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Research Associate, Advancing Universal Representation

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posted on Monday, September 25, 2023

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

The Research Associate for the Advancing Universal Representation (UREP) initiative works in a supporting research role to build and share evidence in support of the initiative’s goal to establish a federal right to legal representation for all immigrants facing deportation. The Research Associate should be well-versed in conducting qualitative research and have mixed methods or quantitative research experience. The Research Associate will contribute to research design and the management of research projects. Additionally, the Research Associate will conduct interviews with impacted persons, collect, manage, and analyze qualitative and quantitative data. The Research Associate writes or supports the writing of reports and other research materials; conducts literature reviews, presents findings from research projects; fields rapid response research requests; reviews documents; and collects and reviews information in support of advocacy.

In this role, the Research Associate will work with support and mentorship from the Associate Director of Research, the Senior Data Scientist, and Principal Research Associate for the UREP Initiative, and will also develop and strengthen their own skills and work independently. The Research Associate will contribute to, and support, discrete tasks, but will also have task ownership and task management overview. The Research Associate may work on quantitative and qualitative research projects, and execute operations beyond research-specific tasks, including advocacy and administrative work. This position will report to the Associate Director of Research for the UREP Initiative.

The Research Associate will collaborate with team members to advance initiative goals by actively engaging in team meetings and program activities. The Research Associate will also be expected to support efforts to ensure that Vera’s race, equity, and inclusion priorities are a core aspect of Vera’s mission, both internally in how team members work together, and in research, including methodological approaches, publications, hiring and staffing, and external and internal research communications.

What you'll do:

Qualitative research design, data collection, project management, and analysis

  • Conduct in-person or remote, semi-structured interviews or focus groups with people in removal proceedings and other stakeholders
  • Contribute to research design and the development of data collection instruments, consent forms, and IRB documentation
  • Manage the scheduling of interviews or appointments for qualitative data collection
  • Ensure the proper storage and de-identification of data, privacy protocols, and other data security measures are followed
  • Facilitate communication with research partners
  • Analyze data and / or write up methods and results
  • Support the workflow and project management of qualitative research projects

Data collection, management, and analysis

  • Clean and manage quantitative data.
  • Develop and maintain code, codebooks, instruments, and / or other research materials
  • Support data collection under the supervision of senior research staff
  • Support quantitative data analysis and / or write-ups of methods and results

Write up / presentation of research

  • Conduct background research and compile materials, including literature reviews
  • Prepare and format reports and other products
  • Prepare qualitative or quantitative statistics, background research, or infographics for reports and other products

Rapid response

  • Field rapid response data requests from team members and external partners, including quickly producing programmatic and immigration court statistics
  • Identify and share existing research to provide evidence in support of advocacy materials and more

Support special projects and other initiative needs

  • Support other lines of work within the initiative (i.e., advocacy and programs) on a variety of assignments, as needed
  • Participate in cross-cutting initiative events and lobbying activities, as needed
  • Carry out special projects in support of a program or initiative’s research agenda under the supervision of senior research staff

Administrative tasks

  • Manage and respond to communications from external partners who work with Vera
  • Schedule and facilitate meetings
  • Execute data entry tasks, including creating, updating, and maintaining spreadsheets and databases

What qualifications are we looking for?

  • Bachelor’s degree + 3 – 5 years of work experience. In lieu of a bachelor's degree, applicable work or life experience may be considered.
  • Commitment to race equity


  • Master’s degree is a plus
  • Spanish language, strongly preferred
  • Relevant lived experience
  • Experience using mixed-method research in academic or applied settings

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:

  • Spanish language proficiency strongly desired. Secondarily, comfort working with an interpreter.
  • Experience conducting semi-structured interviews or focus groups, preferably with impacted people.
  • Experience in qualitative data coding and analysis
  • Experience in quantitative research (e.g., completing a research project using quantitative methods)
  • Ability to synthesize complex literature and share findings from existing research
  • Skilled in writing findings from research in a manner that is easily understood by the general public
  • Careful attention to detail
  • Experience using a data analysis program like R, Stata, Python, SPSS, or SQL. R or Stata experience is strongly preferred
  • Familiarity with GitHub is a plus


Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $81,000 - $86,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Research Associate, UREP
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org