The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law organization. Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread state-sponsored racial inequality. From that era to the present, LDF’s mission has been transformative–to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.

LDF’s litigation, policy advocacy, organizing, and public education programs in the substantive areas of criminal justice, economic justice, education and political participation seek 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 and just judicial system.

LDF seeks a Policy Counsel to advance the work of its Justice in Public Safety Project. 

The Justice in Public Safety Project.  Since its inception, LDF has worked to address police violence and accountability. LDF founder Thurgood Marshall represented the Groveland Four – Black men who were falsely accused of a crime, brutally beaten by sheriff’s deputies, and convicted. In 2015, LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute launched a Policing Reform Campaign in the aftermath of the police killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Natasha McKenna – and public demands for police accountability. After five years of working side-by-side with activists and lawyers across the country, the campaign is now a permanent LDF project—the Justice in Public Safety Project.

Beginning on March 7, 2022, LDF will transition to a hybrid work environment. Any candidate selected for this position should be prepared to work in the office location assigned at least two days per week.


  • Assist with identifying, developing and implementing legislative and policy reform strategies at the federal, state, and local levels, consistent with Justice in Public Safety Project goals;
  • Conduct policy and other forms of research in the areas of criminal justice and policing;  
  • Participate in and/or organize briefings with policymakers, including federal or state agency officials on the Project’s priorities;
  • Assist with building and/or participating in national, state and grassroots coalitions, partnerships and task forces working to advance policing reforms;
  • Work collaboratively with LDF's attorneys, organizers and multidisciplinary teams to advance national, state and local reforms and to research and launch public safety strategies that do not involve law enforcement;
  • Review and summarize proposed legislation and assist with drafting model legislation;
  • 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 Manager of the Justice in Public Safety Project, Director of Policy or other senior management; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.


  • Juris Doctor degree and admission to the District of Columbia Bar or ability to be admitted to the Bar;
  • Minimum of 3 years of experience in policy reform or advocacy at the federal, state or local level in the area of criminal justice and/or policing reform;
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil rights and the racial justice mission of LDF;
  • Excellent research, writing and public speaking skills;
  • A demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships with national and grassroots 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;
  • Ability to work independently and on teams; and
  • Ability to travel regularly.

This is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts or requirements or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned. This description does not constitute a contract of employment and LDF may exercise its employment-at-will rights at any time.

Please note that LDF requires all employees to be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accordingly, successful candidates must be fully vaccinated, including the booster shot against COVID-19, and submit proof of vaccination prior to the commencement of employment unless they qualify for a reasonable accommodation for bona fide medical or religious reasons.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 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, medical condition or disability, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local law.