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Supervising Attorney, Homicide Practice Group

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Published 21 days ago

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks an experienced trial attorney with at least ten years of criminal defense experience who satisfies the First Department requirements to join our Homicide Practice Group (HPG) as a Supervising Attorney. This Supervising Attorney will be responsible for representing, and supervising others in representing, people charged with homicide offenses. 

The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 400 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have pioneered a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for our clients. 

Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, child welfare, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic reform at the local, state, and national level. We take what we learn from the clients and communities that we serve and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.

The Criminal Defense Practice (CDP) at The Bronx Defenders is composed of over 150 attorneys, investigators, social workers, practice associates, and administrators who provide comprehensive criminal defense representation to people in the Bronx facing police and criminal legal system involvement. CDP attorneys collaborate with advocates and administrators on interdisciplinary holistic teams to identify and address issues that contribute to our client’s ensnarement in the criminal legal system and the enmeshed consequences that arise out of their contact with the system. Through a client-centered approach, our CDP attorneys strive to gain a deeper understanding of our clients’ circumstances and priorities. Armed with that understanding, they fight for our clients’ desired outcomes by strategically raising personalized, persuasive arguments in mitigation, negotiations, and litigation. 

The Homicide Practice Group (HPG) is made up of a team of experienced CDP attorneys, social workers, mitigation specialists, and investigators who specialize in homicide cases. While it is a specific group of senior practitioners, HPG is committed to encouraging a wide range of attorneys with varying levels of litigation experience to become involved in homicide work.

Responsibilities

Homicide attorneys in the Homicide Practice Group work collaboratively with other attorneys and advocates at BxD to support the work of the Criminal Defense Practice and Homicide Practice Group. One of the main responsibilities of an HPG Supervising Attorney is to focus on supervising and mentoring less experienced attorneys as they work on homicide cases. This work will involve being the first chair while less experienced attorneys second chair and co-counsel homicide cases. This role will involve a large investment in developing the skills of less experienced staff members so that they can soon handle homicide cases on their own.  

The Bronx Defenders HPG understands that the world of homicide defense is rapidly changing. The presentation of video evidence, DNA results, cell phone location data, and more means that it is no longer sufficient for homicide defenders to only know how to effectively cross-examine an experienced police detective. Furthermore, juries today come into the courtroom with far different perceptions of forensics, criminality, and the criminal justice system than those of the past. Issues of gender, race, and ethnicity percolate through jurors’ minds in ways we are only beginning to understand. These ever-changing dynamics make it necessary for the candidate in this position to be someone who is willing to grapple with these issues, be flexible in their approach to litigation and mentorship, and be committed to keeping up with the rapidly evolving landscape of public defense. The Supervising Attorney in this position will be expected to:

  • Represent clients charged with homicide and serious felony offenses, from arraignment through disposition or trial
  • Provide comprehensive, team-based representation collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of attorneys and advocates to avoid or mitigate any legal system involvement or civil consequences
  • Effectively litigate, confidently negotiate and skillfully advocate with judges, prosecutors, and other actors in all fora
  • Co-counsel cases with other attorneys within and beyond the criminal defense practice
  • Serve as a resource for case conferencing with other attorneys and advocates on the HPG
  • Assist in the evaluation of attorneys and other advocates every 12 months
  • Participate in Practice Supervisor meetings and support other supervisors in the Criminal Defense Practice
  • Work with other supervising attorneys and directors to assist with supervision coverage and ensure adequate supervision for staff attorneys at all times, including in-court supervision
  • Assist in the development of best practices, new trainings, projects and initiatives in the Criminal Defense Practice
  • Assist with internal and external training and breakout sessions for CDP advocates, BxD staff, and external partners, including training for new attorneys and advocates
  • Advance holistic advocacy within the team and in the office
  • Demonstrate a commitment to anti-oppression work in the practice and office, and support directly impacted supervisees in challenging oppressive patterns
  • Other responsibilities may include:
  • supervising and mentoring attorneys and non-attorney advocates in other areas of the practice
  • training, researching, and developing knowledge of new trends and developments in the law 
  • collaborating with practitioners outside of BxD to develop best practices in the representation of clients charged with homicides

Qualifications

Applicants must have the following qualifications or their functional equivalent. However, we will seriously consider the application of any person who believes that they have the necessary experience for this job yet lacks one or more of these basic criteria. Such an individual should explain in their application why their particular experience demonstrates that they have the relevant and/or comparable qualifications.

  • Ten years of experience as a criminal defense trial attorney
  • First Department Homicide Panel Requirements--Click here for a comprehensive list of these requirements
  • Supervisory and mentoring skills, including but not limited to a demonstrated:
  • interest in the professional development of other attorneys and advocates
  • ability to provide intentional and constructive feedback
  • flexibility in balancing needs of supervisees against their own caseload
  • Membership in good standing to the New York Bar or eligibility for immediate admission to the New York Bar 
  • Represented clients in over sixty felony cases, from arraignment to resolution and resolved at least ten criminal cases post-indictment with negotiated pleas, dismissals, or other non-trial dispositions
  • Conducted at least ten preliminary hearings or fifteen post-indictment hearings in which oral testimony was taken and a decision was rendered
  • Conducted at least five post-indictment jury trials that proceeded to verdict in which they served as lead or sole counsel, and eight post-indictment jury trials that proceeded to verdicts as co-counsel
  • Cross-examined at trial at least four of the following types of expert witnesses: medical, ballistics, fingerprint, DNA, psychiatric, identification, etc.
  • Ability to advocate and persuade effectively in court appearances and interactions with adversaries, judges, and juries
  • Ability to effectively analyze legal issues, draft motions and memoranda, and orally argue for relief
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively on a team of social workers, investigators, administrators, and advocates from other practice areas on behalf of clients
  • Commitment to an interdisciplinary and client-centered approach to representation
  • Demonstrated interest, skill, and experience working with and challenging experts, particularly in the area of forensic science
  • Effective communication and active listening skills
  • Effective interpersonal skills
  • Ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment while maintaining organization
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Experience working in and with racially, ethnically and socioeconomically marginalized communities 
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people from various backgrounds and experiences
  • Ability to receive feedback constructively, reflect and shift behavior accordingly
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues
  • Ability to think critically and creatively in fast-paced settings
  • Effective judgment in zealous advocacy and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of clients
  • Strong legal analytical skills, and a strong capacity to explore non-legal resources and solutions
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level

We value both lived and professional experience in meeting the above qualifications. 

Prior homicide work in a public defender office is considered a plus but is not required. And while New York State has its own rules and public defense work in Bronx County may require adjusting to different jury demographics and confronting different courthouse practices, we believe that those who have practiced far from the Bronx are not only qualified to apply for this position, but may also bring a unique perspective that could enrich our work.  

Salary is commensurate with experience. For candidates with 10-20 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $102,500-$122,500. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; and a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended.  

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks an experienced trial attorney with at least ten years of criminal defense experience who satisfies the First Department…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Job Type
    Contract
  • Application Deadline
    June 21, 2021
  • Education
    J.D. Required
  • Professional Level
    Professional

Salary

$102,500 - $122,500

Benefits

Excellent Benefits

Excellent Benefits

Location

Temporarily Remote
Work may be performed anywhere in United States
Associated Location
360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451, United States

How to Apply

To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload both a cover letter and resume as a single document when prompted. Your cover letter should include the number of trials conducted to verdicts, specifying whether the matter was a felony or a misdemeanor, whether you were sole or lead counsel (or second seat), the number of homicide matters handled and the number of homicide trials conducted to verdicts. Applications missing any components or not submitted in the requested manner will not be considered.

The application deadline is June 21, 2021, but applications will be considered on a rolling basis and decisions will be made as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified.  

Please contact Ann Mathews, Managing Director of the Criminal Defense Practice, via email at annm@bronxdefenders.org with any questions regarding the position.

The Bronx Defenders is an equal opportunity employer and is cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities and are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce. We do not discriminate against and in fact specifically encourage applicants from marginalized communities to apply, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, disabled, neurodivergent, and those directly impacted by criminal, civil, family and immigration legal systems. We value lived as well as professional experience and particularly welcome applications from the Bronx community that we serve.

To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload both a cover letter and resume as a single document when prompted. Your cover…

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