Project Director - The Forensic Project

You are here

Job location
507 W. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Capital Area Private Defender Service - The Forensic Project
Street address: 
507 W. 11th St.
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS) seeks a Project Director to manage the Forensic Project, a non-profit post-conviction law office charged primarily with reviewing convictions stemming from the Austin Police Department (APD) DNA Lab. The APD DNA lab was shut down in July of 2016 after the Texas Forensic Science Commission issued a report raising serious quality concerns with the lab’s work. Following the award of a grant in September of 2016 from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to review Travis County felony convictions involving DNA mixtures, the Forensic Project was funded by Inter-Local Agreement between the City of Austin and Travis County in March of 2017. The Forensic Project is charged with reviewing approximately 1800 cases that may have involved DNA evidence and is expected to be funded for 3 to 5 years.

The Project Director would supervise a small team of attorneys and investigators engaged in non-capital post-conviction case review to determine whether DNA evidence was material to a person’s conviction and providing post-conviction representation to clients who were affected by issues in the APD DNA lab or whose DNA mixture statistical calculations have changed significantly since the time of conviction. The Project Director must be an experienced criminal defense or post-conviction attorney with a demonstrated commitment to excellent, client-centered representation.

Primary Responsibilities:

• Supervises the materiality review process and all stages of writ litigation, to include: investigation, drafting, negotiation and advocacy;
• Ensures highest standards of advocacy, professional responsibility, client-centered representation and best practices in all areas of post-conviction review and representation;
• Acts as the representative of the Forensic Project on various commissions, committees and boards and at Travis County Commissioners Court Sessions and Texas Forensic Science Commission meetings;
• Conducts and/or organizes training for Forensic Project attorneys, investigators, pro bono partners and legal interns/fellows;
• Prepares project budgets and meets all county and grant reporting requirements;
• Directs the administrative and operational functions of the office consistent with goals, objectives, internal and external deadlines and contract terms.

Additional Responsibilities:

• Keeps abreast of legal opinions, legislative updates, forensic science developments and evolving best practices and legal ethics in post-conviction innocence and wrongful conviction review, investigation and litigation;
• Assists in prioritizing and balancing responsibilities related to a multitude of high priority tasks among staff, pro bono partners and legal interns;
• Develops performance measures for the office and conducts annual reviews of employees;
• Approves and invoices case-related and training-related travel, supplies and experts according to budgetary and contract/grant guidelines;
• Supports direct post-conviction representation of clients;
• Performs other duties as assigned.


• Licensed attorney in the State of Texas, or ability to waive into the Texas Bar;
• Minimum of 5 years of criminal defense or post-conviction/innocence work experience;
• Demonstrated commitment to client-centered indigent defense;
• Familiarity with forensic issues (Daubert hearings, trial cross-examination/theories, post-conviction);
• Experience in criminal defense investigation, including knowledge of national standards for defense investigation; experience in post-conviction investigation preferred;
• Familiarity with national and state indigent defense best practice standards;
• Appellate/post-conviction litigation experience or demonstrated high quality research and writing skills;
• Ability to function well in a team-based setting;
• Experience working with diverse populations.


• Knowledge of Texas case law and appellate/writ practice;
• Knowledge of DNA and other forensic disciplines;
• Experience leading a team of attorneys and investigators;
• Experience managing and prioritizing a high volume of cases and/or processes;
• Experience developing and implementing project plans and budgets;
• Experience conducting government or non-profit reporting;
• Ability to communicate effectively to the team and local government and public groups;
• Proficiency in Spanish.

To apply: 

To apply, please email Ira Davis at [email protected] with Project Director as the subject line. Please include a cover letter, resume, professional references and two writing samples. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled but priority will be given to those applicants whose applications are received by Friday, July 20, 2018.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
Salary commensurate with experience.