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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Senior Researcher – Thurgood Marshall Institute (New York or Washington, D.C.)

Pdf version, here.

The Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI) is a multidisciplinary center within the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF). Launched in 2015, the Institute complements LDF’s traditional litigation strengths, by arming LDF with dedicated support for three critical capabilities in the fight for racial justice: research, targeted advocacy campaigns, and organizing. The Institution also houses LDF’s Archives—a collection of materials chronicling the legal history of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Thurgood Marshall Institute seeks an experienced Senior Researcher to help lead research efforts across LDF’s areas of expertise: criminal justice, economic justice, education, and voting rights. This is an exciting opportunity to develop and lead primary and secondary research on civil rights and to inform policy development, public education programs, and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels. We are seeking a life-long learner who is committed to reimaging racial equity, and who is excited to put research into action.

This position reports to the Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI Director) and is for two years.


  • Plan, manage, and conduct new research to advance racial justice and civil rights.

    • Serve as a thought-partner with the TMI Director and LDF senior management in designing an innovative research agenda that advances TMI’s work to address civil rights issues;
    • Maintain and grow a research portfolio that advances TMI’s civil rights advocacy;
    • Conduct primary and secondary research and data analysis on issues of civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. This includes collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data; including disaggregating such data by demographics including race, ethnicity, and other relevant criteria;
    • Lead influential research projects and develop work plans to ensure timely production of quality internal and external deliverables;
    • Translate research and statistical analyses for multiple audiences and deploy the same in service of TMI’s broader advocacy initiatives.
  • Contribute to the Institute’s strategic communications and public engagement.

    • Collaborate with TMI staff to draft and publish user-friendly fact sheets, articles, and reports to educate legislators, agency officials, stakeholders, and the communities we represent;
    • In partnership with peers, sister advocacy organizations, and academic institutions, synthesize and employ new data, models, theories, and approaches that advance social and racial justice;
    • Expand and sharpen LDF’s research capacity by engaging a community of researchers, scholars, and colleagues in the fields of (among others) social science, demographics, political science, survey research, criminology who can research, analyze, and provide context for current civil rights challenges in their areas of expertise.


This is an opportunity to contribute as a thought-leader at the nation’s premier civil rights legal advocacy organization.
The ideal candidate for this position will possess the following:

  • At least eight years’ experience formulating and executing research projects, data analysis, and publications;
  • An advanced degree in criminal justice, sociology, law, public policy, or another related field. A doctorate or other advanced certification in data analysis is preferred;
  • Experience developing research on civil rights issues with a focus on addressing racial discrimination and/or racially disparate outcomes;
  • Ability to connect data to policy and legal advocacy effectively;
  • Experience working with advocacy coalitions, teams of scholars and experts, grassroots organizers, elected officials, and other policy-makers;
  • Superior written and oral communications skills;
  • Commitment to LDF and TMI’s mission;
  • Collaborative and approachable in style;
  • Self-confident, self-sufficient, and self-directed;
  • Resilient temperament in the face of challenges.



To Apply:

Please submit your resume and cover letter to: 


Monica Garcia

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


The NAACP Legal Defense 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.