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

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.  Please see for further details.

Position Description

Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders work as part of a team under direction of a supervising attorney.  Duties of the Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders include:

  • Developing and maintaining a strong working relationship with the client
  • Reviewing and analyzing large volumes of documents and records
  • Identifying potential legal claims and investigative needs
  • Overseeing paralegals in record collection and investigators in field investigation
  • Participating in investigation as needed
  • Identifying experts and working with them in developing claims
  • Performing legal research and collaborating with others in drafting extensive pleadings in the trial and appellate courts
  • Working with the team to prepare for and conduct an evidentiary hearing in every post-conviction case
  • Presenting oral arguments in appellate courts
  • Staying abreast of developments in relevant case law

 Minimum Requirements:

  • Tennessee Bar license or obtaining one within a year of accepting the position
  • Ability to travel extensively
  • A valid driver’s license

 Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrated commitment to capital defense, indigent criminal defense or public interest advocacy, and to zealous client-centered representation
  • Highly developed writing and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work closely with others within a team-based model of representation
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people who may be mentally ill, intellectually disabled, or traumatized
  • Preference will be given to candidates with prior experience in capital or other criminal defense, complex civil litigation, judicial clerkship, or a combination thereof

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  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.