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.

The Thurgood Marshall Institute:

Since its founding under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall in 1940, LDF has been committed to transforming this nation’s promise of equality into reality for all Americans.

In 2015, LDF celebrated its 75th anniversary with the launch of the Thurgood Marshall Institute.  The Thurgood Marshall Institute 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 goals are to enhance LDF’s use and mobilization of research and public education to increase its capacity to fight for racial equity, justice, and a more inclusive democracy through targeted advocacy and high impact communications campaigns.

Through the Thurgood Marshall Institute, LDF generates and integrates innovative research, advocacy, archival materials, and strategic communications aimed at educating the public and key decision makers. This added capacity leverages 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 campaigns that attack entrenched problems of racial bias, LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute will advance holistic strategies to achieve obtainable and lasting solutions on issues of criminal justice, political participation, education and economic opportunity. In addition, the Institute serves as an active convener of thought-leaders from various disciplines to engage on cutting edge issues of racial justice in both public and private fora.

The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) seeks an experienced, dynamic and innovative person to serve as a Research and Operations Associate for LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, including providing direct research and operations support. The Research and Operations Associate will report to Deputy Director of Thurgood Marshall Institute. Washington, D.C. is the preferred location, but candidates who would locate at our New York office will be considered.


The TMI Research and Operations Associate will assist LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute in advancing LDF’s strategic priorities in the Institute, as well as its broader legal program and institutional goals, including, but not limited to the following: 

  • Work with the TMI Director and Managers to coordinate and provide operations support for the Institute’s activities, including its advocacy campaigns, events and convenings, archives, and publications;
  • Conduct background and investigative research on issues consistent with LDF program areas and goals, including collecting, compiling and analyzing statistical and other information from public and private sources and special and general long- and short-term research projects;
  • Assist in project management;
  • Monitor legal developments on civil rights issues;
  • Prepare for, and participate in, internal and external calls, meetings, conferences, and other convenings;
  • Assist in preparing written public education materials, including reports, briefs, blogs, and podcasts;
  • Assist in summarizing research reporting purposes, website, and external use;
  • Assist in website and database (e.g., National Police Funding Database) development and maintenance;
  • Conduct outreach to regional, state and local leaders around particular advocacy issues;
  • Organize materials for speaking engagements, seminars, symposia, and conferences, and assist in preparation of institutional statements, remarks or speeches; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.


  • Commitment to the racial justice mission of LDF;
  • College degree;
  • A minimum of two years of paralegal, project management, or equivalent work experience;
  • Outstanding research and writing skills;
  • Highly motivated and takes initiative;
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Outstanding analytical skills including comfort with analyzing complex issues and familiarity with interpreting data;
  • Excellent organizational skills and detail oriented;
  • Superb computer skills; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Westlaw, Lexis, Pacer, ECF and familiarity with database systems and project management software a plus;
  • Project management experience;
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently;
  • Willingness to learn and develop new skills and expertise;
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, highly stressful environment;
  • Ability to prioritize workload and complete tasks accurately and in a timely manner;
  • Willingness to work overtime, including occasionally on weekends; and
  • Willingness to travel.

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.

The salary range for this position is $55,000-$60,000. LDF offers a rich platform of benefits including medical (Empire), dental (Cigna), vision (NVA), flexible spending accounts (Flex Facts), transit/commuter plan, life insurance, AD&D, voluntary life & AD&D (UNUM), AFLAC, Employee Assistance Plan, and Health Advocate.  As well as the many healthcare benefits, LDF offers a 403b plan with employer match, and a robust vacation, sick, and personal time program to ensure employees have a health work-life balance.

Please note that LDF requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accordingly, successful candidates must be fully vaccinated 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.