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Criminal Defense Practice Mitigation Specialist - SLU

Not provided

$70,130 - $97,233

2 months ago

Job Description

The Law Reform and Special Litigation Unit of the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice (SLU) is seeking a social worker to work with direct-service clients of the Unit’s specialized units and projects, including the Decarceration Unit and the Women’s Pretrial Initiative; to provide support to clients of the law reform practice on an as-needed basis; and to help bring a social work perspective to the unit’s policy advocacy and strategic legal initiatives.


The Law Reform and Special Litigation Unit of the Criminal Defense Practice engages in civil litigation and policy advocacy to address systemic injustices affecting the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense clients and their families. Examples of past work include: federal litigation challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk and trespass arrest practices; policy advocacy to reform New York’s pre-trial criminal discovery and bail statutes; litigation challenging the NYPD’s violent response to protests against police misconduct; and campaigning for a repeal of secrecy laws that undermine accountability for police misconduct. Within that Unit, the Decarceration Project fights to make pre-trial detention the exception, not the rule, by working alongside CDP attorneys in all five boroughs to provide litigation support on bail applications and appeals. The Women’s Pretrial Initiative is an initiative of the Decarceration Unit that engages in bail advocacy for cis and trans women who have been detained on bail they cannot afford.


The primary responsibilities of this position are to provide day-to-day support to clients assisted by SLU’s specialized units, mainly, the Women’s Pretrial Initiative, where you will coordinate alternative to detention services, contribute to written and oral advocacy, and provide support to clients while detained and through the release process. This position will also provide social work support to other law reform clients on an as-needed basis. The social worker in this position will also have the opportunity to support CDP’s policy advocacy by providing social work expertise and to provide other technical social work support and expertise to SLU as needed.


• Complete service plans and bail packages to advocate for the release of individuals who are being detained pretrial in New York City jails.
• Interview clients, performing a thorough bio-psycho-social assessment. During this process, crisis intervention, brief treatment, or short-term counseling may also be performed.
• Identify and review collateral sources of information, including interviewing family members, friends, teachers, social workers, community members, and others; and requesting and reviewing client records (i.e. educational, medical, psychiatric) in order to document specific arguments in court.
• Advocate in court on behalf of clients to judges and court personnel.
• Provide technical assistance and advice to support SLU’s strategic law reform initiatives, including policy advocacy and client-centered strategic litigation initiatives.
• Other duties as assigned.
• Minimum three years’ experience with client populations that may experience physical illnesses and physical disabilities, mental illness, intellectual and developmental delays, and have histories of substance use/abuse
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Excellent organizational skills
• Ability to interface professionally and effectively with judges, district attorneys and correctional personnel in a formal setting
• Ability to work collaboratively with attorneys and other social work professionals in a team model
• Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment toward shared team goals
• A demonstrated interest in working with marginalized clients and their families involved in the criminal legal system
• Broad understanding of or experience with the New York criminal legal system
• Candidates must have an MSW degree and NYS certification in social work (LMSW/LCSW preferred)


The leadership of The Legal Aid Society believes in attracting and retaining exceptional talent committed to serving our clients. We offer a generous benefits package including health insurance, paid vacation, disability and life insurance, and more. Salaries for our unionized jobs are governed by our Collective Bargaining Agreement. Please visit our Careers page for additional information. Salary and benefits information will be available to applicants, when and if, an offer is made.


The leadership of The Legal Aid Society is committed to a work culture of zealous advocacy, respect, diversity and inclusion, client-oriented defense, access to justice and excellent representation. We are dedicated to building a strong professional relationship with each of our clients, to understanding their diverse circumstances, and to meeting their needs. Our ability to achieve these goals depends on the efforts of all of us.


All applications must be completed online. We do not accept paper submissions. Please visit our Careers Page to review all current job postings, and instructions on the application process. For technical difficulties or questions regarding this posting, please email jobpostquestions@legal-aid.org.

As an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer, The Legal Aid Society prohibits discriminatory employment actions against and treatment of its employees and applicants for employment based on actual or perceived race or color, size (including bone structure, body size, height, shape, and weight), religion or creed, alienage or citizenship status, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity (one’s internal deeply-held sense of one’s gender which may be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth; one’s gender identity may be male, female, neither or both, e.g., non-binary), gender expression (the representation of gender as expressed through, for example, one’s name, choice of pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics; gender expression may not be distinctively male or female and may not conform to traditional gender-based stereotypes assigned to specific gender identities), disability, marital status, relationship and family structure (including domestic partnerships, polyamorous families and individuals, chosen family, platonic co-parents, and multigenerational families), genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest or pre-employment conviction record, credit history, unemployment status, caregiver status, salary history, or any other characteristic protected by law.


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