Staff Attorney

STAFF ATTORNEY

The Office of Capital and Forensic Writs (“OCFW”) is a public defender office in Austin that represents incarcerated individuals in state post-conviction litigation. We provide zealous post-conviction representation to indigent persons in Texas, consistent with the Guidelines and Standards for Texas Capital Counsel and the Supplementary Guidelines and Standards for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Texas Death Penalty Cases adopted by the State Bar of Texas. We raise claims relating to the constitutionality of convictions and sentences through two separate programs: 

  1. Investigating and litigating constitutional claims relating to death penalty convictions and sentences;
  2. Representing incarcerated persons where questionable forensic science tainted their convictions. 

This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in Texas.

OCFW Mission:

The OCFW’s mission is to ensure full and equal access to justice by providing high-quality and client-centered representation in Texas throughout the post-conviction process.

OCFW Values:

The OCFW values dedication, compassion, collaboration and dignity, and believes these values to be the cornerstone of all that we do. Our office is dedicated to client interests, professional development, and high-quality representation. We endeavor to work through an anti-oppressive lens, display compassion in our work to our clients, the community at large, each other and ourselves. We foster a collaborative and supportive environment and empower each other in our work protecting the rights of our clients. We strive to be free from bias or favoritism and to treat all with respect.

Diversity Statement:

OCFW is devoted to maintaining a staff with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Every OCFW staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending people from underserved communities. We are specifically seeking candidates with Spanish language skills and/or those from communities disproportionately impacted by systemic injustice, whose lived experiences contribute to client representation.

We are committed to cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities. We are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce.

Job Description:

A staff attorney will be responsible for working on multi-disciplinary teams to provide holistic, post-conviction representation to death-sentenced clients in State habeas proceedings. Aspects of this work include:

  • Building rapport with and counseling clients;
  • Reviewing trial and appellate records for constitutional error;
  • Investigating and drafting claims;
  • Litigating live evidentiary hearings through direct and cross examination;
  • Appellate advocacy in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Supreme Court;
  • Collaborating skillfully, litigating strategically and providing compassionate representation;
  • Valuing the expertise of and working well with mitigation specialists and other team members.

Given the nature of the work, staff attorneys should expect to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays. Travel throughout Texas is required. Salary is dependent on experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Member of the Texas State Bar or eligible for admission within six months of employment (Please note that UBE scores can be transferred to Texas, and that the Texas Bar allows for the admission without examination for certain applicants who have practiced law for at least five out of the last seven years. See Rule XIII, Rules of The Supreme Court Governing Admission to The Bar of Texas).
  • At least 2 years of relevant experience, or a combination of experience and:
    • serving as a judicial law clerk or staff attorney; or
    • relevant work while in law school.
  • A strong commitment to the representation of death-sentenced persons, and persons from marginalized communities.
  • Dedication to working with low income and communities of color, a keen awareness of the class and racial issues pervading the criminal legal system and a firm commitment to anti-racism.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in team settings; strengths in teamwork, and relationship building.    
  • Excellent potential for research, writing, and courtroom advocacy skills.
  • Capacity to think critically, creatively and multi-task in fast-paced settings.
  • Exceptional judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Five or more years of relevant experience.
  • Prior experience in areas of investigation, mitigation, post-conviction litigation, trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, or forensic science.
  • Spanish fluency.                                                                                            

Employment Conditions:

  • Pursuant to state law, OCFW may not employ an attorney who has been found by a state or federal court to have rendered ineffective assistance of counsel.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment and software.
  • A valid driver’s license, and the willingness to operate a motor vehicle for client-representation purposes.
  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout Texas and, on occasion, out of state; frequent travel is required for this position.

Additional Details:

Posting Date:                              January 11. 2021        

Closing Date:                               Until filled

Job Listing Number:                     215-21-01

OCFW Job Title:                          Staff Attorney

Location:                                      Austin, TX

State Job Title:                             Attorney II/III/IV  (depending on experience)

State Salary Step:                        B23, B25, B27

Anticipated salary range:             60,000 to 85,000 (depending on experience)

Type of Job:                                  Full Time

FLSA Status:                                Exempt

Travel Required:                           Yes (25%)

Note:

Veterans are encouraged to apply and credit for applicable military occupational experience will be given. The following Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) codes are generally applicable to this position: 27A, 250X, LGL10, 4402, 4405, 4406, 4407, 4408, 4409, 4410, 4417, 51JX, 92JO. Applicants must fully complete the summary of military experience applicable to the position to determine if minimum qualifications are met.

Additional Military Crosswalk information can be accessed at https://hr.sao.texas.gov/Compensation/MilitaryCrosswalk/MOSC_Legal.pdf. 

To apply:

Please email the following materials to hiring@ocfw.texas.gov:

(1) a letter of interest explaining interest in working on behalf of death-sentenced individuals;

(2) a resume;

(3) a list of references; and

(4) the mandated State of Texas Application for Employment (available at: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/state-texas-application-employment). 

 

The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, complexion, national origin, sex, religion or religious beliefs, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military veteran status.

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 or sandra.justice@ocfw.texas.gov.

 



Updated Monday, January 11, 2021