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.

STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION

JOB DESCRIPTION:

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center (“OJPC”) seeks to hire a Staff Attorney.  The Staff Attorney works primarily on Beyond Guilt cases.  Beyond Guilt (“BG”) seeks to identify unfairly sentenced Ohio prisoners who illustrate widespread problems in our criminal legal system (e.g. imposition of life sentences for felony-murder; life without parole sentences for youthful offenders; broken parole systems that refuse to provide a second chance) and then fight for their release. The project represents individuals who have served significant portions of their sentences and can demonstrate rehabilitation within the prison walls and who have the skills and support systems on the outside to continue the process of rehabilitation once they are released. Whenever possible, BG partners with prosecutors, law enforcement officers and crime survivors who can help convince courts to release prisoners through various avenues.

The Staff Attorney’s role will include: (1) investigating and presenting cases and clients for the parole board (both parole and clemency), (2) preparing and filing judicial release motions, (3) investigating cases for postconviction filings in state and/or federal court, and (4) working with prosecutors, when possible, to reduce sentences.  The Staff Attorney’s BG clients will be approximately 75% of the caseload and will report to the BG Senior Attorney. 

In addition to the BG caseload, the Staff Attorney will devote approximately 25% of their caseload to assisting the Litigation Director with evaluating and representing prisoners in civil rights actions through the Human Rights in Prison (“HRIP”) project. 

Other duties of the Staff Attorney include assisting with applying for grants and completing portions of grant reporting for BG and HRIP, supervising interns, and attending community/speaking events to educate the public on the work of OJPC.

The Staff Attorney position requires 40 hours of in-office work per week (remote working is currently supported, consistent with pandemic-related social distancing precautions), plus evening and weekend work as needed. Routine travel to visit clients, investigate cases, and appear in court is expected.

Required: Admission to Ohio bar pursuant to section 4705.01.

Note: Eligibility to practice under a Certificate to Practice Law Pending Admission in Ohio, under Rule I, Section 19 of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, or eligibility to practice under a Temporary Certification for Practice in Legal services, Public Defender, and Law School Programs under Rule IX of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, may be accepted in lieu of admission to the Ohio Bar pursuant to R.C. Section 4705.02.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

  • Manage docket of individuals seeking relief from unfair sentences 
  • Direct factual and mitigation post-conviction re-investigations 
  • Work with community partners and organizations to assist clients with release plans and/or post-release after care for released clients 
  • Prepare clients and their supporters for parole hearings
  • Conduct parole hearings for SB256 clients and full board parole hearings 
  • Craft litigation strategy 
  • Author motions & briefs in connection with client representation
  • Conduct evidentiary hearings  
  • Conduct oral argument before trial and appellate courts 
  • Supervise law students

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

Candidates for the Staff Attorney position must possess excellent interviewing and investigative skills, as well as superlative legal writing and research skills.  Our docket is dynamic and requires extensive work in front of the parole board, as well as postconviction litigation, and the ability to work with local prosecutors’ offices. Candidates must also have strong advocacy skills and be well equipped, for example, to handle court appearances for everything from evidentiary hearings to oral arguments.

In addition, Staff Attorneys must possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, enthusiasm for working collaboratively, and must embrace Beyond Guilt’s mission to not only correct individual miscarriages of justice, but to also expose and reform the systemic dysfunctions of the criminal legal system. 

QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

  • Minimum 1-2 years of litigation experience on behalf of indigent defendants or others accused/convicted of crimes (preference for 3-5 years litigation experience on behalf of indigent defendants or others accused/convicted of crimes and experience conducting postconviction factual/mitigation re-investigations). 
  • A demonstrated and abiding commitment to social justice 
  • Bilingual (Spanish) is a plus

KEY COMPETENCIES:

  • Strong research, writing, and analytic skills 
  • Strong advocacy skills 
  • Experience with complex records and presenting compelling, fact-driven narratives  
  • Client-centered approach to legal representation and demonstrated commitment to indigent defense and working to change the criminal legal system 
  • Hard-working, ability to work independently at the same time as being collaborative  
  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal communication skills 
  • Interest in working with diverse range of people 
  • Ability to assess work of students and paralegals, and constructively supervise their work
  • Must be able to work with groups of diverse individuals in respectful, equitable, and inclusive ways.
  • Enthusiasm for the work of OJPC and for social justice, including a demonstrated commitment to public interest
  • Shares values of equity, excellence, collaboration, humanity, integrity, respect, and accountability

DETAILS ABOUT THE POSITION:

Salary range is $54,000 to $60,000 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 early Summer.

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.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: 

To apply, please send a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name (last name. first name. cover letter/resume) to OJPC’s Operations Manager; Laura Beverly; [email protected].

 Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email. 

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