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Paralegal, Special Litigation

Innocence Project

Innocence Project

Legal
New York, NY, USA
Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Paralegal, Special Litigation

ABOUT THE INNOCENCE PROJECT

The Innocence Project works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. Our work is guided by science and grounded in anti-racism. Since our inception, the Innocence Project has used DNA and other scientific advancements to prove wrongful conviction. To date, we have helped to free or exonerate more than 200 people who, collectively, spent more than 3,600 years behind bars. Our efforts have led to the passage of more than 200 transformative state laws and federal reforms. Today, the Innocence Project continues to fight for freedom, drive structural change, and advance the innocence movement. To learn more, please visit www.innocenceproject.org.

ABOUT THE POSITION

The Special Litigation Paralegal is a member of the Post-Conviction Litigation paralegal team and provides research assistance, drafting, and administrative support to the Director of Special Litigation in the pursuit of one of the Innocence Project’s (“IP”) core goals—freeing the innocent. The Special Litigation Paralegal is also responsible for general case management, records and data management, being responsive to time-sensitive litigation related requests, and for more generally assisting with the organization and maintenance of various department resources.

The Special Litigation Paralegal has an expansive role. In addition to traditional paralegal tasks such as document management, preparation, and filing, the Special Litigation Paralegal engages in tasks and makes decisions that require out-of-the-box thinking and good judgment. For example, the Special Litigation Paralegal often collaborates with attorneys in the important tasks of engaging and communicating with clients and conducting investigations and may be asked to work with other IP Departments (such as Communications).

The Special Litigation Paralegal directly works with and reports to the Director of Special Litigation, and may be asked to supervise and train interns and volunteers. The Special Litigation Paralegal works collaboratively with all PCL Department staff and with the Innocence Project’s law clinic students.

We are interested in every qualified candidate who is eligible to work in the United States. However, we are not able to sponsor visas and we are not an e-verify employer.

The duties of this position require approximately 40 hours of work per week to be performed virtually/in-office. We currently have a hybrid in-office model, with all employees in the office three days per week and the remainder of the week remotely. Wednesday is our organization’s “anchor day” where all staff works in the office. The number of required in-office days is subject to change.

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

The ideal candidate is an energetic self-starter who is highly organized and detail-oriented. They understand how to work in an environment with tight deadlines and they are flexible with competing and unpredictable priorities. Despite challenges, they are persistent and thrive under pressure. They have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Most importantly, they are passionate about social justice and the work and mission of the Innocence Project and creating fair and just systems of justice for everyone.

In addition, all Innocence Project employees must embrace, respect and value the rich diversity of perspectives and experience of a diverse and heterogeneous staff. We recognize and appreciate that our work is better for having varied participants and thought partners. The ideal candidate is someone who thrives in this type of environment.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS

ASSISTING IN CASE MANAGEMENT AND LITIGATION STRATEGY

  • Maintain up-to-date and well organized electronic records on Case Management System and paper case files and docket sheets
  • Communicate regularly with incarcerated clients and their family members
  • Assist with evidence searches, discovery requests and responses, and preparing public records requests
  • Review and accurately synthesize the factual background of cases, including police reports, lab reports, prior motions, trial transcripts, and case files
  • Develop a working knowledge of DNA testing
  • Write memos about discrete fact-based questions. For example, about whether case facts in the record support a particular exoneration theory; prior and current testing history; evidence searches; and post-conviction investigation issues
  • Draft other materials in support of litigation strategy, for example cover letters, press statements, consent letters, and motions for DNA testing
  • Prepare court documents for filing, including editing and proofreading vacatur and post-conviction relief motions, reviewing citation format for compliance with the Bluebook; copying, collating, and binding documents and exhibits, preparing tables of contents and tables of authorities, reviewing and summarizing court rules
  • Conduct legal research using online databases such as Westlaw or Lexis
  • Liaise with forensic laboratories, experts, and prisons
  • Write and compile parole packets and clemency letters, and gather letters of support from clients’ family members, friends, and community members

ADDITIONAL DEPARTMENTAL DUTIES

  • Arrange for litigation-related travel and reimbursement
  • Assist in creating and maintaining various litigation-related resources such as a database of local or pro bono counsel, court decisions, and motions
  • Help facilitate department-wide initiatives such as the creation of a client handbook or mass mailings
  • Scan and copy documents and prepare hard copy resources such as binders
  • Travel to meet with incarcerated clients and attend parole hearings, evidentiary hearings, retrials, and exonerations

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE

  • Bachelor’s degree or Paralegal Certificate, or equivalent level of prior legal experience (4 years)
  • Competency with Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Adobe Acrobat, and in-depth internet research
  • Demonstrated ability to learn to use new technological tools
  • Strong writing and critical thinking skills
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S.

KEY COMPETENCIES + VALUES

  • Proven experience in problem resolution and perseverance in getting a task completed
  • Energetic self-starter who is highly organized, persistent and detail-oriented
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, be flexible, prioritize and effectively manage workload, and meet tight deadlines
  • Thrives in moments of unpredictability, is flexible, and performs well under pressure
  • Excellent interpersonal and written communication skills
  • Enthusiasm for the work of the Innocence Project and for social justice, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest
  • Shares in the IP’s values of accountability, collaboration, empathy + compassion, equity, person-centeredness, quality focus, and self-awareness

COMPENSATION, BENEFITS & PERKS

The salary for this position is highly competitive and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including fully-paid individual health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with 6% company-match, paid disability and family care leave, adoption and fertility expense reimbursements, and company-paid transportation benefits.

WORKFORCE DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission. We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply. Individuals with personal connections to the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

To apply, please upload a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name in this format (last name_first name_cover letter/resume). Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email.

*At the Innocence Project, we believe in recognizing talent and passion beyond formal educational qualifications. We are committed to considering a broad array of candidates with a range of professional and lived experiences and backgrounds. We know that transferable skills can be gained through a variety of ways that could enable a candidate to be successful in a role, not just formal education. For this position, if you have at least 4 years of experience in this or a related field, we encourage you to apply regardless of your educational background. So, whether you’re returning to work after a gap in employment, looking to transition to a new career path, or taking the next step in your professional life, we encourage you to apply if you have additional experience in lieu of the posted educational requirements.

**Applications for this position will be considered on a rolling basis until the post is filled.**

SALARY RANGE

$33.85 - $38.46 ($70,400 - $80,000) Salary commensurate with experience