Ohio Justice & Policy Center

WHY OJPC EXISTS AND WHAT WE DO

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center works to create fair, intelligent, redemptive criminal-justice systems through zealous client-centered advocacy, collaborative policy reform, and empowering community education.

JOIN THE TEAM

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center is a nonprofit public interest law firm that creates fair, intelligent, and redemptive criminal justice systems, We achieve our mission through client-centered advocacy, innovative policy reform, and cross-sector community education. We focus on our energies primarily on reducing the number of incarcerated people, protecting rights of incarcerated people, and helping people with criminal records to fully contribute to their communities. We have offices in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, and our work is statewide.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff has worked remotely, with the option for staff members to work in our socially-distanced offices if they prefer. We plan to continue to offer remote work options to employees for the duration of the pandemic.

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex. religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outline by federal, state, or local laws.

PARALEGAL POSITION

What We Are Looking For

OJPC is seeking a full-time Paralegal, located in or near Cincinnati. We seek to hire a hardworking, motivated paralegal who will support the work of OJPC attorneys on the organization’s Beyond Guilt project. Beyond Guilt seeks to free over-punished people who demonstrate rehabilitation and has liberated over twenty-five incarcerated people in Ohio since March 2019. The paralegal we want to hire will help us identify even more people deserving of their freedom and will assist Beyond Guilt attorneys in securing their release.

Essential Functions

  1. Working under the supervision of the Beyond Guilt senior attorney, the paralegal will advance the project’s work in several ways, including by:
  1. Managing the intake process for applications including determining basic eligibility criteria, gathering documents, and helping to assess cases for prioritization
  2. Managing calls and emails from family and friends regarding applications
  3. Manage volunteers assisting with intake and screening
  4. Manage data tracking for purposes of reporting and storytelling about the project’s work
  5. Scheduling prison visits for the attorneys and other staff
  6. Obtaining transcripts, police reports and other documents necessary to represent individuals effectively
  7. Limited assistance with helping the attorneys prepare clients and documents/memoranda for parole hearings

The successful applicant must be willing to meet with incarcerated people, all of whom have been convicted of serious and/or violent crimes and should be able to work with the project attorneys to help tell client stories. The successful applicant must also be able to embrace the tedium of working through a backlog of more than one thousand cases to assist the project attorneys decide whom to represent.

COMPETENCIES

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Superb organizational skills
  • Excellent communication skills; both oral and written
  • No previous training as a paralegal is required
  • This position is ideal for someone who is willing to throw themselves into challenging but rewarding work during the period between undergraduate and graduate studies
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite

DETAILS ABOUT THE POSITION

Salary range is $38K to $41K, based on experience and qualifications. Competitive benefits package including 27 PTO days, PTO carryover and PTO Sharing; parental leave; thirteen paid holidays, plus an annual winter break between Christmas and New Year’s; Flextime; Health, vision, and dental insurance; Simple IRA with corporate matching; membership in professional associations; corporate support for professional training and professional exams.

We are accepting applications now, and we would like to hire as soon as possible. We intend to have this position filled by April 30, 2022, or sooner.

OJPC is an equal opportunity employer. People from marginalized groups – that is, those who have experienced systemic exclusion based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation – are strongly encouraged to apply. Returning citizens and people who have been personally affected by the criminal legal system are also strongly encouraged to apply.

HOW TO APPLY

Send a résumé and cover letter to OJPC’s Operations Manager, Laura Beverly.

Laura Beverly

Operations Manager

Email Laura

INTERNSHIPS

We are seeking 10-12 talented law students from law schools nationwide to join OJPC's summer internship program, Our program will begin May 23, 2022 and conclude July 29, 2022 (or later based on interns availability. 

OJPC USES DIVERSE FORMS OF COMMUNITY LAWYERING IN A THREE-PLANK STRATEGY:

1. Substantially and safely reduce the size and racial disparity of the prison population—this includes our Women's Project and Beyond Guilt, legislative and policy advocacy, community-organizing collaboration, and litigation to directly remedy Ohio's prison overcrowding crisis. 
2. Expand the freedom of people with criminal records to participate fully in their communities —this encompasses our Second Change Community Legal Clinics, our work with survivors of Human Trafficking, our CIVICC database, and legislative and policy advocacy to improve reentry in Ohio. 
3. Protect the human rights and dignity of incarcerated people—this incorporates individual and class action advocacy and litigation to protect the constitutional human rights of incarcerated people, policy efforts to limit the use of the death penalty, and protection of voting rights for jailed people. 

Please attach one PDF file, including your cover letter, resume, transcript (official or unofficial), and writing sample to Alicia Miller at [email protected], with the subject “2022 Internship Application,” no later than February 18, 2022. We are accepting student interns on a rolling basis, so please apply early. If you are ready to apply and you do not have your transcripts yet, you may apply and make a note that your grades are pending and send them upon receipt.

Interviews will be conducted remotely and the internship can be completed in Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH or remotely.

INTERNSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES

  • outreach legal clinics
  • client intake and interviewing
  • case investigation and brainstorming
  • legal research
  • correspondence and court-document drafting
  • court appearances for rising 3Ls with a student-practice certificate from the Ohio Supreme Court
  • other litigation support
  • collaborative work with community organizers
  • policy research and advocacy

To help interns be the best legal advocates they can be this summer and beyond, OJPC provides a thoughtful curriculum, sustained mentorship, and educational opportunities to our summer interns:

  • regular meetings with supervisor(s) to receive feedback and focus on serving our clients
  • training sessions on a variety of skills and topics, such as trauma-informed interviewing, racial equality, client relationships
  • visits to local jails and prisons
  • working directly with clients
  • attending court hearings
  • networking opportunities with attorneys, judges, prosecutors, politicians
  • optional enrichment opportunities, such as Trial Bootcamp, a series of hands-on sessions taught by experienced litigators in which participants help develop an actual case for trial 

Our internships are unpaid. However, we will readily assist in any application for funding or externship credit to support our students’ work during the summer.

KEY COMPETENCIES

In our review of written internship application materials and interviews, we will be looking for concrete examples of where an applicant has demonstrated these six qualities:

Resourcefulness – creativity in finding information and resources to complete a project; ability to apply diverse background, experience, and expertise in new settings.

Productive work relationship with mentors/supervisors – willingness to ask questions to get clarity on scope and substance of assigned projects; ability to carry projects forward without constant checking in, but knowledge of when to check in about a significant issue or question; focus on detail.

Excellent time and priority management – strength in handling diverse, competing projects and expectations; ability to prioritize must-do projects and renegotiate other deadlines as needed; knowledge of limitations in accepting too much work.

Solid research and writing skills – aptitude in clear, thorough research and reasoning in writing samples; knack for storytelling and issue framing.

Interpersonal skills – capability of working effectively with a team; ability to put others at ease while inspiring them to do their best; sense of humor; hunger to learn and grow.

Compassion for the marginalized, passion for OJPC’s mission – ability to stretch oneself to serve people who are looked down upon, even despised, by others; willingness to risk disfavor to do what one feels is morally right.

Equal opportunity

OJPC is an equal opportunity employer. People from historically disadvantaged groups — including those based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, veteran status, gender, or sexual orientation — are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information, contact:

Alicia Miller

Second Chance Lead Attorney and Internship Coordinator

Email Alicia