Project partners with communities and police to promote public safety through transparency, equity, and democratic engagement. We work across a broad range of issues—from use of force and racial profiling, to face recognition and surveillance tools. We do so in close collaboration with groups from across the ideological spectrum and with stakeholders that typically find themselves at odds, including policing agencies, community organizations, governments, and other non-profits. Our work takes us all over the country and is moving the needle in tangible ways.

We bring a new approach to this fraught area, one grounded in democratic values. In particular, our work focuses on ensuring accountability on the front end. Front-end accountability involves promoting public voice in setting transparent, ethical, and effective policies and practices before the police act. The goal is achieving public safety in a manner that is equitable, non-discriminatory, and respectful of public values.

We also are deeply involved in efforts to reimagine what public safety should look like. Too often government has turned to the police to address social problems, when armed officers are not the answer, but other social services—governmental and community-based—are. We have a national research and redesign effort underway that includes deep engagement with impacted communities to transform substantially what public safety means and how it is achieved.

Examples of our past work include:

  • Conducted a study of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s (MNPD) traffic stops which found that most were pretextual, imposed disparate burdens on Black community members, and did not fight crime. Our report and City Council testimony resulted in a dramatic change in MNPD’s policing strategy to focus on community policing, and a 90% reduction in traffic stops;


  • Filed a lawsuit on behalf of indigenous rights and environmental advocates who were unlawfully spied on by the Oregon Department of Justice’s TITAN Fusion Center. Our suit is a new approach relying on an old bedrock constitutional rule: executive officials cannot act without legislative authorization;


  • Partnered with the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) in Chicago in its successful campaign to demand the City Council create a community-led commission for oversight of the Chicago Police Department;


  • Conducted a civil rights and civil liberties audit of Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) aerial surveillance program, which led in part to its end, and our amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals influenced that court to declare the program unconstitutional.

You can learn more at www.PolicingProject.org.

Job Description & Responsibilities

The Policing Justice Fellow will report directly to the Policing Project’s leadership team and will engage in a wide variety of work depending on the Policing Project’s priorities. Responsibilities may include:

  • Conducting legal, policy and legislative research and analysis, and developing policy recommendations;
  • Conducting factual research into particular policing and surveillance technologies;
  • Developing and supporting litigation strategy;
  • Drafting model legislation and policies at federal, state, and local levels;
  • Writing memoranda, legal briefs, testimony, blog posts and other articles; and
  • Providing event and meeting support, such as planning agendas and supporting the events and communications teams in organizing closed door and public events.

Desired Experience and Qualifications

Above all, we are seeking to hire someone passionate about improving public accountability around policing. Ability to work hard and proactively is a must. In addition, we will consider the following qualifications when evaluating applicants:

  • J.D. required, but bar admission is not;
  • Experience with or strong interest in litigation, as demonstrated through clerkships (including those scheduled for future years), law school clinics, and/or previous work experience;
  • A strong interest in policing issues;
  • A strong interest in the criminal system, racial justice and civil rights work;
  • Strong written communications skills;
  • Strong interpersonal skills (be it talking with a local legislator, a community organizer or activist, or an academic);
  • Good judgment and proven capacity to multitask;
  • Ability to occasionally travel and represent the Policing Project’s work in public;
  • Residency in New York City area or willingness to relocate.

Application Instructions

To apply please email a cover letter, resume, (unofficial) law school transcript, and writing sample of no more than 10 pages as one PDF to applications@policingproject.org. Please indicate “Legal Fellow” in the subject line.  Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled, and you will be contacted if selected for an interview.


Salary is commensurate with experience, but in the range of $65,000 – $70,000. Compensation also includes excellent benefits, including medical, dental, and vision. Further information regarding benefits can be found at https://www.nyu.edu/employees/benefit/full-time/professional-research-staff/benefits-guide-2021.html.


NYU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

Posted in: PILC Archive.