Paralegal – Conviction Review Unit

Location
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Posted
Nov 23, 2021
Closes
Dec 13, 2021
Employment Status
Full Time

Who May Apply: Open to all qualified applicants

Date Posted: 11/23/2021

Closing Date: 12/13/2021

LA5 Salary Range: $20.61 - $30.36/hourly; $43,033 - $63,391/annually

LA6 Salary Range: $22.33 - $34.08/hourly; $46,625 - $71,159/annually

Job Summary

The Office of Attorney General Keith Ellison — one of Minnesota’s largest public law offices and recently recognized as a Star Tribune 2021 Top Workplace — has a clear mission: we help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect.  We are a dynamic group of dedicated professionals who could all work elsewhere but choose public service as a calling, and we are actively building an internal culture that supports that calling.

As one of Attorney General Keith Ellison's criminal justice reform initiatives, the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General has established a statewide Conviction Review Unit (CRU) to conduct extrajudicial review of criminal convictions in cases with plausible allegations of actual innocence.

Throughout the nation, there has been a growing number of exonerations of people convicted of crimes they did not commit.  The Attorney General’s Office recognizes that mistakes are made in the criminal justice system, and prosecutors must develop systems to review cases where mistakes may have affected findings of guilt or innocence of the accused. The newly formed CRU provides a mechanism to conduct fact-based review of convictions to ensure their integrity and to ensure that justice is done in cases of wrongful conviction.

The Office is accepting applications from paralegals who have the professionalism, capabilities, and drive to perform the highest quality work on behalf of the people of Minnesota as part of the Conviction Review Unit. This position is an opportunity to perform meaningful work that makes a difference in the lives of Minnesotans.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Work cooperatively with all division staff in a fast-paced team setting to handle and process a high volume of applications from incarcerated people
  • Receive, review, and track Applications for assistance
  • Open and maintain files for each Applicant
  • Maintain a database to track Applications and case data
  • Obtain and review documents related to Applicants’ convictions, including court opinions, motions, transcripts, police reports, and information held by law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Department of Corrections, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
  • Conduct research in various public databases and on Westlaw
  • Communicate with law enforcement agencies, police officers, criminal defense attorneys, county attorneys, law school clinic directors, forensic scientists at the BCA, witnesses, and victims
  • Create a file management system and keep it updated
  • Prioritize Applications for review based on dynamic factors
  • Draft memoranda, requests, agreements, and correspondence necessary for carrying out case investigations
  • Update database with results of investigations
  • Compile information necessary to complete final recommendations on Applications

Minimum Qualifications

  • Completion of formal paralegal or legal assistant coursework from an accredited program that resulted in a program certificate in Paralegal Studies, associate degree or bachelor's degree in Paralegal or Legal Studies AND two years of experience working as a paralegal, legal assistant, or equivalent paraprofessional legal support position
  • Ability to handle a large volume of work while maintaining accuracy and confidentiality
  • Ability to effectively communicate in writing and verbally
  • Strong organizational skills, sufficient to identify and address priorities and meet tight deadlines
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint
  • Proven ability to contribute positively to a team and interact successfully with members of the public, law enforcement officers, attorneys, law students, and various state agencies
  • A commitment to social justice

To be considered at the Legal Assistant 5 (LA5) level applicants must have 2 years experience working as a paralegal, legal assistant, or equivalent paraprofessional legal support position.

To be considered at the Legal Assistant 6 (LA6) level applicants must have 7 or more years experience working as a paralegal, legal assistant, or equivalent paraprofessional legal support position.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong attention to detail, good judgment, and a strong work ethic
  • Highly organized, careful in handling sensitive or confidential information, and able to manage time effectively between frequent competing tasks
  • Ability to persevere given the inevitable challenges that will accompany this type of new and dynamic unit
  • Ability to stay resilient when tasks become difficult
  • Value a culture of learning, where every member of the team is unafraid to ask questions, to learn from mistakes, and to grow as professionals
  • Ability to communicate plainly and respectfully with incarcerated people
  • Applicants who are proficient in a foreign language are encouraged to apply

Why Work For Us

GREAT BENEFITS PACKAGE! The State of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package including low cost medical and dental insurance, employer paid life insurance, short- and long-term disability, pre-tax flexible spending accounts, retirement plan, tax-deferred compensation, generous vacation and sick leave, and 11 paid holidays each year.

Public service with this office may qualify applicants to have part of their student loans forgiven under a federal student loan forgiveness program for state government employees. (Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service for more information.)

Our differences make us stronger and leveraging them helps us create a workforce where everyone can thrive. The State of Minnesota is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at our workplace. We do this by developing strong leaders and advocates, increasing cultural competence, and understanding among all employees, and removing institutional barriers and attitudes that prevent employees from advancing as far as their talents will take them. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), marital status, familial status, receipt of public assistance, membership or activity in a local human rights commission, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, or age.

How to Apply

Interested applicants must apply online through the State of Minnesota Careers website, which is the State’s official application and hiring site. The deadline for applications is December 13, 2021.

  1. Go to www.mn.gov/careers;
  2. Apply for posting number 50697

Contact

If you have questions, contact Sarah Spence-Koivisto at sarah.spence-koivisto@ag.state.mn.us or 651/757-1050.

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