The Honorable Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Legal Fellowship for Social Justice

Job Type

Full Time


Details: This is a full-time, at-will position. Salary is commensurate with experience.




60 Park Place
Suite 511
United States


In commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of its founding, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the “Institute”) is looking for a dynamic team player to serve as our inaugural Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Legal Fellow to work on a program of legal and policy advocacy to expand racial and social justice in New Jersey.

The founding President of the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach was an integral member of President Kennedy’s and President Johnson’s Administrations, serving in several roles across the two presidencies. Katzenbach is well-known in American history for his “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” as the U.S. Deputy Attorney General, in which he confronted the segregationist Governor of Alabama George Wallace, so that the nationalized Alabama National Guard could integrate the University of Alabama. He had previously been the Kennedy Administration’s designee to respond to riots at the University of Mississippi during its integration. He organized legislative strategies for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and drafted portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

He went on to become President Johnson’s Attorney General, leading the federal government’s fight for the enforcement of civil rights in a series of famous U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Katzenbach v. McClung (1964), Katzenbach v. Morgan (1966), and South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966). Mr. Katzenbach also served in the State Department, and prior to his public service, as a professor of law at Yale, the University of Chicago, and Rutgers University. After leaving the Johnson Administration, he went on to a distinguished career as General Counsel for IBM. Upon leaving government service, President Johnson wrote of him that “few men have been so deeply involved in the critical issues of our time.”

In honor of the indelible civil rights legacy of Nicholas deB. Katzenbach and his leadership in helping to found the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice as its inaugural President of the Board of Trustees, the Katzenbach Fellowship provides an early-to-mid-career lawyer with the opportunity to spend two years at the Institute focusing on the unfinished business of the civil rights movement—economic justice. The ideal candidate for the Katzenbach Fellowship is a lawyer who embodies Attorney General Katzenbach’s fierce, strategic, and unwavering commitment to advancing civil rights and social justice in this critical moment in time.

This is an exciting opportunity, at a critical time in our history, to advance racial and social justice on behalf of New Jersey’s urban communities through the Institute’s Economic Mobility Initiative. Fifty years ago, during Katzenbach’s leadership in the Johnson Administration, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led organizing of the Poor People’s Campaign to unite a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, inter-faith coalition of people together to advocate for economic equality. In the wake of Dr. King’s murder, the Poor People’s Campaign went on, and Congress finally passed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as Dr. King and other civil rights movement leaders had urged them to do. Despite this progress, economic equality was never achieved—in fact, people of color are in much the same economic situation that they were fifty years ago.

The Institute works to continue the fight for equality of economic opportunity through building and strengthening systems that provide access to wealth, including (1) meaningful employment that pays a living wage, (2) affordable, fair, and quality housing in safe and healthy neighborhoods, and (3) non-predatory credit.

Using a holistic approach to address the unique and critical issues facing New Jersey’s urban communities, the Institute advocates for systemic reform that is at once transformative, achievable in the state, and replicable in communities across the nation. 


  • Work collaboratively to support the implementation of the Institute’s vision for its Economic Mobility initiatives on employment, housing, and access to credit.
  • Provide research support to the Senior Counsel and other members of the legal team.
  • Assist in building strategic alliances with organizations and individuals to advance the Institute’s mission, engage on shared priorities, and exchange knowledge and information in support of the Institute’s programs and initiatives.
  • Attend legal team meetings, and work closely with the entire legal team and Institute staff, particularly with the Senior Counsel, to realize Institute goals and advance the Economic Mobility body of work.
  • Write and edit various publications, especially op-eds, reports, and policy briefs.
  • Maintain relationships with Institute partners, including other non-profit and advocacy organizations, law firms, community-based organizations, colleges and universities, anchor institutions, and community advocates.
  • Work with the communications team to integrate advocacy with communications, including through public education materials, policy reports, white papers, talking points, op-eds, and press releases.
  • Model values of an inclusive and respectful workplace. 


  • Law degree and minimum of two years of full-time work experience.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse coalitions and community groups, particularly of color, and to work across political ideology, race, ethnicity, socio-economic circumstances, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
  • Passion for, and knowledge of, racial and social justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the Institute.
  • Preference for work experience advancing racial and social justice, particularly economic justice (employment, housing, and access to credit).
  • Excellent research and writing skills; superior attention to detail; ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously; good problem-solving skills and a positive, professional attitude with excellent judgment, flexibility, determination, and grace in a sometimes high-pressure office.
  • Exceptional written and oral communications skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a collaborative context, both internally and externally, including a willingness to accept feedback, communicate openly, listen well, and learn from others.
  • Excellent judgment and follow through.
  • Willingness to travel for conferences. 

About the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:

The Institute is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.

The Institute’s mission is to empower urban residents to realize and achieve their full potential. Established in 1999 by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein, the Institute’s dynamic and independent advocacy is aimed at toppling load-bearing walls of structural inequality to create just, vibrant, and healthy urban communities. We employ a broad range of advocacy tools to advance our ambitious urban agenda, including research, analysis and writing, public education, grassroots organizing, communications, the development of pilot programs, legislative strategies, and litigation. 


Benefits include health, a 401(k) plan with an employer contribution, and generous vacation, sick, and holiday leave. This is a grant funded position.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be accepted until the position is filled. Please email your cover letter, resume, transcripts, a professional writing sample on which you are the primary author, and three professional references to Please submit your application materials via Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF. Include all attachments in a single email stating, in the subject line, “Katzenbach Fellow.”