State Policy Legal Fellow

Posted by
Innocence Project
New York, NY

Innocence Project

Published 12 days ago


The Innocence Project’s Policy Program was formed in 2004 to forge wrongful conviction reform at the federal, state, and local level; and to protect those who encounter law enforcement by ensuring that laws work to identify, rectify, and prevent wrongful convictions. Our dynamic and innovative reform agenda tackles a broad range of policy issues to reveal, redress, and prevent wrongful conviction. We work with exonerees to define and advance this reform agenda, and we proactively build alliances and coalitions with policymakers, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and other stakeholders. The Policy Program is mission-driven and committed to excellence. Since its inception, the Policy Program has successfully lobbied for and enacted - individually or in a coalition - more than 250 state laws.


This position provides a law school graduate who is passionate about public policy and committed to social justice with a two-year Innocence Project fellowship as the State Policy Legal Fellow (hereinafter, “the Fellow”). The Fellow’s work will focus solely on state-level wrongful conviction reform. You must have some experience in policy advocacy and legislative analysis as well as a Juris Doctorate Law Degree (J.D.) to be considered.

The Fellow is responsible for conducting in-depth legal research, including 50-state comparisons of key provisions in criminal justice statutes and case law. In addition, the Fellow assists with the development of advocacy materials and must be able to translate complicated legal issues so that the relevant policy messages are comprehensive across multiple audiences. The goal of this position is to ensure Policy Program materials are accurate, updated, and effective in policy campaigns.

The Fellow must be skilled at legal and policy research, an excellent writer, detail-oriented, and highly organized. The Fellow reports to the State Campaigns Director and works closely with the entire Policy Program.




●     Execute comprehensive policy and legal research projects, including tracking and analyzing criminal justice legislation introduced during the legislative session and assessing key elements of current statutes and case law on priority issues.

●     Maintain Policy Program’s library of materials and consistently update with new content.

●     Synthesize and clearly organize complex information into clear and well-written briefing materials for members of the Policy Program.

●     Support state-based policy campaigns with research and analysis, including:

o State-by-state comparisons of specific criminal justice laws and policies;

o Analysis of legislation relating to IP’s policy reforms, including legislative histories & fiscal notes; and

o Analysis of court decisions and case law that affect our policy reform agenda.

●     Assist Policy Advocates in developing support materials (including fact sheets, testimony, and policy advocacy planning).

●     Assist State Campaigns Director with the preparation of substantive webinars and high-level meetings dedicated to policy reform.


●     Assist, as necessary, with organizing various policy-based working groups with external partners.

●     Attend conferences, symposia, and other meetings to gather relevant information to share with the team.


●     Must have a J.D.

●     Must have public policy experience either within government or with an issue-advocacy organization.

●     Must have experience conducting policy and legal research.


●     Experience authoring articles or white papers on criminal law reform and/or public policy.

●     Experience developing materials for policy initiatives or campaigns.


●     Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to engage multiple audiences involved in policy advocacy campaigns. (Communication Skills)

●     Strong skills in policy and legal analysis, with keen attention to detail. (Analytical Thinking)

●     Ability to contextual research and identify key information to strengthen campaigns. (Analytical Thinking)

●     Demonstrates a sincere and positive attitude towards getting things done and proactively acts to resolve challenges. (Initiative)

●     Embodies strong organizational and planning skills that entails prioritizing key components of a task while maintaining quality of work and attention to detail. (Project Management)

●     Analyzes situations and applies critical thinking when weighing the possible solutions and constraints associated with each. (Problem-Solving)

●     Deploys exceptional logical reasoning skills by breaking down complex situations into digestible and identifiable components. (Analytical Thinking)

●     A strong commitment to social justice, criminal justice, and wrongful conviction reform.


The salary for this position is highly competitive and the Innocence Project offers an excellent benefits package, including health, dental and vision insurance, Flexible Spending Account, 401k plan with company-match. While the office is currently remote in consideration of the ongoing pandemic, once commuting into the office (located in downtown Manhattan, New York) becomes again viable we will also offer company-paid transportation benefits.


The Innocence Project considers the diversity of its workforce to be vital to our organization’s success in meeting its mission. We strongly encourage applicants from all cultures, races, educational backgrounds, life experiences, socio-economic classes, sexual orientations, age, gender, and physical abilities to apply. Individuals with personal connections to the criminal legal system are strongly encouraged to apply.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is our policy not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, predisposing genetic characteristics, actual or perceived domestic violence victim status, unemployment status, caregiver status, or any other category protected by law.


To apply, please visit Paycom. Upload a cover letter expressing your interest in the role and the organization’s work, and a resume titled with your name (last name. first name. coverletter/resume). Only applications with cover letters will be considered complete applications. Information submitted through this secure site is kept confidential. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to give applicant updates by phone or direct email.

**Applications for the State Policy Legal Fellow position will be considered on a rolling basis until the post is filled.**  


The Innocence Project’s Policy Program was formed in 2004 to forge wrongful conviction reform at the federal, state, and local level; and to protect those who encounter law enforcement by ensuring that laws…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • J.D. Required


40 Worth Street, Ste. 701, New York, NY 10013

How to Apply

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