Legal Advocacy Counsel

Practice Areas: Criminal Defense Job #: 2021-17 Exp.: 5+ Years
In 2014, the ASPCA and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) established a unique and groundbreaking partnership to address animal cruelty in New York City. The NYPD responds to and investigates reports of animal cruelty and other animal-related crimes, while the ASPCA provides case assistance, including investigative and legal support, forensic expertise, and sheltering, behavioral assessments, and placement of animal cruelty victims.

New York City Legal Advocacy Counsel, working under the supervision of Senior Counsel, plays a critical role in this work and is principally responsible for (1) working in coordination with the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Liaisons to provide legal support to NYPD officers responding to and investigating complaints of animal cruelty and other animal-related crimes; (2) serving as principal point of contact with and providing legal support to the Assistant District Attorneys who prosecute these cases in each of the five boroughs; (3) litigating proceedings under New York’s security posting law (NY AML § 373(6)); (4) providing legal guidance to other ASPCA teams that provide expert services in animal cruelty cases in NYC, including forensic veterinarians, animal behaviorists, and medical and sheltering staff, and to the ASPCA’s Community Engagement (CE) team which provides a range of safety-net services for at-risk animals and their guardians to prevent cruelty before it happens.

New York City Legal Advocacy Counsel serves as an integral member of the Legal Advocacy and Investigations (LAI) department, which works to increase legal protections for animals by providing investigative and legal assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors handling animal cruelty cases nationwide; engaging in civil litigation likely to have a significant impact on animal welfare; and providing legislative analysis and drafting expertise to the ASPCA’s Government Relations department.

Job Responsibilities Include:
Case Work (70%)
  • Review all animal-related NYPD cases and provide real time guidance on legal issues, including approval for animal transports, scope of legally permissible care, and legal status of animals.
  • Provide back-up and hands-on legal assistance to NYC prosecutors and members of the NYPD through legal advice, charging recommendations, legal research, drafting of motions, jury instructions, and other case related materials.
  • Develop and cultivate strategic relationships with prosecutors, law enforcement and other external stakeholders, including social service agencies, involved with animal cruelty matters in NYC.
  • Draft, file and conduct security petition hearings under NY AML § 373(6) for all NYC cases involving seized animals. Appropriately respond to and argue motions stemming from security petition decisions, including any motions for stays or other appeals.
  • Work in connection with other departments to ensure the collection, review and production of appropriate and responsive discovery materials pursuant to Article 245 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
  • Working in consultation with Senior Counsel, collaborate with other teams to create and improve protocols aimed at reducing hold times for NYPD animals.
  • Connect prosecutors and police to other ASPCA teams and resources, including forensic veterinarians and behaviorists.
  • Review and approval all subject matter expert reports generated in connection with NYPD cases.
  • Working in consultation with Senior Counsel, collaborate with media and development teams to appropriately highlight and promote the ASPCA’s involvement and work on animal related cases in New York City.
  • Maintain complete and up-to-date case files and records, including entering case data into electronic database(s).
  • Attend cross-departmental meetings to discuss and advise on legal updates regarding animals from NYPD cases.
  • Participate in CE case review; provide legal advice, guidance and training to the CE team; act as legal liaison between CE and other agencies on all legal matters.
  • Review and respond to referrals of suspected cruelty from other ASPCA teams including the CE and Community Medicine teams in Los Angeles and Miami.
  • Work collaboratively with other ASPCA teams on criminal cases, including Legal, Media & Communications, and Development.

Training and Outreach (25%)
  • Work with department leadership and other teams, including Forensics, Humane Law Enforcement and CE, to conduct animal cruelty and animal fighting trainings for NYPD, prosecutors, veterinary partners and other approved external stakeholders
  • Assist department leadership with the development of a strategic and targeted cruelty case training program for law enforcement and other stakeholders (internal and external).
  • Develop high-quality presentation materials as approved by department leadership and deliver clear and effective presentations.
  • Represent the ASPCA and/or the department with professionalism in a variety of internal and external venues as assigned.

Other (5%)
  • Collect criminal case and other program data for internal and external reporting as needed.
  • Participate in continuing education and professional development opportunities as approved/required.
  • Other projects and duties as assigned by the Senior Counsel or the department’s Vice President.

Exemplifies the ASPCA’s Core Values:
  • Has Commitment and dedication to improving the lives of animals
  • Demonstrates Ownership and feels responsible for outcomes
  • Believes in Team – that we are stronger together
  • Seeks to Elevate others and reimagine what is possible
  • Focuses on Impact, specifically making change for animals

Experience Requirements:
  • Minimum of five (5) years experience as a criminal prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer, preferably in New York City.
  • Admission to New York State Bar required

Additional Information:
  • This position will be based from our Long Island City and/or our 92nd Street location
  • Occasional travel is likely
  • On call availability (evenings and weekends) required
  • Candidates selected to advance in the hiring process will be asked to submit a writing sample
  • A cover letter is required for this position. Please submit a tailored cover letter with your application.

Superior legal writing, research, and oral advocacy skills; Trial and appellate practice experience; Superior communication and negotiation skills; Highly motivated and detail-oriented; Ability to work independently and collaboratively; Exceptional interpersonal skills; Strong written and oral communication skills; Ability to maintain confidentiality and handle highly sensitive information; Ability to juggle multiple, high-priority tasks; Ability to excel in high-paced and high-stress situations; Commitment to professional growth and development; Demonstrated commitment to animal welfare issues; Flexibility and adaptability to meet the needs of a dynamic and evolving department; Computer proficiency and knowledge of Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat Pro; Familiarity with animal welfare issues; Familiarity with New York State Criminal law and procedure; Working knowledge of New York City criminal court system and procedures; Familiarity with Article 26 of the Agriculture and Market law

English (Required)

Education and Work Experience:
Doctorate: Law (Required)

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