Legal Fellow

Administration · San Francisco, California
Department Administration
Employment Type Full Time
Minimum Experience Entry-level
Compensation $65,000/yr


Job Description

California Appellate Project (CAP) in San Francisco is a non-profit corporation established by the State Bar of California in 1983 to implement the constitutional right to counsel for indigent persons facing execution on California's Death Row. CAP has three primary functions: 1) assisting unrepresented condemned prisoners during their protracted wait for counsel; 2) assisting appointed counsel in state appellate and state habeas corpus proceedings; and 3) maintaining and developing case-specific documents, training materials and other resources to enhance the representation of appointed counsel.

CAP has received a two-year award from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Upholding the Rule of Law and Preventing Wrongful Convictions program. This grant will be used to launch the Unrepresented Los Angeles County Condemned Project. This project aims to screen and evaluate the capital convictions of a subset of individuals who were sentenced to death in Los Angeles County to identify likely cases of wrongful convictions. Of the 200-plus individuals sentenced to death in Los Angeles, roughly half have not yet received appointed state habeas counsel. Among this group, approximately 40 have completed the direct appeal process and thus are presently unrepresented. The majority of these individuals have been waiting more than twenty years for state habeas counsel to be appointed. This is the target population for this grant project.

Under the direct supervision of a CAP Staff Attorney, the Legal Fellow will review Los Angeles capital cases of unrepresented prisoners on death row for indicators of wrongful and unjust conviction. The Legal Fellow’s work involves direct work with individuals on death row whose cases are involved in the Project, case analysis and intensive document review in preparation for possible referral to an innocence project or similar agency for further investigation and litigation.

This will be a hybrid in-person/remote position. Applicants must be available to start full-time work in February 2022. Applications are due on January 15, 2022 and should be sent to

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Conduct outreach to and remain in contact with indigent death row prisoners.

2. Evaluate individual cases to develop discovery requests to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

3. Collaborate with the Supervising Attorney in communicating with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to request and obtain discovery.

4. Draft and prepare case evaluation memoranda.

5. Prepare and present individual cases to a panel of experienced attorneys.

6. Collaborate with a paralegal to develop case chronologies and investigation plans.

7. Supervise student volunteers.

8. Attend relevant trainings and seminars.

9. Some travel within California will be required.

10. Commitment to the full two-year term of the fellowship is required.


1. Strong commitment to social justice.

2. Familiarity with working with people from diverse or economically-disadvantaged backgrounds.

3. Ability to take initiative in identifying and pursuing investigative leads.

4. Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

5. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

6. Excellent analytical skills and attention to detail.

7. Ability to handle confidential matters with discretion and sound judgment.

8. Ability to multi-task and prioritize.

9. Proficient in Microsoft Word® and Microsoft Excel®, and ability to learn other computer programs, including Aderant Total Office® and Lexis-Nexis CaseMap.®

10. Availability for travel within California.

11. Valid Driver's License.

12. California Bar Membership or commitment to seek bar membership by July 2022 strongly preferred.

13. Spanish language fluency preferred.

To apply, you may submit your application here or you may send us an email with your resume, writing sample, law school transcript and a cover letter to Also please submit 1-2 paragraph-long answers to these supplemental questions: 1) Why are you interested in this fellowship position and what skills do you hope to gain from the experience? 2) What behaviors, strategies or personal qualities allow you to function most effectively when working with a highly diverse population? 3) Please provide a description of your experience with direct client services. 4) Please provide a brief description of your experience with the carceral system, including, but not limited to experience working with criminal defendants, appellants/petitioners, and your experience representing death row inmates in capital cases. 5) (Optional) Is there any aspect of your application that you would like to highlight or explain? The salary for this Fellowship position is $65,000 annually.

The California Appellate Project, an equal opportunity employer, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, age, or any other criteria protected under federal, state or local law. People impacted by the carceral system and those from underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

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  • Location
    San Francisco, California
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    Full Time
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation