Closing Date: 30th June, 2024


Position Overview:
A Premier Non-Profit Public Defense Law Firm is seeking to hire a staff attorney to join the Plea Project. The plea project attorney may be a fully remote position; however, the attorney must be available for oral arguments and client visits in New York. The attorney will be a member of the bargaining unit.

A Premier Non-Profit Public Defense Law Firm is assigned to represent New Yorkers convicted of crimes in Manhattan and the Bronx in their criminal appeals and other post-conviction proceedings. We pride ourselves on adopting dynamic approaches to serve our clients and challenge the status quo. Outside of the courtroom, we work tirelessly to center and protect our clients' well-being through the work of our Anti-Racism Working Group, Legislative Advocacy Committee, and array of Client Support Service projects. Our clients are among society's most disenfranchised—people who have been convicted and imprisoned—and we work hard to live up to their trust. Our mission is to fight injustice through exceptional advocacy and enduring compassion for each client. We envision a post-conviction process grounded in our clients' humanity.

The Plea Project staff attorney will handle a significant caseload of direct appeals from felony guilty pleas. Where the appeal presents the possibility of plea withdrawal, the attorney will be responsible for carefully evaluating the potential harms and risks associated with vacating the pleas and discussing those issues with their clients in letters, phone calls, and in person visits. In cases where no plea-withdrawal issue is presented, or where clients do not want to take the risks of seeking plea withdrawal, the attorney will be responsible for drafting briefs with risk-free issues (frequently excessive sentencing or suppression claims) or obtaining a stipulation of withdrawal from the client. The attorney will draft reply briefs, orally argue in the Appellate Division, and seek leave to appeal from the New York Court of Appeals in appropriate cases. So-called “Anders” or no merits briefs are rarely filed at A Premier Non-Profit Public Defense Law Firm. Because of the nature of guilty-plea appeals, the Plea Project staff attorney's caseload will be larger than other staff attorneys.

All applicants must have:
  • graduated from an accredited law school and be admitted to the New York State Bar;
  • a minimum of three years of criminal defense experience;
  • a demonstrated commitment to public criminal defense;
  • excellent analytical, writing, research, and oral advocacy skills;
  • a passion for creative, persuasive, and strategic writing, including the ability to craft compelling narratives advocating for sentence reductions;
  • strong organizational skills and a diligent work ethic;
  • empathy and respect for people who have been convicted of serious offenses;
  • strong interpersonal skills, especially in the face of crisis or disagreement;
  • experience serving and/or advocating for disenfranchised communities;
  • a willingness and ability to work within the dehumanizing environments of prisons, jails, and detention facilities.

Spanish fluency is preferred, but not required.