Staff Attorney

  • Prison Law Office
  • Berkeley, CA, USA
  • Oct 15, 2020
Full time Legal

Job Description

The Prison Law Office, located in Berkeley, California, is seeking a staff attorney to investigate, litigate and monitor conditions in correctional facilities. 

The Prison Law Office is a nonprofit public interest law firm founded in 1976 that provides free legal services to incarcerated adults and juveniles to improve their conditions of confinement in various correctional settings, including prisons, jails, juvenile halls and immigration detention facilities. With a staff of attorneys and support personnel, we engage in class action and other impact litigation in California, Arizona, and potentially other states; provide direct legal services to individuals regarding their incarceration; educate the public about jail and prison conditions, and provide technical assistance to attorneys throughout the country.

We have litigated numerous successful institutional reform cases that, among other things, have reduced the overcrowding of California’s prisons, improved health care services, guaranteed people with physical and developmental disabilities reasonable accommodations and equal access to jail and prison programs, reduced the use of excessive force, limited racial discrimination in prisons, and restricted the use of solitary confinement in adult and juvenile correctional systems. See for more information.

Staff attorneys play a leading role in the litigation of individual and class claims on behalf of incarcerated people, from fact-gathering and initial case research through discovery, motion practice, settlement negotiations, and trial and appellate work. Attorneys are expected to be proficient in legal research, writing, and oral advocacy. Much of our work involves post-trial remedial monitoring and remedial litigation practice on long-running state-wide class actions; under normal conditions attorneys frequently tour correctional facilities and interview incarcerated people and correctional staff to monitor compliance with existing decrees.

Job Requirements:

  • Admission to the California Bar or plans to sit for the next California Bar Exam.
  • Experience or interest in correctional issues
  • Excellent analytical, legal research and writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills; bilingual skills in Spanish preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to problem-solve, exercise sound judgment, take initiative, and work independently.
  • Ability to interact cooperatively, professionally, and effectively with coworkers, clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, and jail/prison staff.
  • Candidates must be able and willing to travel throughout California and Arizona to prisons and jails on multi-day tours once it becomes safe to do so.

People of color, LGBT individuals, persons with disabilities, and people who have had prior contact or experience with the criminal justice system or prison systems are encouraged to apply.

To be considered for the position, please submit the following materials, as a single attachment to:, with the subject line "Staff Attorney Application."

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Legal writing sample
  • List of three references