Plea Project Attorney



About Us

The Center for Appellate Litigation (CAL) is a leading holistic legal services organization dedicated to providing high-quality appellate representation to low-income New Yorkers. We are committed to ensuring that every individual has access to fair and just legal representation in the appellate courts and in a full panoply of post- conviction litigation. Our team of dedicated attorneys, paralegals, and staff work tirelessly to advocate for our clients' rights and uphold the principles of justice.

Position Overview

CAL is seeking to hire a staff attorney to join the Plea Project. The plea project attorney may be a fully remote position; however, the attorney must be available for oral arguments and client visits in New York. The attorney will be a member of the bargaining unit.

CAL is assigned to represent New Yorkers convicted of crimes in Manhattan and the Bronx in their criminal appeals and other post-conviction proceedings. We pride ourselves on adopting dynamic approaches to serve our clients and challenge the status quo. Outside of the courtroom, we work tirelessly to center and protect our clients’ well-being through the work of our Anti-Racism Working Group, Legislative Advocacy Committee, and array of Client Support Service projects. Our clients are among society’s most disenfranchised—people who have been convicted and imprisoned—and we work hard to live up to their trust. Our mission is to fight injustice through exceptional advocacy and enduring compassion for each client. We envision a post-conviction process grounded in our clients’ humanity.

The Plea Project staff attorney will handle a significant caseload of direct appeals from felony guilty pleas. Where the appeal presents the possibility of plea withdrawal, the attorney will be responsible for carefully evaluating the potential harms and risks associated with vacating the pleas and discussing those issues with their clients in letters, phone calls, and in person visits. In cases where no plea-withdrawal issue is presented, or where clients do not want to take the risks of seeking plea withdrawal, the attorney will be responsible for drafting briefs with risk-free issues (frequently excessive sentencing or suppression claims) or obtaining a stipulation of withdrawal from the client. The attorney will draft reply briefs, orally argue in the Appellate Division, and seek leave to appeal from the New York Court of Appeals in appropriate cases. So-called “Anders” or no merits briefs are rarely filed at CAL. Because of the nature of guilty-plea appeals, the Plea Project staff attorney’s caseload will be larger than other staff attorneys.


All applicants must have:

• graduated from an accredited law school and be admitted to the New York State Bar;
• a minimum of three years of criminal defense experience;
• a demonstrated commitment to public criminal defense;
• excellent analytical, writing, research, and oral advocacy skills;
• a passion for creative, persuasive, and strategic writing, including the ability to craft compelling narratives advocating for sentence reductions;
• strong organizational skills and a diligent work ethic;
• empathy and respect for people who have been convicted of serious offenses;
• strong interpersonal skills, especially in the face of crisis or disagreement;
• experience serving and/or advocating for disenfranchised communities;
• a willingness and ability to work within the dehumanizing environments of prisons, jails, and detention facilities.

Spanish fluency is preferred, but not required.


Although CAL has a hybrid remote office policy and attorneys are permitted to work remotely 8-10 days per month, the plea project attorney may be a fully remote position. The attorney must be available for oral arguments and client visits in New York. CAL is based in New York City.


Starting salary will be at least $86,657 for a 2021 graduate and at least $111,708 for a 2014 graduate. CAL offers comprehensive medical benefits, a retirement account, and generous vacation time, holidays, personal and sick days.


Applications should be submitted by June 30, 2024, through the Google form linked here. (Applicants without a Gmail account may email their materials to Please do not submit via both the form and the email address).

Applications must include a resume, cover letter, and writing sample in one PDF document, with the cover letter addressed to:

Jenay Nurse Guilford Executive Director
Center for Appellate Litigation
120 Wall Street, 28th Floor
New York, NY 10005-4003

Because of the expected high number of applications, we ask that applicants not contact the office to inquire about the status of their application.


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