You will represent indigent death-sentenced clients in all stages of post-trial litigation and executive clemency. Post-trial litigation may include direct appeal, post-conviction, and federal habeas corpus litigation. You will join the Death Penalty Department, which emphasizes a client-centered, team approach to representation; you will most often be working with a team of attorneys, mitigation specialists, fact investigators, and core administrative staff.

To be successful in the position, you will:

  • Have a strong commitment to indigent defense, and have the capacity and compassion to work with clients facing the ultimate penalty;
  • Possess strong analytical and reasoning skills and be an effective and persuasive communicator – both written and verbal;
  • Be able to work collaboratively as a member of a defense team, including accepting and providing constructive feedback;
  • Continually engage in professional development, focusing on advancements in the law, forensics, psychology, and other related fields;
  • Be able to think creatively to identify, develop, and litigate (with appropriate supervision and support) issues and theories during each stage of the proceedings, often with an emphasis on changing the narrative from the case presented at trial; and
  • Maintain appropriate respect and professionalism with our clients, their families and supporters, victims and their families, witnesses, former jurors, attorneys, judges and courtroom staff, and others we encounter as we advocate for our clients.
  • The position does require in-office time; work-from-home opportunities will also be available, as approved.
    Essential duties of the position include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Reviewing the capital trial record to identify potential errors and avenues for additional investigation;
  • Investigating the facts of the underlying offense(s), the circumstances of the criminal trial and sentencing proceedings, the client’s personal and family history, and other relevant factors that have impacted the client’s development. This often includes investigating the impact of systemic racism, mass incarceration, childhood trauma, poverty, mental and physical illnesses, and other cultural and sociological experiences;
  • Identifying and collaborating with experts in relevant fields, including capital defense (jury selection, trial practice, mitigation investigation, etc.), forensics, mental health, trauma, and other specialized areas of expertise as needed to fully investigate, prepare, and present the client’s case;
  • Researching, briefing and arguing cases on direct appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court;
  • Preparing and litigating post-conviction petitions, including discovery requests, evidentiary hearings, and appellate briefing and arguments;
  • Preparing and litigating habeas petitions, including discovery requests, evidentiary hearings, and appellate briefing and arguments; and
  • Advocating for executive clemency, including developing a compelling narrative case, working with supporters from various organizations, engaging in effective, strategic communication, and supporting the client throughout the difficult and complex process.
     **In your application, please attach a cover letter explaining your interest in capital defense work and a writing sample.  Applications without a cover letter and writing sample will not be reviewed.**
  • Admission to Ohio bar pursuant to section 4705.01.
  • Note: Prior to representing a client in federal court or U.S. Supreme court, attorney shall obtain admission to practice law in that court; prior to appointment as appellate counsel for an indigent defendant in a capital case pursuant to Appt.Coun.R. 5.02 & 5.03, an attorney shall obtain certification from the Commission on Appointment of Counsel in Capital Cases.
  • Note: Eligibility to practice under a Certificate to Practice Law Pending Admission in Ohio, under Rule I, Section 19 of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, or eligibility to practice under a Temporary Certification for Practice in Legal services, Public Defender, and Law School Programs under Rule IX of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, may be accepted in lieu of admission to the Ohio Bar pursuant to R.C. Section 4705.02.