The Office of Capital and Forensic Writs (OCFW) is seeking
bright and motivated law students interested in capital defense for
clerkships during both summer and semester periods.
The OCFW is a statewide public defender office located in
Austin, Texas that represents death-sentenced persons in their
state post-conviction litigation. The OCFW, then known as the
Office of Capital Writs, opened its doors in 2010, representing
death-sentenced persons in state post-conviction proceedings. On
September 1, 2015, the scope of the Office's mission expanded to
include the representation of a select number of capital and
non-capital inmates raising challenges through forensic science
writs, and its name changed to reflect the expanded mandate. The
OCFW represents a substantial majority of persons sentenced to
death in Texas in state habeas and related proceedings, and is
committed to client-centered and excellent post-conviction
representation. This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a
difference in Texas.
As post-conviction counsel, attorneys and clerks at the OCFW
have the privilege of investigating constitutional violations
that have occurred at the trial level, including issues at both the
guilt/innocence and punishment phases of trial. Under the
supervision of OCFW staff attorneys and investigators, clerks are
provided an exciting opportunity to conduct investigation, meet
with clients, and hone legal research and writing skills.
Clerks can expect to work on capital cases at various stages of
litigation, allowing for a broader understanding of how
post-conviction representation works.
Preferred qualifications: demonstrated interest in indigent
defense or a related field; knowledge of substantive and procedural
principles of criminal and constitutional law; excellent research
and writing skills; strong communication skills; commitment to
culturally-competent representation; and interest in working with
diverse populations. Spanish-speaking ability is also a plus.
Clerkships are unpaid. The OCFW, however, will work with
applicants to obtain academic credit through their schools and
applicants may seek funding through their law school and other
sources. People of color and persons from backgrounds that
are underrepresented in the legal profession are especially
encouraged to apply.
To apply, please email a letter of interest and resume to Derek.VerHagen@ocfw.texas.gov.