JOBS

SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY, REINVESTIGATION PROJECT

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is one of New York City’s oldest providers of legal representation to people who cannot afford to pay an attorney for the appeal of a felony conviction. 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. OAD is committed to developing and litigating innovative legal theories that most effectively demonstrate the injustices that our clients have experienced.

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 motions to overturn wrongful convictions (including claims based on new or undisclosed evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, and ineffective assistance of counsel), sex offender registration level hearings, and resentencings. OAD additionally advocates for improved prison and parole conditions, and provides reentry assistance.

Since 2007, OAD’s Reinvestigation Project has reviewed every case assigned to OAD by the Appellate Division, First Department, for potential wrongful convictions. The Project aims to identify potential wrongful convictions as soon as possible and, where appropriate, reinvestigate before the appeal is perfected, and, as a result, drastically reduce human and financial costs. The Project also reviews claims of wrongful conviction from clients whose cases have long since become final, undertaking difficult and time-consuming investigations of very old cases.

OAD seeks a Senior Staff Attorney to join its talented staff. This hybrid role covers both OAD’s appellate practice and post-conviction work with its Reinvestigation Project. The ideal candidate will be well-versed in wrongful conviction issues; will have experience in case investigation; will have significant experience in criminal defense trial, appellate, and/or post-conviction litigation; and will possess strong written and oral advocacy skills.

OAD is devoted to maintaining a staff of lawyers with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We seek a team member who is committed to public service and criminal justice reform, and who possesses an understanding of pervasive racial and economic issues embedded in the administration of criminal justice.

Responsibilities:

  • Advise clients as to all potential appellate options, and represent clients 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 in post-conviction matters in Bronx and New York County Supreme Courts, including researching, writing, and filing post-conviction motions, and litigating evidentiary hearings challenging the lawfulness of convictions and sentences, pursuant to Article 440 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law;
  • Reinvestigate and evaluate felony convictions by, inter alia, reviewing trial discovery, interviewing trial attorneys, conducting field investigation, supervising investigators and interns, consulting with experts, and coordinating with other OAD attorneys on case reinvestigations;
  • Negotiate pleas or other dispositions following reversal or vacatur of convictions;
  • Litigate evidentiary hearings ordered on remand from the Appellate Division, First Department, including suppression hearings and reconstruction hearings;
  • Represent clients in other proceedings in Bronx and New York County Supreme Courts, including re-sentencings, hearings to determine classification level, pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), and bail applications;
  • 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.

Qualifications:

  • J.D. degree, with a strong preference for at least five years of relevant experience, which could include trial court, appellate court, and/or postconviction 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;
  • Significant experience in case investigation and familiarity with wrongful conviction issues, such as eyewitness identification and false confessions;
  • Significant experience with New York City criminal defense practice is preferred, and experience as a defense attorney collaborating with conviction integrity units in prosecutorial offices is a plus;
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently and to litigate cases with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to occasionally supervise staff attorneys, pro bono attorneys, and law students in the litigation of direct appeals, post-conviction motions, or SORA hearings;
  • Commitment to public defense and holistic representation of indigent clients;
  • Excellent written and oral advocacy skills;
  • Spanish language fluency is a plus.

Salary:

Competitive salary with excellent benefits.

To Apply:

Application materials, including substantive cover letter, resume, and writing sample should be addressed to Margaret Knight, Recruitment Director, and sent by email to jobs@oadnyc.org. The subject line in the email should state: Senior Staff Attorney, Reinvestigation 2021. If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with Question in the subject line.

The Office of the Appellate Defender is committed to providing equal employment opportunities without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, disability or genetic information.

STAFF ATTORNEY

(Immediate Openings)

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) seeks a Staff Attorney, for a three-year position, to join its outstanding team.

OAD is one of New York City’s oldest providers of legal representation to people who cannot afford to pay an attorney for the appeal of a felony conviction. 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. 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 recruiting, hiring, and retaining a staff of lawyers from different cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, ages, genders, and physical abilities, especially lawyers from those groups that have historically been underrepresented  in the legal profession and appellate practice. OAD recognizes that our clients are predominantly Black and Brown people who deserve unbiased, legal representation and to be seen as human beings beyond their criminal convictions and firmly believes that a diverse staff is important to providing this standard of representation. Every OAD staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending people who have been disadvantaged by legal and economic systems. 

For these lateral positions, we are seeking both attorneys with appellate experience and lawyers who may not have appellate experience, but have strong motion and brief writing skills transferable to the appellate context. 

During the interview process, we are excited to share more about our “double-teaming” supervision model, team discussion groups and one-on-one mentoring, decarceration advocacy, and racial justice in the appellate process.  Our current staff attorney model is a three-year fellowship with the possibility of a one- or two- year extension.

Responsibilities:

  • Representing people who cannot afford legal representation 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 appeals where appropriate, and negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction;
  • Collaborating with the Client Services Director and Client Services Coordinators to address prison condition issues and to assist clients with parole proceedings and re-entry preparation

Qualifications:

  • J.D. degree, with a strong preference for at least two years of criminal defense experience;
  • Admission to the New York Bar, ability to promptly secure such admission, or registration for February 2022 New York Bar Examination;
  • Outstanding legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to representing people experiencing poverty who were convicted of crimes;
  • Strong belief in the value and importance of communication with and respect for clients;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and independently;

Salary and Benefits:

Salary for OAD staff attorneys is based on years of experience, and currently starts at $71,436 for law graduates and increases based upon the number of years post-law school. OAD offers an excellent benefits package and work/life balance.

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 addressed to Margaret Knight, Recruitment Director, and sent by email to jobs@oadnyc.org. The subject line in the email should state: Staff Attorney - Immediate Openings. If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with Question in the subject line.

STAFF ATTORNEY

(Starting in September 2022)

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) seeks a Staff Attorney, for a three-year position, to join its outstanding team.

OAD is one of New York City’s oldest providers of legal representation to people who cannot afford to pay an attorney for the appeal of a felony conviction. 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. 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.

Additionally, OAD strives to improve the quality of indigent defense through our intensive training program for new Staff Attorneys. Each OAD Staff Attorney is closely supervised through a process called “double-teaming.” Under the “double-teaming” method, the Supervisor assigned to the case reads the appellate record and works closely with the Staff Attorney to identify 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. Each oral argument is mooted by the Supervisor and a team of colleagues. This model provides comprehensive training to Staff Attorneys, while ensuring that OAD clients receive exceptional advocacy. After three years of this intensive, hands-on training, OAD alumni depart prepared to provide zealous representation to clients at all stages of the criminal process. Based upon established criteria, a staff attorney may be granted a one or two-year extension.

OAD is devoted to maintaining a staff of lawyers from various cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities. Every OAD staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending people who have been disadvantaged by legal and economic systems.

Responsibilities:

  • Representing people who cannot afford legal representation 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 appeals where appropriate, and negotiating pleas or other remedies following reversal of conviction;
  • Collaborating with the Client Services Director and Client Services Coordinators to address prison condition issues and to assist 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 2022 New York Bar Examination;
  • Outstanding legal research, writing, and oral advocacy skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to representing people experiencing poverty who were 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, including participation in law school clinics and internships, 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 $71,436 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 addressed to Margaret Knight, Recruitment Director, and sent by email to jobs@oadnyc.org. The subject line in the email should state: Staff Attorney Position 2022. If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with Question in the subject line.

LEGAL INTERN

(Summer 2022)

OAD interns will have the opportunity to work on a direct appeal under the supervision of an OAD attorney. This will involve reading the entire appellate record and working closely with the OAD attorney to identify appellate issues and develop a theory of the case. The internship includes the potential to draft a legal brief and present the case at oral argument before the Appellate Division, First Department. In addition, our interns will work on discrete research projects in cutting-edge areas of the criminal law and criminal procedure. Opportunities to assist our clients in collateral advocacy may also be available.

OAD is devoted to maintaining a staff from various cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities. Every OAD staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending people who have been disadvantaged by legal and economic systems.

This is an unpaid internship. OAD encourages its interns to seek external sources of funding and will sponsor students in their efforts to seek such funding.

Application Process:

Applications will be considered 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 addressed to Margaret Knight, Recruitment Director, and sent by email to jobs@oadnyc.org, with a subject line in the email stating: Summer Internship 2022. If necessary, questions may be directed to the same email address, with Question in the subject line.

OAD is an Equal Opportunity Employer

We provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, creed, color religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, disability or genetic information.