Location: Atlanta, GA, New York City, Washington, D.C.

The Legal Defense Fund (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 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 wrongfully 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 for those killings. After five years of working side-by-side with activists and lawyers across the country, the campaign is now a permanent LDF project known as the Justice in Public Safety Project, currently housed in LDF’s new Department of Strategic Initiatives.

As of March 7, 2022, LDF transitioned 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 both litigation and non-litigation advocacy to advance police accountability, end racially discriminatory policing practices, and promote structural changes to public safety systems that reduce criminalization and promote the health and well-being of communities;
  • Conduct legal and factual research in the areas of criminal justice and policing;  
  • Assist with building and/or participating in national, state, and local coalitions, partnerships, and task forces working to advance police accountability with a racial justice lens;
  • Work collaboratively with LDF’s attorneys, organizers, policy counsel, and multidisciplinary teams to advance national, state, and local transformation of public safety structures;
  • Work collaboratively with LDF’s attorneys, policy counsel and researchers to write, publish, and widely disseminate research and policy briefs, fact sheets, talking points, infographics, reports, and other documents that will educate target audiences, including legislators, agency officials, stakeholders, and the general public about the need for changes to laws and policy to address issues and propose solid recommendations for change;
  • Other duties as requested by the Manager of the Justice in Public Safety Project, the Director of Strategic Initiatives, the Director of Policy or other members of LDF’s Senior Leadership Team; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.


The ideal candidate will possess the following:

  • Juris Doctor degree;
  • Three or more years of experience in litigation and/or policy reform or advocacy at the federal, state, or local level in the area of criminal justice;
  • Excellent research, writing, and public speaking skills;
  • Experience working with communities and/or individuals directly impacted by the criminal legal system;
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil rights and racial justice;
  • A demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically, including an ability to lead and manage complex litigation, advocacy, and policy reform efforts involving multiple issues and parties;
  • Ability to work independently and on teams; and
  • Ability to travel regularly.

The salary range of the position is $98,000 to $115,000, pursuant to a salary scale based on years of experience.

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.