Texas Defender Service
Texas Defender Service (TDS) is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of representation afforded to those facing a death sentence and to expose and eradicate the systemic flaws plaguing the Texas death penalty. In addition to providing quality direct representation, TDS tracks death-eligible cases and incarcerated persons with a death-sentenced in Texas; trains, consults with, and provides resources to attorneys in capital cases; and provides assistance to capital defense teams, including those whose clients are facing execution dates.
TDS is offering a one-year legal fellowship for recent law school graduates of the Columbia, Harvard and the University of Texas Law Schools with sound judgment, outstanding legal skills, and a demonstrated commitment to indigent defense. The fellow will collaborate with TDS’s staff in strategic work and public education efforts to decrease death sentences, improve the quality of capital defense in Texas, and advance systemic change in the Texas criminal justice system. They will also work with a team of attorneys engaged in direct representation of death-sentenced prisoners in Texas on direct appeal and in state and federal habeas proceedings. The fellow may also, along with TDS attorneys and mitigation specialists, consult with, provide resources for, and assist attorneys representing clients in capital trial cases on trial strategy and pretrial litigation.
The ideal candidate for this position possesses strong oral, written, research, and investigation skills; works well in a team-based environment; is highly organized; and works effectively under pressure. The ideal candidate is capable of creative and strategic thinking in approaching litigation and should be skilled at both high-level legal research and briefing, as well as ground-level intensive investigative work and records reviews. Prior experience with indigent or capital defense, including developing and litigating appellate and/or habeas claims in capital cases and conducting investigation, and knowledge of the latest developments in criminal, death penalty and/or capital habeas law are preferred. Given the nature of the work, the successful candidate should expect to work some evenings, weekends and holidays. Travel throughout Texas is required. Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
This position may be located in Austin or Houston. Annual compensation for the fellowship is $50,000.
Interested candidates should electronically submit a cover letter, resume, three references, and a writing sample to Ashlee Wigginton (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications will be accepted from February 15, 2021 until March 26, 2021. The fellowship period is from September 2021 to August 2022.