Chief Attorney - Criminal Defense Unit

Wednesday, July 06, 2022 4:02 PM | David Schopp

The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc.

Chief Attorney – Criminal Defense Unit

The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo seeks to provide access to justice and due process to the most vulnerable individuals, children and families in the Western New York Community through quality legal representation and assistance.

Definition:  Under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer, performs a variety of legal, administrative and supervisory activities in the area of criminal law; performs related duties as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics:  The Chief Attorney is responsible for administration of the criminal defense unit and supervision of the team of managing attorneys and support staff supervisor in the discharge of their various responsibilities.  The Chief is also responsible for overseeing and participating in important public outreach activities and for establishing and maintain a Legal Aid presence in the larger legal community.

Examples of Duties:

1.      Works with managing attorney team and support staff supervisor to develop procedures to ensure that clients are provided with the highest quality representation.  Supports implementation of same.

2.      Establishes and maintains a cooperative work environment.

3.      Performs conflict checks.

4.      Prepares annual master assignment calendar, term calendars, and weekly calendars.  Revises as necessary.

5.      Conducts semi-monthly unit meetings. Partners with managing attorneys and support staff supervisor to manage unit communications.

6.      Participates, often in a leadership role, in countywide and statewide boards, organizations, and bar association activities in order to further the interests of the Bureau, our indigent clients and the system as a whole.  Participates in state and federal lobbying activities regarding criminal justice issues.

7.      Assists with preparation of funding applications and compiles data for submission of periodic reports to funders.  May assist with writing grant narrative.

8.      Communicates regularly with judges and representatives of the Courts regarding the administration of our criminal defense work.

9.      Maintains strong working relationship with leaders in the district attorney’s office.

10.  Provides regular feedback to managing attorneys and support staff supervisor and prepares annual performance evaluations.

11.  Coordinates with other Units in the Bureau regarding legal projects.

12.  Keeps abreast of recent developments in criminal law and provides case law updates to the Unit and to other Units at the Bureau.

13.  Consults with and may advise staff on complex legal issues.

14.  Communicates with clients regarding concerns or complaints.

15.  Actively participates Bureau recruitment and retention activities.

16.  Represents the criminal defense unit in contract negotiations.

17.  Handles grievances and more complex personnel issues.

18.  Maintains own case load, taking on all of the duties that a staff attorney has in representing a client. 

19.  Oversees pro bono work conducted by outside counsel.

Employment Standards:  Active membership in the New York State Bar; and

            1.  Seven years of experience as an attorney in criminal defense matters; or

            2.  A combination of training, education and experience that is equivalent to the above employment standard and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

            3.  Three years of management experience preferred.

            4.  Computer proficiency, including case management system and interfaces.

            5.  Reliable transportation and license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State or demonstrated capacity to meet the transportation needs of the position.

This position is full-time.

Salary Range: $125,000 - $145,000, depending on experience

Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision benefits is available to you and your dependents.  In addition, we offer generous vacation, personal, and sick time.  Other benefits available to you are long-term disability insurance, supplemental term life insurance, parking expense reimbursement plan, transit plan, a flexible spending account, and a 401(k) retirement plan.

Many of our attorneys apply for New York State Higher Education Services Corporation District Attorney and Indigent Legal Services Attorney Loan Forgiveness Program and the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc. values Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Minorities / Females / Disabled / Veterans / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity

Please send your cover letter, at least three references, resume, and writing sample to or The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., Attention: Human Resources, 290 Main Street, Suite 400, Buffalo, NY 14202 by August 15, 2022.

Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

For more information about life in Buffalo, please visit the following:

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