The Innocence Project at A Law College in Charlottesville, Virginia seeks a staff attorney to supervise teams of law students who help screen, investigate, and litigate wrongful convictions in Virginia. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, the Law School is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity, and community service.

The Innocence Project at UVA School of Law identifies, investigates, and litigates wrongful conviction cases in Virginia and advocates for policy reform. The Innocence Project Clinic is a for-credit clinic in which approximately 14 enrolled law students engage in investigation and post-conviction litigation of wrongful conviction cases for a full academic year. Other students—approximately 50+ students each year—volunteer their time with the pro bono clinic to work on cases and other matters for the Innocence Project; pro bono clinic students also have the opportunity to develop policy proposals and advocate for legislative reform.

The staff attorney manages the volunteer/pro bono clinic students, under the supervision and with the assistance of Innocence Project Clinic director Jennifer L. Givens and associate director Juliet Hatchett. The staff attorney's primary role is to supervise student teams working on individual cases, and oversee the investigation, litigation, and related advocacy for each case. The staff attorney will also be asked to assist with efforts to increase public awareness of wrongful convictions.

Specific duties of this position include:
  • Supervise weekly team meetings; teach students how to collect relevant legal documents and investigate the case in the field; set up and oversee phone calls and meetings with clients and potential witnesses; teach students how to make and possibly litigate FOIA requests; oversee legal research; and draft relevant pleadings such as petitions for writs of habeas corpus, petitions for writs of actual innocence, requests for conditional and absolute pardons, and requests for parole.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for their cases' clients, witnesses, and other involved parties.
  • Oversee the intake process and manage students who are evaluating potential cases.
  • Supervise and manage teams of students working on policy/reform issues or communication/outreach/development issues.
  • Work with the clinic directors on other litigation matters as needed, including pending litigation to which no student team is assigned.
  • Assist with efforts to raise public awareness of wrongful convictions.

Required Education and Experience:
  • J.D. from an ABA approved law school or foreign equivalent and be an active member of a state bar in good standing (VA bar admission preferred).
  • Able to travel domestically, mostly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with evening and weekend work as needed.
  • Have a valid driver's license.

Preferred Qualifications:
Relevant practice experience as an attorney or summer intern, or work for an Innocence Project or criminal post-conviction clinic while in law school.