Staff Attorney, WMU-Cooley Innocence Project

Lansing, MI
Part Time
Practice Areas: NA
The staff attorney will identify and develop cases in which outdated or unreliable forensics played a role in the conviction and will present appropriate cases to the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). The attorney will work closely with CIU staff on case investigation. The attorney will report directly to the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project director. This is a part-time, 2-year grant-funded position.

Essential duties and responsibilities:
  • Supervise intake, screening and case acceptance on Wayne County cases.
  • Gather materials for case evaluation and development.
  • Keep current in relevant law and forensic practices.
  • Present appropriate cases to the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit.
  • Work with experts in a variety of forensic fields.
  • Prepare grant reports and other administrative duties required by the grant.
The clinic provides hands-on learning opportunities to law and undergraduate students and free legal representation to Michigan prisoners whose innocence may be proven through post-conviction DNA testing. The staff attorney will work with the clinic director and clinic staff to identify and evaluate cases in which the prisoner’s innocence may be proven through DNA testing of material evidence and will seek testing in appropriate cases.
This is a federal grant-funded position, with no expectation of additional funding beyond the two-year grant award. Successful candidate will work no more than 29 hours per week.

Qualifications. Applicants must have a J.D. degree and be licensed to practice law in Michigan. Candidates must be in good standing with the state bar. The applicant’s record should demonstrate solid lawyering skills and strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills. Experience in post-conviction work and forensics is preferred.

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter. The cover letter should be addressed to Prof. Marla Mitchell-Cichon and should identify the applicant's qualifications and relevant experience as outlined in the previous paragraph. Please e-mail these materials to and put “PT Staff Attorney” in the subject line.

WMU-Cooley Law School has a diverse clinical legal education program, which includes the Access to Justice Clinic, Sixty Plus Elder Law Clinic, two Estate Planning Clinics, the Family Law Assistance Project and the Cooley Innocence Project. Law students in all our in-house programs represent clients under Michigan’s student practice rule under the supervision of faculty and staff attorneys who are experienced practitioners. In addition, Cooley has an extensive externship program.

Cooley Law School’s mission is to prepare our graduates for entry into the legal profession, and practical legal scholarship is our guiding principle and focus. That mission can be summed up in three words - knowledge, skills, and ethics. Our goal is to provide our students with the knowledge required for passage of the bar examination and the practice of law; the skills required to competently practice law and represent their clients; and the ethical values necessary to fulfill their responsibilities as lawyers. Our vision is to remain the best at preparing students for practice and to be a leader in innovation.

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