Senior Researcher, Thurgood Marshall Institute

Published 4 days ago

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

The Institute seeks an experienced Senior Researcher with one or more of the following skill sets: demography, quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, social science research, and statistics. The candidate selected for this position will 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. This is an opportunity to contribute as a thought-leader at the nation’s premier civil rights legal advocacy organization.

We are seeking life-long learners who are committed to reimaging racial equity, and who are excited to put research into action. This position reports to the Deputy Director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute (TMI Deputy Director) and is for two years, subject to further renewal.

Subject to LDF’s prior approval, this position may have the option to be remote until Friday, December 31, 2021. Beginning Monday, January 3, 2022, any candidate selected should be prepared to report to work in the office location assigned to this position.

Responsibilities include:

  • Plan, manage, and conduct new research to advance racial justice and civil rights.
  • Serve as a thought-partner with the TMI Deputy Director and staff 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; and
  • 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 and broader LDF staff to draft and publish user-friendly fact sheets, articles, opinion pieces, and reports, and produce and lead TMI convenings, webinars, and podcasts to educate the public, the communities we represent, legislators, agency officials, and other stakeholders;
  • 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; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications include:

  • Minimum of 5 years of post-graduate experience formulating and executing research projects, data analysis, and publications, with expertise in demography, quantitative analysis, qualitative analyses, social science research and/or statistics; 
  • An advanced degree in criminal justice, sociology, economics, law, public policy, or another related field. A doctorate or other advanced certification in data analysis and experience using research for data manipulation, graphical presentation, and statistical analysis are preferred;
  • Experience developing research on civil rights issues with a focus on addressing racial discrimination and/or racially disparate outcomes;
  • Commitment to LDF and TMI’s mission;
  •  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;
  • Collaborative and approachable in style;
  • Self-confident, self-sufficient, and self-directed; and
  • Resilient temperament in the face of urgent or unexpected demands.

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 against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accordingly, successful candidates must be fully vaccinated 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

To Apply:

This position is open until filled.

Please submit your resume and cover letter to:

If submitting via email, please include your name (last name, first name) in the email subject line.


Natalie Kim

Human Resources Manager

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

40 Rector Street, 5th floor

New York, New York 10006


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.

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…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    Master's Degree Required
  • Professional Level


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near New York, NY
Associated Location
New York, NY, USA

How to Apply

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