Post-Conviction Attorney

The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) is a small, close-knit public defender office in Austin, Texas. Our practice is two-fold. Our largest practice is capital post-conviction, where we represent death-sentenced persons in constitutional challenges to their conviction and sentence. Our newest practice allows us to represent persons convicted of non-capital offenses in post-conviction challenges when questionable forensic science, negligence or misconduct contributed to their conviction. OCFW is hiring a staff attorney to represent our clients in these areas. Salary will depend on experience. 

All attorneys work as part of a team of advocates that include lawyers, mitigation specialists and investigators, all of whom offer valuable perspectives, backgrounds and expertise. 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.  

OCFW provides client-centered and excellent post-conviction representation, and is committed to following applicable professional guidelines, including: 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).

Job Description:

Our practice involves claim investigation and drafting, litigation of live evidentiary hearings, and appellate advocacy. Thus, ideal candidates would be adept at both written and oral advocacy, as well as committed to client-centered, excellent representation. Duties include: building rapport with and counseling clients; reviewing the trial and appellate record for constitutional error; interviewing witnesses; investigating and developing claims; drafting applications for writs of habeas corpus and other substantial pleadings; litigating evidentiary hearings.                                                       

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Member of the Texas State Bar or eligible for admission within six months of employment (Please note that the Texas Bar allows for the admission without examination for certain applicants who have practiced law for at least five out of the last seven years. See Rule XIII, Rules of The Supreme Court Governing Admission to The Bar of Texas);
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, indigent defense, and criminal justice reform;
  • Three years of experience representing low-income clients at trial, on appeal, or on post-conviction as a public defender or in a similar advocacy role (credit also given for judicial clerkship experience).

 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Five years of experience representing low-income clients at trial, on appeal or on post-conviction as a public defender or in a similar advocacy role (credit also given for judicial clerkship experience);
  • Excellent writing, analytic, legal research, investigative, and oral advocacy skills;
  • Prior experience with factual investigation, mitigation investigation, and collaboration with expert witnesses;
  • Ability to work collaboratively in team settings; strengths in teamwork, client relations, investigation and relationship building;    
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, indigent defense, and criminal justice reform;
  • A demonstrated understanding of, or willingness to learn about, capital mitigation and mental-health issues;
  • Fluency in Spanish.                                                                                

Employment Conditions:

  • Pursuant to state law, OCFW may not employ an attorney who has been found by a state or federal court to have rendered ineffective assistance of counsel;
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment and software;
  • A valid driver’s license, and the willingness to operate a motor vehicle for client-representation purposes;
  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout Texas and, on occasion, out of state; frequent travel is required for this position.

Additional Details:

Posting Date: January 17, 2020
Closing Date: Until Filled
Job Listing Number: 215-20-02
Location: Austin, Texas
State Job Title: Attorney II/III/IV
FLSA Status: Exempt
Salary Range $60,000 to $85,000 (depending on experience and qualifications)
Type of Job: Full time
Travel Required: Yes (25%)

How to Apply:

Please email the following materials to hiring@ocfw.texas.gov: (1) a letter of interest; (2) a resume; (3) a list of references; and (4) the mandated State of Texas Application for Employment (available at:

https://twc.texas.gov/files/jobseekers/texas-application-employment-twc.pdf.)

**Applicants selected for an interview will be required to submit a writing sample along with their application.

 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:    http://www.hr.sao.state.tx.us/Compensation/MilitaryCrosswalk/MOSC_Legal.pdf.

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