Paralegal

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 provides administrative assistance to the Innocence Project’s attorneys 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 DNA 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 two Staff Attorneys and works 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.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

ASSISTING IN CASE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • 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; communicating with incarcerated clients and/or their family members
  • 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 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.
  • Drafting orders for discovery and DNA testing
  • Drafting correspondence to prosecutors, prison officials and clients


OTHER DUTIES IN SUPPORT OF THE LITIGATION DEPARTMENT:

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

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

  • Bachelor 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
  • Previous experience preparing documents for filing in court preferred
  • Strong writing skills

KEY COMPETENCIES:

  • Energetic self-starter who is highly organized, persistent and detail-oriented
  • 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
  • Strong interpersonal and written communication skills and flexibility to work with different personalities

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:

Please email a brief cover letter and resume as one attachment to: [email protected], with “Paralegal” in the subject line.  All .zip file attachments will be deleted without being read. No phone calls, please.