Mitigation Specialist/Investigator

The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) is a small, close-knit public defender office in Austin, Texas that represents persons sentenced to death in state post-conviction proceedings. Our office is hiring an investigator to work as part of a legal team to develop constitutional claims on behalf of our clients. Our team members all work towards the common goal of serving our clients’ best interests. Together with the rest of the client’s legal team, the investigator helps to tell the client’s story, humanize him or her to the court, and provide support for legal claims that might entitle the client to relief. Salary will depend on experience.

Although this work can be difficult, we consider ourselves fortunate to work alongside compassionate, dedicated, and collaborative colleagues to provide the best possible representation to our clients.  Because we know our clients benefit when their advocates have a wide and diverse range of professional and life experiences, our office is strongly invested in having persons of color and individuals from non-traditional backgrounds represented.  

The OCFW provides client-centered and excellent post-conviction representation. We follow the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (2003), the State Bar of Texas Guidelines and Standards for Texas Capital Counsel (2006), and the Supplementary Guidelines and Standards for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Texas Death Penalty Cases (2015).

OCFW Investigator Job Description:

  • Identifying and locating witnesses, and travelling across the state and country to interview them in their homes. Witnesses include complaining witnesses, law enforcement and eyewitnesses, the client’s friends, family, teachers, neighbors, coworkers, etc.
  • Conducting a culturally competent social history investigation by establishing on-going relationships with the client and family, and interviewing witnesses who are knowledgeable about the client at every phase of his or her life, and maintaining a close relationship based on trust and rapport with multiple clients. Our clients are usually housed at the Polunsky Unit prison in Livingston, Texas. Each member of the team visits clients frequently.
  • Gathering and analyzing relevant records and anecdotes to develop information concerning the circumstances of the alleged crime and the client’s life history. From the information we gather, investigators draft memos, construct timelines, and assist in drafting the social history narrative of the client’s life and family history.
  • Working independently by managing the competing priorities and deadlines of multiple cases. Investigators create and implement their own investigation plans after consulting with the case team members.
  • Working as a member and facilitating the success of interdisciplinary teams of multiple attorneys, other investigators, supervisors, and experts. As a full member of each client’s case team, the investigators collaborate in developing theories of the case and case strategies and providing litigation support to the team.

Minimum Qualifications*:

  • College degree;
  • An organized and precise work practice with attention to detail and accuracy;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the representation of death-sentenced persons, and persons from marginalized communities;
  • Excellent written and oral communication;
  • Highly developed interpersonal and collaboration skills;
  • Experience working with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and an awareness of the issues that must be overcome to successfully work with people who have life experiences you do not share.

*If there is a minimum qualification that you do not meet, but you believe that your combined background, life, professional, and/or educational experience prepares you for success in this job, you may apply and explain in your cover letter why you believe so.

Preferred Qualifications:               

  • Bilingual in Spanish and English;
  • Capital defense investigation experience;
  • Experience working in a legal office that serves indigent communities;
  • Degree or post-graduate study in a relevant field (g., cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology, African American or Latin American studies, public health, ethnography, law, social work, English, history, communications, or another field involving qualitative research);
  • Familiarity or experience with identifying mental health symptoms, trauma, intellectual disabilities, forensic sciences, and/or issues of race, ethnicity and poverty within the criminal justice system or elsewhere.

Employment Conditions:

  •  A valid drivers license, and the willingness to operate a motor vehicle for client-representation purposes.
  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout Texas, out of state, and on occasion, out of the country for client-representation purposes. The person hired for this position should expect to regularly travel 50% of the time weekly on case work.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment and software.

Additional Details:

Posting Date: January 9, 2020
Closing Date: Until Filled
Job Listing Number: 215-20-01
Location: Austin, Texas
State Job Title: Investigator IV
FLSA Status: Exempt
Salary Range $45,000 to $60,000 (depending on experience and qualifications)
Type of Job: Full time
Travel Required: Yes (50%)

How to Apply:

To apply for this position, send: (1) a letter of interest; (2) a resume; (3) a list of references; (4) the mandated State of Texas Application for Employment to:

State applications are available at:

Veterans, Reservist or Guardsmen with an MOS or additional duties that fall in the fields of 27A, 27B, 250X, LGL10, 04, 4402, 51JX, or other related fields pertaining to the minimum experience requirements may meet the minimum qualifications. Additional Military Crosswalk information can be accessed at:


The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, any request for reasonable accommodations needed during the application process should be communicated by the applicant to Sandra Justice, the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs Senior Accountant, at (512) 463-8520.

Updated Friday, January 17, 2020