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Staff Attorney

About WashIP

Washington Innocence Project (WashIP) provides free investigative services and post-conviction representation in cases of actual innocence with supporting newly discovered evidence. We work to secure relief from wrongful convictions so that our clients can be where they belong—at home, with their families and friends, living their lives. Nineteen individuals are living free because of our work, 15 of whom have been exonerated and fully cleared of charges. Collectively, they lost 276 years of their lives to crimes they did not commit. In addition to direct client representation, WashIP promotes policy reforms to identify, rectify, and prevent wrongful convictions, and supports our freed clients following release.

Position Overview

The Staff Attorney maintains an active caseload litigating post-conviction claims of actual innocence that may be proven through DNA testing or other newly discovered evidence in Washington’s trial, appellate, and federal courts. The Staff Attorney may serve as lead or co-counsel with pro bono partners, and work with WashIP Staff to support our clients while modeling WashIP’s values of an inclusive and respectful workplace. The Staff Attorney reports to the Litigation Director.

Essential Job Functions:

Legal Services

  • Provide high-quality, client-centered legal representation to people in prisons across the state of Washington by researching, writing, investigating, and litigating innocence-based post-conviction briefs/motions
  • Work with WashIP Staff to conduct case evaluation and legal analysis of new applications for assistance
  • Prepare cases for placement with community pro bono partners and serve as co-counsel where appropriate
  • Travel throughout the state as needed to conduct prison visits, court hearings, or to coordinate with pro bono partners

Grant Program Duties

  • Execute federal grant projects in conjunction with the Executive Director by working with grant partners, consultants, and agencies
  • Track and timely report grant-funded activities


  • Juris Doctorate degree
  • Active license to practice law in Washington or currently eligible for reciprocity
  • Minimum of five (5) years of trial and/or appellate experience in criminal defense (with a minimum of two (2) years handling felonies), post-conviction litigation, or other criminal litigation
  • Experience researching, writing, and arguing criminal motions
  • Willingness and ability to learn from and work with diverse communities as clients and colleagues

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license to practice law.

Key Competencies (Skills, Abilities, and Traits):

  • Ability to work collaboratively and compassionately with colleagues
  • Excellent writing skills suitable to drafting and editing complex briefs
  • Well-developed interpersonal, conflict resolution, and negotiation skills
  • Strong self-directed work ethic that respects the position of our clients
  • Interest and familiarity with the use of forensic science in criminal law
  • Receptivity to constructive feedback and interest in professional growth
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and case management software
  • Enthusiasm for social justice and strong curiosity about our work, including a commitment to public interest law and criminal legal system reform
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion

Compensation & Benefits:

Benefits commensurate with other legal non-profits based in the Seattle area.

STARTING SALARY $85,000 – $105,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience.

Emotional & Physical Demands:

While performing the duties of this job, the Staff Attorney will be required to manage topics including but not limited to sexual assault, domestic abuse, racial discrimination, and violence. The Staff Attorney will be required to be stationary as well as move throughout the office or external offices; communicate over the phone; and operate keyboards, computer, phone, and other peripherals.

How to apply:

To apply, email a letter of interest and resume to with “Staff Attorney” in the subject line. Position open until filled. Application review begins August 18, 2023.

We strongly encourage individuals whose lived experience aligns with our work to apply. WashIP is an equal opportunity employer committed to ensuring diversity among our applicant pool as well as within our staff and board to reflect the clients and communities we serve.

We also encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply for this position. In your letter of interest, we invite you to tell us how your unique background and/or experiences can contribute to the diversity, vitality, and cultural perspective of our staff, clients, and case work. All members of the WashIP staff embrace, advocate for, and deeply value equity, diversity, and inclusivity. WashIP does not discriminate in the selection of employees based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, national origin, disability, former incarceration status, or veteran status.

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