Client Advocate for Books Beyond Bars & YEARS Projects
Client Advocate for Books Beyond Bars & YEARS Projects
The Center for Appellate Litigation (CAL) seeks to hire a full-time Client Advocate to coordinate its Books Beyond Bars (BBB) and Youth and Emergent Adult Resentencing (YEARS) projects.
CAL is a fifty-attorney, non-profit public defense law firm dedicated to fighting injustice through exceptional advocacy and enduring compassion for every client. We represent indigent New Yorkers convicted of crimes in Manhattan and the Bronx in their criminal appeals and other post-conviction proceedings. We envision a post-conviction process grounded in our clients’ humanity, and we pursue dynamic approaches to serve our clients and challenge the status quo.
CAL has a cohort of 10 Client Advocates who are assigned to a variety of specialized projects and are on the front lines of CAL’s holistic approach to client advocacy. While Client Advocates are assigned to different project areas, they also work closely to support one another and often meet as a group to engage in self-care conversations and presentations on topics related to the criminal carceral system.
Since its founding in November 2016, BBB has sent thousands of books and magazines to individuals locked in New York’s jails and prisons. Initially a program limited to CAL’s clients, BBB now also sends reading materials to any incarcerated individual who sends us a request, including clients served by three other major public defense offices in New York, expanding the program’s reach to individuals convicted in criminal courts in all five boroughs.
In 2022, CAL developed the YEARS project to represent individuals who are serving de facto life sentences for convictions they incurred as young adults. Attorneys and mitigation experts work together to uncover mitigation and craft resentencing motions that tell the stories of our clients’ lives that the sentencing courts rarely, if ever, hear. This information humanizes our clients and contextualizes the offenses they were accused of committing, in hopes of winning their return to their families and communities.
As currently contemplated, the BBB Client Advocate position will be .75 full-time equivalent and the YEARS position will be .25 full-time equivalent. We seek to fill this position immediately and no later than August 11, 2023. Salary starts at $50,000 for four-year college graduates or those with equivalent experience, and increases incrementally pursuant to a fixed scale to $60,000 for those with an additional five years’ experience
Interested applicants should apply here.
Responsibilities for BBB (.75 FTE):
- Managing all aspects of day-to-day operations of BBB, including reviewing and processing client requests, making and processing large book orders, mailing books to prisons, and tracking and reporting expenses to CAL management.
- Recruiting, screening, and supervising BBB’s volunteer and internship program.
- Maintaining BBB’s on-site library of commonly requested books and resources.
- Working to secure outside funding, researching, and applying for grants, and developing relationships with potential sponsors and partners.
- Broadening relationships with relevant stakeholders in the criminal legal community.
- Regularly updating BBB’s website and social media presence, and drafting BBB’s monthly newsletter.
- Reviewing and responding to inquiries from press and public about the program.
- Collaborating with partners on special projects.
Responsibilities for YEARS (.25 FTE):
Preparing and tracking requests for records and client information from various entities including New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
- Following up, both orally and in writing as necessary, on records requests to agencies and institutions.
- Communicating orally and in writing with CAL clients.
- Supporting YEARS program attorneys and mitigation specialists as necessary.
Commitment to CAL’s mission statement and client-centered advocacy.
- Experience working with incarcerated populations, especially in the NY DOCCS system, and a demonstrated empathy for working on behalf of people who have been convicted of serious offenses and advocating on their behalf.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Ability to effectively manage projects and delegate responsibilities to volunteers and interns.
- Strong oral and written communication skills, including, in particular, an ability to advocate forcefully but respectfully for CAL clients.
- Ability to work both independently and in a group setting.
- Ability to independently exercise good judgment.
At CAL, we embrace and value our staff’s diversity, recognizing that our differences strengthen our community and advance our mission. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, orientations, experiences, and communities to apply. CAL is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without unlawful discrimination on the basis of age, arrest or conviction record, caregiver status, citizenship status, color, credit history, creed, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, marital status, partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, salary history, sexual and reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, status as a covered veteran or active military service member, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.