Staff Attorney – Criminal Defense Unit

Legal Aid Bureau
April 21, 2023
Buffalo, NY
Job Type


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 general direction, performs a variety of trial level activities in the area of criminal law,prominently the representation of indigent persons in the Buffalo City Court, Erie County Court, New York State Supreme Court and any other court where the Criminal Defense Unit is assigned cases; performs related duties as required.
Distinguishing Characteristics:  Staff attorneys are responsible for handling every aspect of a client’s criminal case that is assigned to them. This work commences at arraignment and concludes with filing a Notice of Appeal following conviction, if applicable.
Examples of Duties:
1. Appears at arraignment and subsequent court dates with clients.
2. Reviews accusatory instruments and makes arguments as to dismissal.
3. Makes arguments relevant to bail both at arraignment and at other times as necessary sometimes in Superior Court.
4. Conducts eligibility screenings where applicable.
5. Meets with and remains in touch with clients following arraignment and at regular intervals during the pendency of the case. Client meetings may take place in the office, out of the office, over electronic communication and at the Erie County Holding Center, the Erie County Correctional Facility or other correctional facilities as appropriate.
6. Conducts investigations or retains the service of internal and external investigators as appropriate to gather evidence, locate witnesses and prepare defense materials.
7. Researches and writes motions and makes oral arguments on points of law at hearings and court appearances.
8. Discusses with client and attempts resolution of ancillary issues affecting client’s life including employment issues, housing, treatment and other matters as applicable.
9. Remains in contact with co-defendant counsel as well as attorneys handling client’s other criminal matters in order to secure the best possible results.
10. Retains and prepares expert witnesses as applicable.
11. Prepares for and conducts both jury and non-jury trials.
12. Prepares post-conviction motions (CPL 330, 440) as well as pre-sentencing memorandums in consultation with CDU Social Workers.
13. Files a Notice of Appeal, if applicable, and remains available to assist the assigned appeals attorney with all aspects of a client’s appeal.
14. Maintains legible and complete client files so as to allow for accurate data recording.
15. Provides coverage for attorneys occupied with court matters and/or those out on leave.
16. Remains abreast of updates in criminal law and attends classes and seminars to bolster knowledge and improve performance.
17. Meets regularly with CDU Management staff to discuss status of cases.
18. Performs other duties as assigned by CDU Management.
Employment Standards:  Active membership in the New York State Bar; and
​1. Two+ years experience as an attorney in the practice of trial level criminal defense preferred; 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. Computer proficiency, including, but not limited to, word processing skills and computerized legal research.
4.  Reliable transportation and license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State or demonstrated capacity to meet the transportation needs of the position.
Knowledge of: All statutory laws related to practicing criminal law in New York State, including the Penal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Corrections Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law, Agriculture and Markets Law, Executive Law, Public Health Law and Judiciary Law; trial court procedures; legal research methods; rules of evidence; standard legal office practice and procedures; and ethical and professional rules of conduct.
Ability to: Work independently; perform legal research; analyze and apply legal principles, facts, evidence and precedents in legal problems; present statements of law, facts and arguments clearly, logically and forcefully; both in written and oral format; maintain confidentiality and objectivity; manage assigned caseload; meet with and remain in contact with clients, operate personal computer and computer applications used by the units; establish and maintain effective working relationships with those encountered in the course of work; and interact well with the public.
This position is full-time.
Salary Range: $66,000 - $105,000, 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 May 19, 2023.
Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.
For more information about life in Buffalo, please visit the following: