The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is New York City’s oldest provider of appellate representation to poor people convicted of felonies, and the City’s second oldest institutional indigent defense office. Since its founding in 1988, OAD has maintained a national reputation for superb appellate advocacy and innovation, as well as a holistic approach to representation. OAD has been repeatedly recognized by the New York State Bar Association, and the appellate courts, for excellent representation.
OAD’s core mission is to ensure full and equal access to justice by providing high-quality and client-centered representation throughout the appellate process. In furtherance of this goal, we employ a unique “double-teaming” method that pairs a Supervising Attorney with a Staff Attorney to closely collaborate in the client’s representation in every case. This approach enables our attorneys to hone in on the best issues for appeal, to tell our clients’ stories effectively, and to identify and pursue other forms of advocacy that are most effective for each client’s unique circumstances. OAD is committed to developing and litigating innovative legal theories that most effectively demonstrate the injustices that our clients have experienced.
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.
- Providing holistic, post-conviction representation to indigent persons convicted of felonies in Manhattan and the Bronx, including but not limited to:
- Direct appeals in the Appellate Division and the New York Court of Appeals, including assisting with intake evaluation of cases;
- Advising clients as to all potential appellate options, including withdrawal of appeals, where appropriate, as well as negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction;
- Post-conviction motions and 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;
- Hearings to determine classification level pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA);
- Federal habeas corpus challenges to state court convictions; and
- Parole proceedings and reentry preparation.
- Supervising staff attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and law student interns on all aspects of client representation through OAD’s “double-teaming” model, including but not limited to:
- Development of case theory: familiarity with case records, issue conferencing, and strategy development;
- Drafting of pleadings: editing and framing of briefs, leave applications, post-conviction motions;
- Oral argument: mooting and issue selection; and
- The attorney-client relationship: client communication, legal visits, and issues of race, gender, mental health, and the trauma of incarceration.
- Training attorneys on staff and outside the organization, including but not limited to:
- Annual training programs for incoming staff attorneys and pro bono attorneys on substantive, procedural, and practice-oriented criminal law topics;
- CLE and training programs for outside defender organizations and assigned counsel;
- Mentorship of staff attorneys in one-on-one and group settings; and
- Providing feedback and evaluations for staff attorneys.
- Participate in office leadership and decision-making, including but not limited to:
- Give advice on office-wide legal policies and best practices, in light of the needs of the clients and the impact of racial and class disparities in the criminal legal system;
- Recruitment and selection of staff;
- Supervision and management of caseloads for staff attorneys; and
- Supporting the development of an inclusive office culture that centers racial equity.
- J.D. degree, with at least 7 years of litigation experience and a preference for at least 4 years of appellate criminal litigation..
- Admission to the New York Bar, or ability to secure immediate admission to the New York Bar pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 520.10.
- 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 with immigration and collateral consequences is a plus, as is experience in trial court, particularly in post-conviction proceedings.
- Demonstrated commitment to representing poor people convicted of crimes, and a strong belief in the value of communication with clients.
- Outstanding legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
- Ability to work both collaboratively and independently.
Please submit your resume, cover letter, and writing sample by email to: email@example.com, with a subject line in the email stating: Supervising Attorney Position. Application materials should be addressed to Margaret Knight, Recruitment Director. If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with "Question" in the subject line.