Post-Conviction Public Defender

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Organization information
Organization name: 
Office of Capital and Forensic Writs
Street address: 
1700 N. Congress, Suite 460
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 


The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) is a small, close-knit public defender office in Austin, Texas. We proudly provide zealous, client-centered post-conviction representation to persons in Texas facing the death penalty and those serving prison sentences for convictions tainted by flawed forensic science.


Our practice is two-fold. First, we represent death-sentenced persons in constitutional challenges to their conviction and sentence. This is our largest practice. We represent 70% of persons in Texas raising initial post-conviction challenges to their convictions and death sentences, and a smaller number of clients in other procedural postures, such as incompetency to be executed, post-conviction DNA testing, and successive post-conviction proceedings.

Second, we represent a smaller number of people incarcerated and serving non-capital sentences in post-conviction challenges where questionable forensic science, negligence, or misconduct contributed to their conviction. In this practice, we challenge convictions that rest on tainted, outmoded, or unreliable forensic science, such as hair microscopy, blood spatter, bitemark, and fingerprint evidence. These individuals’ cases are referred to us by the Texas Forensic Science Commission.


The work OCFW does in Texas is making an impact.

• In the last three years, OCFW has convinced Texas courts to overturn one client’s conviction, overturn a second client’s death sentence, and find a third client incompetent to be executed.
• All three OCFW cases currently pending before the Court of Criminal Appeals have recommendations for granting relief or favorable findings that would lead to a new trial on culpability or sentence.

OCFW values dedication, compassion, collaboration, and dignity. These values are the cornerstone of all that we do. Our office is dedicated to client interests, professional development, and high-quality representation. We endeavor to work through an anti-oppressive lens, and display compassion to our clients, the community at large, each other, and ourselves. We foster a collaborative and supportive environment and empower each other in our work protecting the rights of our clients. We strive to be free from bias or favoritism and to treat all with respect.


OCFW is hiring an attorney to represent our clients in post-conviction proceedings. Salary will depend on experience.

All attorneys work as part of a team of advocates, 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. Our clients benefit when their advocates have a wide and diverse range of professional and life experiences. OCFW is dedicated to maintaining a staff with backgrounds and experiences as diverse as Texas. We are specifically seeking candidates with Spanish language skills.

Job Description:
The staff attorney will be responsible for working on multi-disciplinary teams to provide holistic, post-conviction representation to clients in state post-conviction proceedings. Aspects of this work include:
• Building rapport with and counseling clients;
• Reviewing trial and appellate records for constitutional error;
• Investigating and drafting claims;
• Litigating evidentiary hearings;
• Appellate advocacy in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Supreme Court;
• Collaborating skillfully, litigating strategically, and providing compassionate representation;
• Valuing the expertise of and working well with mitigation specialists and other team members.
Given the nature of the work, staff attorneys should expect to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays. Travel throughout Texas is required.
While OCFW supported remote work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently committed to a hybrid workplace. Currently, staff work at least two days a week in-office. The number of required in-office days is subject to change.

Additional Details:
Job Listing Number: 215-24-01
Location: Austin, TX
State Job Title: Attorney II/III/IV/V
FLSA Status: Exempt
Salary Range: $80,000 to $140,000, depending on experience and qualifications (including language competence)
Type of Job: Full Time
Travel Required: Yes (25%)


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 and for UBE admission. See Rule XIII, Rules of The Supreme Court Governing Admission to The Bar of Texas);
• A strong commitment to the representation of death-sentenced persons and persons from marginalized communities;
• Ability to work collaboratively in team settings, strengths in teamwork, and relationship building;
• Excellent potential for research, writing, and courtroom advocacy skills;
• Capacity to think critically, creatively, and multi-task in fast-paced settings;
• Exceptional judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues.
Preferred Qualifications:
• At least two years of experience representing low-income clients at trial, on appeal, or in post-conviction as a public defender or in a similar advocacy role (credit also given for judicial clerkship experience).
• Excellent research, writing, investigative, and oral advocacy skills;
• Prior experience with factual investigation, mitigation investigation, and collaboration with expert witnesses;
• Ability to work collaboratively in team settings with strengths in teamwork, client relations, investigation, and relationship building;
• A demonstrated understanding of, or willingness to learn about, capital mitigation and mental-health issues;
• Fluency in Spanish.

Additional Qualifications for Attorney III/IV/V Positions: Higher classification and salary levels depend on the applicant’s demonstrated skill in:
• Legal research, writing, oral advocacy and investigation;
• Litigating evidentiary hearings or trials;
• Handling cases with large amounts of data and information;
• Planning, organizing and prioritizing work;
• Supervising the work of others.
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.

To apply: 

To apply:
Please email the following materials to [email protected]: (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:
**Applicants selected for an interview will be required to submit a writing sample along with their application.
Veterans are encouraged to apply and credit for applicable military occupational experience will be given. The following Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) codes are generally applicable to this position: 27A, 250X, LGL10, 4402, 4405, 4406, 4407, 4408, 4409, 4410, 4417, 51JX, 92JO. Applicants must fully complete the summary of military experience applicable to the position to determine if minimum qualifications are met. 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, complexion, national origin, sex, religion or religious beliefs, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or military veteran status. 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 Joy Right, Senior Accountant, at [email protected].
Salary range: 
Up to $140,000