Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) Position Announcement

Law Fellow: Fingerprint Project

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is hiring a law fellow for a one-year fellowship. We are looking for an energetic individual with relevant experience to help us use fingerprint evidence to free people serving life or virtual life sentences Louisiana’s prisons. This is a full time position. The fellowship is grant funded and will likely be renewed for a second year. Staff are currently working remotely. The physical office is located in Mid City, New Orleans.


About IPNO and the Fingerprint Project

Founded in 2001, IPNO frees innocent people who are serving life sentences, supports them living well and fully in the world after their release and advocates for sensible criminal justice policies that reduce wrongful convictions.

IPNO has freed or exonerated 36 innocent people. In four of these people’s cases, the exoneration happened because of the discovery of fingerprint evidence that was unlawfully withheld from the defense at trial or because new leads were uncovered using reanalysis of existing fingerprint evidence using the recently created Next Generation Interface for fingerprint databases. IPNO has recently received funding to use fingerprint evidence to find more innocent people and free them from prison.

About the Fellowship:

The Fingerprint Project Law Fellow will, in coordination with IPNO’s existing casework team, work to identify cases in which innocence might be proved using fingerprint evidence and then litigate these cases. This requires (not an exhaustive list):

  • Working with IPNO’s case review staff to identify cases in which fingerprint evidence might be probative from among those in IPNO’s intake system;
  • Working with law enforcement records to identify possible cases in which fingerprint evidence might be probative;
  • Investigating case records and, where necessary, litigating to enforce rights under the Louisiana Public Records Act;
  • Securing access to fingerprint databases by negotiation and litigation;
  • Seeking post-conviction relief based on fingerprint evidence discovered in the course of the fellow’s investigations;
  • Communicating regularly and, when possible, meeting with clients and potential clients.

IPNO is a small nonprofit so, in addition to their primary duties, the fellow will be expected to assist as necessary with other aspects of IPNO’s work such as fundraising, public education and advocacy, special events, policy efforts, office administration, and post-release assistance of clients. IPNO is a client-focused office where teamwork and collaboration to ensure IPNO’s overall effectiveness and success are expected and valued.

Requirements for the role:

  • J.D. or equivalent, along with license to practice law in Louisiana or eligibility to take the Louisiana bar exam at the next available opportunity.
  • Computer literacy, including experience using common office software including Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Willingness to travel (largely in-state) and work irregular hours when necessary.
  • The ability to communicate and work cooperatively with a wide range of people, including government personnel and officials, law enforcement, attorneys, records custodians, students, incarcerated individuals and their families, and members of the community.
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills.
  • Strong oral advocacy skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage time and tasks on one’s own.
  • Ability to work in a team and receive constructive feedback.
  • Ability to effectively delegate to and supervise investigators, law clerks and volunteers.
  • Valid driver’s license.

Preferences for the role:

  • Existing ties to Louisiana.
  • Knowledge/experience concerning:
    • Louisiana criminal law and criminal justice system.
    • Developing investigative plans.
    • Performing factual research by obtaining and using documents (need not be in the legal field).
    • Project management.
    • Working with people in prison.

Salary and benefits:

The fellowship salary for this position is up to $55,000 commensurate with experience. IPNO offers a highly competitive and generous benefits package, including medical/dental/vision, five weeks paid vacation, Federal holidays, 401k match, and cell phone reimbursement. IPNO provides a work environment that encourages health and self-care. IPNO is a family and pet friendly workplace.


Start Date: Immediate. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

To apply, please e-mail a cover letter, including salary requirement, resume, three references, and a writing sample (no longer than 10 pages) to Do not call.

Please include the job title in the e-mail subject line. Applicants that have applied for another opening at IPNO are eligible to apply for this position, but please identify any other positions applied for in your cover letter.

IPNO is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse work force reflective of the diverse communities we serve and support, with regard to race, culture, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, caregiver status. IPNO works to advance racial justice and equity. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and legal system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.