Staff Attorney, Post-Conviction Litigation

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 Staff Attorneys in the Post-Conviction Litigation Department represent individual clients around the nation seeking to overturn their convictions based on evidence of innocence, primarily through post-conviction DNA testing.  Staff attorneys work with a wide-range of forensic and other experts and investigators to re-investigate and litigate post-conviction innocence claims, with a heavy motion practice involving a variety of avenues for relief (including ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, false evidence, newly discovered evidence). In addition, the Staff Attorneys are clinical law teachers who select, instruct and supervise students participating in a year-long clinic associated with Cardozo School of Law.  The Staff Attorneys work under the supervision of the Director of Post-Conviction Litigation, and work closely with a Paralegal, two to three clinic students, and with other members of the Legal and Intake departments.  Staff attorneys collaborate across the project.  They provide legal support to legislative efforts to reform the justice system, collaborate in strategic litigation efforts to broadly change legal standards, and join network efforts to train and support innocence attorneys throughout the country.

This is a full-time position requiring 40 hours of in-office work per week, plus evening and weekend work as needed as well as frequent travel.  A driver’s license is required.

Essential job functions

Litigation 

  • Manage post-conviction docket
  • Craft litigation strategy
  • Direct re-investigations
  • Write extensive motions & briefs
  • Negotiate with prosecutors
  • Conduct hearings
  • Communicate with Clients and family members regarding cases
  • Supervise paralegals

Innocence Clinic 

  • Instruct and supervise clinic students from Cardozo School of Law who assist in representation of clients during the full year clinic at the Innocence Project
  • Teach select seminar classes
  • Interview and select clinic students annually
  • Assess performance and provide meaningful feedback throughout the year

Qualifications & Experience 

  • Minimum of four years of litigation experience, strong preference for criminal law with post-conviction litigation and/or trial practice, as well as admission to one or more state bars
  • Understanding of DNA testing
  • Knowledge of other forensic disciplines
  • Interest in legal education and teaching

Key competencies

  • Client-centered approach to legal representation
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment at the same time as being collaborative
  • Excellent analytic and writing skills, and ability to construct cogent arguments
  • Great interpersonal and verbal communication skills
  • Honed organizational skills and the ability to prioritize cases
  • Interest in working with diverse range of people
  • Ability to assess work of students and paralegals, and constructively supervise their work
  • Enthusiasm for social justice and the work of the Innocence Project, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest 

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.

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