Postgraduate Fellowships

Fellowship Sponsorships

The Office of Capital and Forensic Writs (OCFW) is eager to sponsor dedicated and passionate recent law school graduates for one or two-year postgraduate fellowship positions starting in fall 2018. These include both project-based fellowships and law school-based fellowships.  In recent years, we have successfully sponsored a number of public interest fellows from a variety of programs. 

The OCFW is the Texas public defender office located in Austin, Texas that represents death-sentenced persons in their state post-conviction litigation. We represent a majority of persons sentenced to death in Texas in state post-conviction proceedings, and are committed to client-centered and excellent post-conviction representation.

Fellows assist both attorneys and investigators in all aspects of our work. Attorneys and fellows 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. We give our fellows a great deal of responsibility and they have been instrumental in many of our successes.  Depending on what needs to be done in our cases at a given time, fellows should expect to do several of the following tasks while they are at OCFW:

  • conduct legal research and draft pleadings;
  • write motions and briefs;
  • locate and interview witnesses;
  • visit and interview clients;
  • participate in case strategy sessions;
  • locate, obtain, and organize documentary evidence;
  • read and digest capital trial transcripts;
  • conduct social science and other research;
  • locate and prepare expert and other witnesses to testify in evidentiary hearings.

This is an excellent opportunity to both gain valuable capital post-conviction experience and make a difference in Texas. We expect our fellows to be committed, and to work hard, have fun, and learn a great deal. Our clients and witnesses are located outside of the Austin area; as such, fellows should expect to travel throughout Texas. Preferred qualifications include a demonstrated interest in indigent defense, excellent research and writing skills, and commitment to culturally competent representation. Spanish-speaking ability is also a plus. People of color and persons from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the legal profession are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants should identify a primary source of funding, such as law schools or public interest fellowship grant-making organizations. The OCFW will assist applicants with funding applications.   

Interested candidates should send application materials (cover letter, resume, list of references, and writing sample) to Ashley Steele (ashley.steele@ocfw.texas.gov).  Please apply as early as possible. We will review applications on a rolling basis. 

The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, any request for reasonable accommodations needed during the application process should be communicated by the applicant to Sandra Justice, the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs Senior Accountant, at (512) 463-8520.



Updated Monday, September 11, 2017