Jobs & Internships

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 outlined by federal, state, or local laws.

PARALEGAL POSITION

JOB DESCRIPTION:

What We Are Looking For

OJPC is seeking a full-time Paralegal, to work on site five days a week in our Cincinnati office and onsite at partner locations as needed.  We seek to hire a hardworking, motivated paralegal who will support the work of OJPC attorneys on the organization’s Second Chance and Human Rights in Prison projects but also cross train to assist with the Beyond Guilt project.

About Our Work

Our Second Chance project focuses on removing legal barriers caused by criminal charges and/or convictions. Our services include direct client representation for clients seeking record sealing, safe harbor expungements, certificates for qualifications of employment (“CQE”) and conducting outreach to educate employers and the community on barriers created by criminal records. 

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.

Human Rights in Prison seeks to ensure that incarcerated individuals have access to adequate medical treatment, freedom from excessive force from prison staff, the right to practice one’s religion and fair treatment for LGBT prisoners.

Essential Functions

  1. Working under the supervision of project attorneys, create new client case files from walk-in intakes, inquiries via 2nd chance email, clinics, and phone. Enter all data into OJPC case management system for appropriate tracking and reporting of case work.

 

  1. Work with attorneys to issue spot other legal barriers and make appropriate referrals as needed.

 

  1. Assist with document collection including charging documents, costs bills, sentencing entries, police reports, and other documents necessary for client representation.

 

  1. Only as directed and guided by an attorney, draft legal correspondence, and file according to appropriate procedures.

 

  1. Aid as needed with helping the attorneys prepare clients and documents for hearings.

 

  1. Conduct legal research using Lexis Nexis and other legal research tools to analyze relevant statutes and case law.

 

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
  • Effectively manage time and tasks, re-evaluate priorities, and adjust assignments as necessary to meet deadlines.
  • Always maintain professional demeanor and acts in accordance with the office values 
  • Excellent communication skills; both oral and written
  • Proactively identify systemic issues and solutions impacting client services.
  • Prior experience working with impacted communities a plus but not required
  • Knowledge of local, state, or federal criminal and/or civil court proceedings or the ability to acquire this knowledge quickly is a plus.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office suite

DETAILS ABOUT THE POSITION

Salary range is $43K to $47K, 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.  

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; lbeverly@ohiojpc.org

STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Second Chance Project

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center (“OJPC”) seeks to hire a Staff Attorney for our Second Chance Project. This Staff Attorney will provide direct legal services to individuals who have criminal records and/or prior contact with the criminal legal system. The Staff Attorney will participate in Second Chance Legal Clinics, facilitate client communications and relationships, engage in community outreach and education, and assist with data collection and management. Additionally, the Staff Attorney will conduct legal research and analysis in laws, legislation, procedural rules, court decisions, and case precedents in preparation of hearings or trials to determine/anticipate legal problems and propose resolutions. The Staff Attorney will draft/review, propose and prepare reports, memoranda in opposition, briefs, legal documents, motions, and correspondence for clients. The Staff Attorney will counsel and advise clients on changes in law, court decisions, and legal issues.

ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS:

    1. Engage with prospective and current clients to collect client and case backgrounds/histories, identify legal and non-legal issues, and research available tools to best address needs.
    2. Provide full, direct legal representation for individuals that are unable to adequately represent themselves, which may require court appearances throughout Ohio. 
    3. Participate in virtual and in-person Second Chance Legal Clinics, which includes evaluating eligibility for legal services and providing brief pro se legal advice to clinic participants. 
    4. Gain specialized knowledge and duties relevant to legal services of interest (e.g., executive clemency, expungement, Certificates of Qualification for Employment, and/or court debt mitigation).
    5. Brainstorm potential impact litigation with Second Chance Project Director to foster systemic changes to criminal legal system.
    6. Build and maintain rapport with clients to secure engagement and consistent communication. 
    7. Collaborate with the Second Chance team to conduct community presentations and trainings on OJPC’s services and the legal tools available to individuals with criminal records.
    8. Engage with legal, social service, and re-entry organizations in the community to understand what services are available for individuals with criminal records, and provide trusted referrals as needed.
    9. Cultivate and leverage relationships with professionals in the criminal legal system, such as attorneys, clerks, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officers, policy makers, and/or politicians.
    10. Advocate on public policy related to the criminal legal system in collaboration with Policy Director.
    11. Conduct client intake and information management, which includes organizing and maintaining digital and physical files. Input client information and data into OJPC’s case management software.

    THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:

    Candidates for the Staff Attorney must possess excellent problem-solving skills and a keen attention to detail. Superlative legal writing and research skills are desired. Candidates also must have strong advocacy skills, personal initiative, and a high degree of emotional intelligence. The Staff Attorney must possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, enthusiasm for working collaboratively, and must embrace Second Chances’ mission to assist those to overcome barriers created by a criminal record.

    QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE:

    1. Law degree.
    2. Admitted to the bar in the State of Ohio.
    3. One to two years providing direct representation to clients in legal matters, such as motions, hearings, litigation, and appeals.
    4. Exceptional candidates who are newly barred will also be considered. 
    5. Experience working with clients who have been impacted by the criminal legal system is helpful.

    ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:

      1. Excellent legal research and writing experience.
      2. Knowledge of additional Microsoft Office software, such as Excel and PowerPoint.
      3. Knowledge of specific legal case management software such as Legal Files.
      4. Ability to write reports, correspondence, and procedure manuals.
      5. Experience with public speaking and/or conducting presentations.
      6. Knowledge about the barriers to employment, housing, education, and licensing caused by criminal records.

      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. 

      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, lbeverly@ohiojpc.org.

      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.

      STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION

      Beyond Guilt and Human Rights In Prison Projects

      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 Deputy Director.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      VOLUNTEER

      CURRENT OPPORTUNITES: 

      We’re accepting applications for volunteers with a range of backgrounds, competencies and interests. Volunteer opportunities are limited and based on immediate needs and staff capacity.

      APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: 

      To apply, please complete the application in the link below and send a resume and  cover letter expressing your areas of interest to OJPC’s Operations Manager Laura Beverly, lbeverly@ohiojpc.org.