AmeriCorps/NLADA VISTA Program: Community Partnerships

Job Type

Full Time Temporary



Start Date:


Application Deadline:



11 Park Place
Suite 1601
New York
United States


The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is New York’s oldest provider of appellate representation to poor people convicted of felonies, and the City’s second oldest institutional indigent defense organization. Since its founding in 1988, OAD has maintained a national reputation for superb appellate advocacy and innovation, as well as a holistic, client-centered, approach to representation. OAD has repeatedly been recognized by the New York State Bar Association, and the appellate courts, for excellent representation.

OAD handles post-conviction cases from the Bronx and Manhattan, including direct appeals before the Appellate Division, First Department, and the New York Court of Appeals. OAD also litigates sex offender registration level hearings, drug law resentencings, and motions to overturn wrongful convictions (including claims based on new or undisclosed evidence, prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel). OAD additionally advocates for improved prison and parole conditions, and provides reentry assistance.

OAD seeks a one-year VISTA member to strengthen OAD’s partnerships with community and criminal justice stakeholders in New York City. The VISTA member will work to ensure that the office has a meaningful understanding of the ways in which criminal laws and policies impact its individual clients, their families and their communities. The VISTA member will also build OAD’s capacity to share critical and current information that will ease the trying process of navigating the criminal justice system. Thus, the VISTA member will improve OAD’s ability to provide truly holistic appellate defense representation -- not only by identifying resources relevant to our clients’ most basic but as yet unmet needs during and after incarceration, but also by creating and cementing connections between OAD and impacted communities.


·        Create and verify a community map of partners, peers, and stakeholder groups who are invested in OAD’s mission to provide high-quality, client-centered representation for poor people convicted of felonies.

·        Identify and cultivate relationships with local grassroots and grasstops organizations, with an emphasis on creating effective and meaningful dialogue with communities directly impacted by New York’s criminal justice system and mass incarceration.

·        Update and enhance OAD’s resource guide for clients who face challenges in prison and during the reentry process by conducting site visits and meetings with key partnership organizations.

·        Plan and develop training events and guides for OAD staff to effectively integrate community resources and partnerships in the appellate defense docket.

·        Assist with creating informational and substantive materials that will be useful for intra- and inter-office information sharing.

·        Attend trainings sponsored by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.


·        Demonstrated commitment to issues of racial and social justice that affect people who are or have been incarcerated and their connected communities.

·        Outstanding communication and listening skills, in both one-on-one and group settings, with people who have diverse backgrounds and experiences.

·        Strong belief in the value and importance of communication with and respect for clients.

·        Ability to work and write both collaboratively and independently.

·        Familiarity with neighborhoods in the counties of New York and the Bronx.

·        Experience with organizing and empowering marginalized communities preferred.


For information about the stipend/benefits, visit:

CNCS/AmeriCorps VISTA website:

AmeriCorps VISTA stipends:

Level of Language Proficiency

Spanish is a plus.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Please submit an application on the AmeriCorps website for the listing “Defending Communities in Service- Community Partnerships NY” at: