Paralegal/Program Associate

JOB SUMMARY:

The Innocence Project is a not-for-profit organization that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through post-conviction DNA testing and develop and implement policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions and otherwise reform the criminal justice system.

The Paralegal/Program Associate works closely with the Director of Post-Conviction Litigation and the rest of the Legal Team to ensure that legal services are provided in an effective and efficient manner, providing case assistance as well as departmental support in managing and liaising inter-and intra departmental projects.  The Paralegal/Program Associate provides administrative assistance on case management and time-sensitive litigation matters, and organizes and maintains our litigation resources to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of both our own exoneration cases and those of outside counsel who seek our assistance.

The Paralegal/Program Associate reports to the Director of Post-Conviction Litigation. He or she also works closely with attorneys and coordinates the work of the other paralegals on department wide-matters.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Responsible for coordinating and culling information to develop, maintain and prepare departmental reports based on organizational, departmental and case work needs (e.g. board reports, pro bono attorney engagement, attorney docket and goals)
  • Plans/coordinates logistics to improve department operations (e.g. general technical support to the department, department-wide meeting agendas and minutes, resources etc.)
  • Conduct special assignments, research projects (e.g. new strategic plan implementation, new hire/transition issues, various research into internal information.)
  • Tracks quarterly budget reports and serves as liaison with finance on department budget  
  • Assesses and develops updates to the existing case management system according to organizational/departmental needs.  Serves as liaison with technology staff to ensure system meets user needs.

ASSISTING IN CASE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • Prepares court documents for filing, proofreads briefs, reviews citation format in briefs for completeness in accordance with Bluebook; copying, collating, binding documents and exhibits, prepares tables of contents and tables of authorities, reviews and summarizing court rules
  • Assists with case development by conducting factual and legal research, using online services such as Westlaw or Lexis, assisting with evidence searches and with preparation of discovery requests and responses, and prepares public records requests
  • Serving as a liaison with laboratories, prisons; communicating with incarcerated clients and/or their family members
  • Maintains electronic and paper case files and docket sheets
  • Reviews and analyzes factual background of cases, including police reports, lab reports, prior motions and case files; develops a working knowledge of DNA testing
  • Write memos concerning discrete factual issues; whether case facts from the complete record support

a particular exoneration theory; prior and current testing history; evidence searches; post-conviction investigation issues; and various other memos to support the developing litigation strategy of a case.

  • Drafts orders for discovery and DNA testing
  • Drafts correspondence to prosecutors, prison officials and clients

ORGANIZATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

    • Serves as Legal Department point-person for other departments within the organization
  • Liaises between Director of Post Conviction Litigation and the Intake Director concerning the new case transfers from Intake Department to Legal Department; tracks tasks and manages logistics

OTHER DUTIES IN SUPPORT OF THE LITIGATION DEPARTMENT:

  • Arranges for litigation-related travel reimbursement
  • Drafts correspondence
  • Assists in creating and maintaining other litigation-related resources, such as state-by-state files on DNA testing legislation, a database of local and/or pro bono counsel, court decisions, motions, and issue-related model language
  • Responds to requests from outside counsel for DNA-related materials

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years of administrative/clerical experience preferred
  • Proven experience working with complex organizational and data systems
  • Superior Microsoft Excel knowledge

KEY COMPETENCIES, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

  • Strong commitment to social justice, particularly the mission of the Innocence Project
  • Superior skills with computers and software, and a keen ability to quickly learn and navigate various databases and reporting programs
  • High level of proficiency in administrative work and office management
  • Ability to work independently, assess priorities, and take initiative with minimal supervision
  • Strong interpersonal, diplomacy, and communication (verbal & written) skills: ability to interact effectively with a wide variety of people of diverse professional and cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to juggle multiple tasks in high-pressured environment
  • Flexible and collaborative work style and ability to function effectively in a demanding environment
  • Excellent skills in organization, planning, and attention to detail
  • Strong writing and editing skills

COMPENSATION:

The salary for this position is competitive and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with company-match, and paid Transitcheks.

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY:

The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission.  We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply.  

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

To apply, please visit Paycom. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone.