Paralegal

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist the wrongly convicted who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment. To learn more, please visit www.innocenceproject.org.

JOB SUMMARY:

The Paralegal provides administrative assistance to the Innocence Project’s attorneys on our client representation, 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.  This is not a “traditional” paralegal position in the sense that we ask our paralegals to engage in tasks and make decisions that require enterprising, out-of-the-box thinking.  We seek mature, self-motivated individuals who can be effective communicators with different stakeholder groups (supervisors, colleagues and clients), who can take initiative, are self-starters, and are able to manage multiple demanding tasks simultaneously.  

The Paralegal reports to one to two Staff Attorneys and works closely with other members of the legal department to administer the Innocence Project clinic, working in close collaboration with clinic students from Cardozo Law School.

The duties of this position require approximately 40 hours of work per week to be performed in-office, ability to work nights/weekend when litigation requires, with occasional travel.

**The ideal candidate is a college graduate with 1-2 years of work experience in a criminal justice or social justice organization. This position is perfect for someone looking for 2-4 years of work experience prior to law school or other graduate education.**

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

ASSISTING IN CASE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • Communicating with incarcerated clients and/or their family members
  • Preparing court documents for filing, proofreading briefs, reviewing citation format in briefs for completeness in accordance with Bluebook; copying, collating, binding documents and exhibits, preparing tables of contents and tables of authorities, reviewing and summarizing court rules
  • Assisting 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 preparing public records requests
  • Serving as a liaison with laboratories, prisons, experts
  • Maintaining electronic and paper case files and docket sheets
  • Reviewing and analyzing factual background of cases, including police reports, lab reports, prior motions and case files; develops a working knowledge of DNA testing
  • Writing memos concerning discrete factual issues; whether case facts from the complete record support an 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.
  • Drafting orders for discovery and DNA testing
  • Drafting correspondence to prosecutors, prison officials and clients
  • Manage day-to-day administration of the student clinic:  work with staff attorneys to prepare summer and academic class schedule, collect and timely distribute class readings, correspond with and provide clinic-related training to new students, work closely with legal department attorneys and paralegals to ensure clinical instructors have course materials in advance of class, stay up-to-date on logistics such as classroom availability, reminding students of upcoming deadlines and events, and anticipating special needs that arise such as recording classes where needed, and overall maintaining efficient operation of clinic.

 

OTHER DUTIES IN SUPPORT OF THE LITIGATION DEPARTMENT:

  • Arranging for litigation-related travel reimbursement
  • Drafting correspondence
  • Responding to requests from outside counsel for DNA-related materials

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Competency with Windows, Microsoft Office Suite and basic internet research is required
  • Familiarity with Case Management software and Legal Search Engines such as Westlaw and LexisNexis preferred, or ability to quickly learn new technology
  • Strong writing skills

KEY COMPETENCIES:

  • Energetic self-starter who is highly organized, persistent and detail-oriented
  • Strong interpersonal and written communication skills, and flexibility and patience to work with different personalities in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, prioritize and effectively manage workload, and regularly meet deadlines
  • Commitment to social justice; particularly the mission of the Innocence Project

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:

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. Upload your cover letter and resume as (last name. first name. cover letter/resume).  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.

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