Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO)
Staff Attorney, Unjust Punishment Project
Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is hiring a staff attorney for its Unjust Punishment Project. We are looking for an energetic individual with at least two years of relevant experience to help us free people serving long sentences for non-violent offenses from Louisiana’s prisons. This is a full time position.
About IPNO and the Unjust Punishment Project
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.
Started in 2019, the Unjust Punishment Project (UPP) advocates for the release of people serving life or near-life sentences for non-violent offenses through thoughtful and creative litigation and advocacy.
About the Position:
The UPP staff attorney will, in coordination with the UPP team, work to free people serving long sentences for non-violent offenses in Louisiana’s Department of Corrections through litigation and other advocacy. This requires:
- Identifying people in DOC custody eligible for relief under the mandate of UPP;
- Determining avenues for possible sentencing relief and drafting appropriate petitions, motions, briefs and/or mitigation letters;
- Conducting hearings on legal motions and re-sentencing as needed;
- Working with investigators and social workers to formulate a sentencing mitigation and re-entry plan;
- Coordinating records collection from the Department of Corrections and other agencies as appropriate;
- Corresponding regularly and, when possible, meeting with clients;
- Providing other program support as identified by the director of special projects; and
- Providing assistance as needed to the legal director and/or other IPNO attorneys on post-conviction cases of factually innocent people.
IPNO is a small nonprofit so, in addition to performing the programmatic tasks, the attorney 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 willingness to sit for the next Louisiana bar exam.
- At least two years’ litigation experience involving criminal defense or relevant civil rights work.
- 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.
- Computer literacy, including experience using common office software including Microsoft Office Suite.
- Willingness to travel (largely in-state) and work irregular hours when necessary.
Preferences for the role:
- Existing ties to Louisiana.
- Knowledge/experience concerning:
- Louisiana criminal law and criminal legal system.
- Developing investigative plans.
- Interviewing witnesses and drafting statements/affidavits.
- Thorough legal researching skills.
Salary and benefits:
The salary for this position is $55,000 – $64,000, commensurate with experience. IPNO offers a highly competitive and generous benefits package, including medical/dental/vision, six 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.
StaApplications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Please e-mail a cover letter, including salary requirement, resume, 3 references, and a writing sample (no longer than 10 pages) to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, 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.