Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO)

Staff Attorney

Start Date: Immediate

Open Until Filled

About IPNO

IPNO frees innocent people sentenced to life in prison and those serving unjust sentences. We recognize the root causes of wrongful convictions and unjust sentences as systemic racism and inequities. We work to expose and address these root causes by sharing our clients’ stories in court, the legislature, the community and the media. We support our clients living well and fully in the world after their release.

Founded in 2001, IPNO has freed or exonerated 64 individuals from all across Louisiana. IPNO developed and teaches the first Wrongful Conviction Clinic at LSU Law School, built and is continually expanding the Louisiana Law Enforcement Accountability Database ( to promote transparency and accountability, and advocates for law and policy changes to make our criminal legal system more just and fair.

About the Position:

The core role of an IPNO staff attorney is to manage and litigate cases from the point at which the potential client is identified until the moment the client is exonerated. This requires:

  • Plan and direct post-conviction factual investigations working with IPNO’s staff investigators. Gather and review voluminous case records in a methodical, efficient manner. Most IPNO cases involve dozens of witnesses and thousands of pages of documents.
  • Craft and plan clear case and litigation strategy to win.
  • Thorough legal research skills. Write extensive pleadings, legal memos, briefs and motions.
  • Conduct evidentiary hearings and oral arguments.
  • Work with a wide-range of forensic and other experts, and manage DNA and other forensic testing.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors.
  • Work with IPNO’s Client Services Division and assist with post-release planning for clients.
  • Communicate effectively with potential clients, clients and their family members.

** IPNO is a small nonprofit legal office where, in addition to their primary duties, all staff is expected to assist as necessary with other aspects of IPNO’s work. IPNO is a client-focused office where teamwork and collaboration to ensure IPNO’s overall effectiveness and success is imperative.

Required Qualifications:

  • J.D. or equivalent, along with license to practice law in Louisiana or eligibility or registration to take the February 2024 Bar Exam.
  • 3+ years of postconviction/federal habeas litigation experience or 4+ years of experience in criminal defense (trial or appellate) and/or civil rights litigation (up to one year of the required experience may be as a judicial law clerk at a court with jurisdiction over criminal cases).
  • Client-centered approach and understanding of legal representation.
  • Excellent analytic and writing skills. Ability to construct cogent legal arguments.
  • Computer literacy, including experience using common office software.
  • Good oral advocacy skills and experience litigating in court.
  • The ability to communicate and work cooperatively with a wide range of people, including government personnel and officials, law enforcement, attorneys, records custodians, students, imprisoned individuals and their families, and members of the community.
  • Honed organizational skills and time management skills.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team, and receive constructive feedback.
  • Ability to effectively delegate to and supervise investigators, law clerks and volunteers.
  • Ability to travel extensively throughout Louisiana.
  • Willingness to work irregular hours when necessary.
  • Valid driver’s license.

Preferences for the role:

  • Existing ties to Louisiana.
  • Understanding of DNA testing.
  • Knowledge of other forensic disciplines.

Salary and benefits:

The salary range for this position is $65,000 – $ 81,000 with a very competitive benefits package including medical/dental coverage, 30 days of paid vacation, and 401k match. We observe federal holidays, and the office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Salary will be determined commensurate with experience.


The position will be open until filled. Please e-mail a cover letter, C.V., 3 references, and a writing sample (no longer than 10 pages) to  Please include a salary demand in your cover letter. Please include the job title in the e-mail subject line. Do not call.

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, and 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.