Paralegal/Intake Specialist

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is New York’s oldest provider of appellate representation to poor people convicted of felonies, and the City’s second oldest institutional indigent defense offense. Since its founding in 1988, OAD has maintained a national reputation for superb appellate advocacy and innovation, as well as a holistic, client-centered, approach to representation. OAD has repeatedly been recognized by the New York State Bar Association, and the appellate courts, for excellent representation.

OAD handles post-conviction cases from the Bronx and Manhattan, including direct appeals before the Appellate Division, First Department, and the New York Court of Appeals. OAD also litigates sex offender registration level hearings, drug law resentencings, and motions to overturn wrongful convictions (including claims based on new or undisclosed evidence, prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel).  OAD additionally advocates for improved prison and parole conditions, and provides reentry assistance.

OAD seeks a Paralegal/Intake Specialist to assist with OAD’s client intake process, including collecting, gathering and organizing documents; drafting motions and correspondence; and maintaining contact with clients and their family members.  The ideal candidate will have a commitment to social and criminal justice, an appreciation of the obstacles faced by our indigent clients – including issues of race, gender, class, and ethnicity – and the ability to work effectively in a diverse and progressive office environment. 

Responsibilities:

  • Monitoring Appellate Division orders for newly assigned cases;
  • Opening case files and gathering information about new cases;
  • Creating and maintaining database entries for new cases;
  • Digitizing, filing, and responding to client letters, questionnaires and releases;
  • Responding to calls from clients and their family members;
  • Securing, copying and scanning court files and trial counsel files;
  • Ordering transcripts and exhibits;
  • Assisting with cataloguing and organizing discovery;
  • Reviewing case files before assignment to attorney teams;
  • Sending affidavits and drafting motions;
  • Maintaining grant management system information, and assisting with grant application filings;
  • Corresponding with court staff;
  • Scheduling legal calls with clients and communicating with prison officials regarding conditions issues;
  • Visiting clients in prison.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Talent for managing multiple tasks simultaneously and efficiently;
  • Ability to work on a team and independently;
  • Flexible self-starter who is willing to tackle new projects and take on additional work, as needed;
  • Strong belief in the value and importance of communication with and respect for clients.

Salary:
Competitive salary with excellent benefits. 

To Apply:
Please send substantive cover letter, resume, and salary history by email to jobs@appellatedefender.org, with “Paralegal/Intake Specialist” in the subject line.

Finance And Administration Officer

OAD seeks an experienced, flexible person to handle all accounting functions, and human resources administration. Candidate must have strong analytical and communication skills, including the ability to work with all levels of employees, board members, vendors and funders. In addition, candidate must be committed to social justice and the mission of OAD and must be able to work well in a diverse and progressive office environment.

Finance Responsibilities

  • Maintain effective financial relationships with government funders by assisting with contract and amendment reviews, adhering to billing and analytical requirements, and providing data on OAD as needed; 
  • Perform all accounts payable and receivables functions including submission of invoices to government agencies using their online systems;
  • Handle bill payment;
  • Reconcile accounting system (Quickbooks) with fundraising database;
  • Handle credit card processing and bank reconciliations;
  • Manage cash and arrange and manage credit facilities;
  • Negotiate and maintain vendor relationships and conduct analyses to determine best vendor(s) based on price and service;
  • Pro-actively maintain insurance coverage, including consistently re-evaluating current conditions and securing different coverage as needed; 
  • Determine and execute appropriate expense allocation methodologies;
  • Maintain all payroll data, oversee time keeping/attendance system and reconcile bi-weekly payroll runs;
  • Develop periodic financial reports and variance analyses, and assist with budget development and tracking;
  • Prepare financial analyses for external (financial), government and Worker’s Compensation audits;
  • Prepare underlying analyses for financial statements and Form 990;
  • Work with all auditors providing data/analyses as requested.

Human Resources and Administration Responsibilities

  • Streamline and standardize recruitment and hiring processes, including assisting OAD staff in developing job announcements, executing outreach strategies, screening candidates, interviewing, checking references and extending job offers;
  • Assist OAD staff with the management of the new hire orientation process, including W-4s, hire letters, direct deposit, etc;
  • Maintain personnel files;
  • Work with outside consultant(s) in determining nature and cost of annual benefits provided to employees;
  • Administer the employee benefit plans including medical, flexible spending and health reimbursement plans, disability, pension plans, TransitCheks;
  • Develop and/or update organizational policies and procedures for effectiveness;
  • Ensure compliance with key filing and reporting dates.

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in Business, Finance, or Accounting; 
  • At least 5 -7 years relevant experience, preferably in the non-profit sector; 
  • Excellent organizational skills; 
  • Proficiency in Quickbooks Pro and Excel.

Salary:
Competitive salary with excellent benefits. 

To Apply:
Please send cover letter, resume, and salary history by email to jobs@appellatedefender.org, with “Finance and Administration Officer” in the subject line.

Client Services Director

OAD seeks a Client Services Director (CSD) to join its talented team.  This position is designed to ensure that OAD’s attorneys and staff are able to effectively and compassionately respond to the unique circumstances confronting OAD’s clients, including, but not limited to, the effects of trauma; the mental, physical, social, economic and familial challenges arising from incarceration and solitary confinement; and the difficulties of post-incarceration community re-integration.  Thus, the CSD is an interdisciplinary position rooted in the intersecting fields of criminal law, social work, policy, administration and counseling.  Working hand-in-hand with the OAD attorneys, the CSD will support and advocate for clients while in prison, in parole proceedings, during re-entry, and in appellate and post-conviction litigation.

Responsibilities

  •  Establish an early transition re-entry program, including a referral network of partnerships and memoranda of understanding with NYC social services, governmental and non-profit agencies;
  • Assist clients who are nearing the end of a term of incarceration, through the early days of re-entry, to address housing, government benefits, employment, mental health services and education needs;
  • Organize and lead client group meetings;
  • Foster relationships with, and conduct site-visits of, organizations/agencies who are, or will be, frequent service providers to OAD clients;
  • Coordinate with the Social Workers/Client Advocates/Mitigation Specialists at New York City’s other institutional public defender providers to stay abreast of the issues, resources and policies affecting people involved in the criminal justice system, and ensure that OAD clients have access to all necessary services;
  • Work closely with all OAD attorneys, especially those handling cases involving serious mental illness, sex offender registration, youth/adolescence, and other vulnerable populations;
  • As needed and when appropriate for the CSD responsibilities, assist OAD’s paralegals with the collection and analysis of medical, psychiatric, educational and institutional records;
  • Contribute to written submissions, including sentencing mitigation reports and parole advocacy petitions;
  • Participate in meetings with clients and their family members;
  • Assist attorneys with expert witnesses;
  • Appear in court when appropriate;
  • Lead trainings for attorneys and other social workers; and
  • Travel to New York State prisons to meet with clients and corrections agencies’ regional and central staff.

Qualifications

  • M.S.W. required, L.C.S.W. preferred;
  • Experience working with at-risk client populations (preferably with criminal justice involvement);
  • Advanced writing skills;
  • Knowledge of criminal procedure, government administration, social service, and forensic approaches is desired; and
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.  

Salary:

Competitive salary with excellent benefits.

To Apply:

Please send substantive cover letter and resume by email to jobs@appellatedefender.org, with “Client Services Director” in the subject line.

Staff Attorney

(Starting After July 1, 2018)

OAD seeks a Staff Attorney, for a three-year position, to join its outstanding team.  Each OAD Staff Attorney is closely supervised, including “double-teaming” of each case.  Under the “double-teaming” method, the Supervisor assigned to the case reads the entire appellate record, and works closely with the Staff Attorney to identify appellate issues and develop a theory of the case.  The Supervisor also edits drafts of the briefs and helps to prepare the Staff Attorney for oral argument.  This model provides high-quality training to Staff Attorneys, while assuring that no client is compromised by being represented by a less-experienced attorney.

OAD is devoted to maintaining a staff of lawyers with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Every OAD staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending the disadvantaged. 

Responsibilities:

  • Representing poor people convicted of felonies in Manhattan and the Bronx on direct appeal in the Appellate Division and the New York Court of Appeals; in post-conviction motions and hearings; in hearings to determine classification level pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA); and in federal habeas corpus challenges to state court convictions;
  • Extensive researching and writing of appellate briefs;
  • Case conferencing, strategy development, client communication, and legal visits;
  • Advising clients of potential appellate options, including withdrawal of guilty pleas, where appropriate, and negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction;
  • Assisting clients with parole proceedings and re-entry preparation.

 Qualifications:

  • J.D. degree;
  • Admission to the New York Bar, ability to promptly secure such admission, or registration for July 2018 New York Bar Examination;
  • Outstanding legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to representing poor people convicted of crimes;
  • Strong belief in the value and importance of communication with and respect for clients;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently;
  • Prior criminal defense experience, particularly at the appellate level, is highly preferred.

Salary and Benefits:

Salary for OAD staff attorneys is based on years of experience, and currently starts at $54,000 for law graduates.  OAD offers an excellent benefits package.

Application Process:

Applications will be considered and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis.  Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing sample, and cover letter.  The cover letter should address.

  1. Why the applicant is interested in working at OAD;
  2. What skills or experiences make the applicant a strong candidate.

Application materials should be sent by email to staffattorney2018@appellatedefender.org, with a subject line in the email stating: Staff Attorney Position 2018.  If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with Question in the subject line.

Supervising Attorney

OAD currently seeks a Supervising Attorney to join its talented staff.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients and supervise staff attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and law student interns on all aspects of client representation on direct appeal in the Appellate Division and the New York Court of Appeals, including case conferencing and strategy development, client communication and legal visits, brief drafting, oral argument, and leave applications.

  • Represent clients and supervise staff attorneys in post-conviction matters in State court, including filing post-conviction motions and conducting hearings challenging the lawfulness of convictions and sentences pursuant to Article 440 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law, as well as engaging in reinvestigation efforts as necessary.

  • Represent clients and supervise staff attorneys in hearings to determine classification level pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

  • Represent clients and supervise staff attorneys in federal habeas corpus challenges to state court convictions.

  • Advise clients as to all potential appellate options, including withdrawal of guilty pleas, where appropriate, as well as negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction.

  • Assist clients with parole proceedings and reentry preparation.

  • Develop and conduct training programs for incoming staff attorneys and pro bono attorneys, as well as CLE and training programs for outside defender organizations and assigned counsel, on substantive, procedural and practice-oriented criminal law topics.

  • Assist in supervision and management of staff attorney caseloads.

  • Assist with Intake evaluation of cases.

  • Participate in administrative and office policy development, including staff evaluation and recruitment.

Qualifications:

  • J.D. degree, with at least 5 years of appellate litigation experience.

  • Admission to the New York Bar, or ability to secure immediate admission to the New York Bar pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 520.10.

  • Outstanding legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.

  • Demonstrated commitment to representing poor people convicted of crimes. 

  • Strong belief in the value and importance of communication with and respect for clients.

  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently.

  • Supervisory and case management experience strongly preferred, with an interest in and commitment to the professional development, training and support of attorneys, legal interns, and administrative staff.

  • Experience in trial court, particularly in post-conviction proceedings, is a plus.

Please submit your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to jobs@appellatedefender.org, with a subject line in the email stating: Supervising Attorney Position.