Entry Level Staff Attorney (Fall, 2023)
OPD is seeking Entry Level Staff Attorneys (New Attorneys) for our Fall, 2023 class.
We represent thousands of people each year utilizing a client-centered, community-oriented defense model that puts the client first and takes a 360 degree approach to our advocacy and representation. We recognize our clients are unique individuals and work to address their needs both in the court and out. Our diverse staff includes adult and juvenile attorneys; social workers; client, youth and parent advocates; investigators, and administrators all working together for equal justice for our clients, their families, our community, and a better New Orleans. In short, we protect innocence, defend the constitution, demand justice, and hold power accountable.
OPD is committed to providing zealous client-centered, community-oriented defense. Each client’s needs are supported by a dedicated legal team: attorneys, investigators, client advocates, social workers and court support administrators.
Our attorneys zealously defend clients against criminal charges in Criminal, Municipal and Traffic and Juvenile Court immediately following arrest all the way through sentencing and post-conviction. Our client-centered approach focuses on serving the client’s interest and meeting their individual needs to achieve the best outcome for each client.
The primary role of the Staff Attorney is to zealously represent the client in criminal proceedings. In addition, the Staff Attorney (to the extent possible) is expected to maintain a continuing duty to the client. The Staff Attorney counsels and renders or assists in securing appropriate legal services for the client in matters arising from the original criminal proceedings and maintains contact to ensure the protection of the client’s rights so long as the client remains under court jurisdiction. All attorneys benefit from a thorough in-house training program.
The Staff Attorney acts as court-appointed counsel representing clients with misdemeanors and/or felony charges in all phases of criminal proceedings, including arraignment, pretrial hearings, trial preparation, plea negotiations, trial and sentencing. The Staff Attorney is responsible for the investigation and preparation of assigned cases. The Staff Attorney assists OPD leadership and other staff, as directed, and complies with all legal standards and requirements.
More specifically, the Staff Attorney’s duties will include:
- Interview client as assigned to determine the facts of the case. Review police reports and other reports to evaluate each case against the state of the law to determine its relative strengths and weaknesses to prepare for plea negotiations, development of case strategy, and trial preparation.
- Meet with clients to evaluate options and strategies. Keep clients reasonably informed of the status of their case and promptly respond to reasonable requests for information. Explain to clients matters reasonably necessary to make informed decisions about their cases.
- Conduct pre-trial negotiations. Conduct bench and jury trials. Prepare and argue trial motions as needed.
- Investigate, respond and represent the client’s interest in plea bargain negotiations.
- Coordinate or conduct the case investigation for trial preparation as necessary. Arrange for tests of physical evidence, the testimony of expert witnesses and interview witnesses as required.
- Conduct all trial actions including cross and direct examination, introduction of evidence and exhibits and make arguments on the law and interpretation of the evidence.
- Represent client in all legal proceedings including, but not limited to first appearance hearings, preliminary hearings, pre-adjudication motions, guilty pleas and post-conviction matters, such as restitution hearings and revocation hearings, sentence reviews, modifications and terminations. Present defense recommendations for case disposition.
- Prioritize and plan cases and work activities using resources effectively. Plan for additional resources and integrate changes smoothly and in a timely manner.
- Ensure client in custody have 24-hour access to a public defender (at least able to leave a message), such as in cases of persons in custody need counsel before deciding whether to submit to a breath or blood test.
- Perform other duties or projects as assigned, including attending conferences/meetings on behalf of the Office.
This is full-time position with competitive salary and benefits.