April 1, 2017


The Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender (OPCD) is accepting applications for an Assistant Post-Conviction Defender.

The OPCD is an independent agency of the Tennessee state government. The agency represents people sentenced to death in Tennessee and provides non-case-specific assistance and educational resources to appointed counsel in capital cases. Direct representation focuses on the investigation and presentation of collateral claims in state courts, primarily in post-conviction proceedings. The OPCD handles cases throughout Tennessee and travel is required.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Current Tennessee Bar license or ability to obtain Tennessee licensure within one year of accepting the position
  • Minimum five years of experience in criminal defense, complex civil litigation, judicial clerkship, or a combination thereof
  • Demonstrated commitment to indigent criminal defense or public interest
  • Ability to travel extensively
  • A valid driver’s license

Preferred Qualifications:

Prior experience in capital defense or at least one of the following areas:

  • Drafting complex pleadings
  • Conducting trials or evidentiary hearings
  • Working within a team-based approach to cases

Position Description:

Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders:

  • Work under the direction of a supervising attorney
  • Develop and maintain a strong working relationship with the client
  • Review and analyze large volumes of documents and records
  • Identify potential legal claims and investigative needs
  • Oversee paralegals in record collection and investigators in field investigation
  • Participate in investigation as needed
  • Identify experts and work with them in developing claims
  • Perform legal research and collaborate with others in drafting extensive pleadings
  • Work within a team to prepare for and conduct evidentiary hearings
  • Present oral arguments in appellate courts
  • Stay abreast of developments in relevant case law
  • Participate in capital defense and other trainings

The OPCD is an equal opportunity employer.  Salary is statutory and based on experience.  Health insurance and other benefits are provided.

Interested candidates should send: 1) a cover letter discussing their experience, skills, and interest in death penalty work; 2) a resume; 3) three professional references; and 4) a writing sample to YorkL@tnpcdo.net.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.