Fall Law Clerk

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Open Date: Mar 14, 2024
Close Date: Sep 10, 2024
Position Type: Full or Part Time
Location: 633 Third Street, NW Washington, District of Columbia 20001

About The Job

PDS Overview:

A major portion of the work of PDS consists of representing individuals in the District of Columbia’s local criminal legal system who are charged with committing serious criminal acts and who are eligible for court-appointed counsel. In the District of Columbia, public defense services are provided primarily by PDS (the “institutional defender”) and a panel of private attorneys, known ad Criminal Justice Act (CJA) attorneys, who are screened for membership on the panel and paid on a case-by-case basis by the D.C. courts. Because of its resources, well-regarded training program, and institutional practice knowledge, PDS lawyers handle the most serous criminal cases consistent with the best practices of the legal profession.

Position Description:

PDS seeks fall law clerks to work full- or part-time in five of the agency's legal divisions. Law clerks serve as support for attorneys in the Appeals, Civil Legal Services (general and special education), Special Litigation and Trial divisions, and directly represent clients in the Community Defender Division's Juvenile Services and Prisoner & Reentry Legal Services programs. Most semester term clerks work 12 to 15 hours per week, while clerks participating in full semester programs generally work 35 to 40 hours per week. Only those students participating in a credit-bearing externship course are eligible for the fall clerkship program.

Major Duties:

Review the descriptions under the 'legal services divisions' tab to learn about the types of work and responsibilities of the various divisions.

Required Qualifications:

Second or third year law students who have strong legal research, writing and analytical skills. Students enrolled in law school on a part-time schedule may also apply to work their 1L fall.

Preferred Qualifications:

Demonstrated commitment to indigent criminal defense representation or working with low income children or adults in an advocacy or related role. 

Number of vacancies:



This is a volunteer position requiring enrollment in a law school externship course.

How to Apply:

Applicants must submit: (1) a cover letter; (2) a resume; (3) a list of three references (name, e-mail address, telephone number, and a brief statement of how each reference is able to evaluate your skills), (4) an unofficial law school transcript or typed grade list, and (5) a legal writing sample no more than 12 pages. All materials must be submitted online as a single consolidated PDF through the PDS employment web portal at the 'apply now' button below.

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The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is a federally funded, independent organization; governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees, PDS provides legal representation to individuals facing a loss of freedom in the local criminal, delinquency, and mental health systems in the District of Columbia. PDS’s approximately 275 attorneys, social workers, investigative specialists, administrative, and technical staff collaborate with each other to advance the PDS mission. PDS’s main office is located at 633 3rd Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. District of Columbia residency is not a requirement for employment. PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and all employees are entitled to participate in the federal health and life insurance plans, the federal retirement plans (FERS, FERS-RAE, FERS-FRAE, CSRS, CSRS-Offset), and the Thrift Savings Plan. Transferring employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes. Employment at PDS is neither federal nor District of Columbia government employment, and all employees are at-will.

PDS is an E-Verify participating agency. Please see the Right to Work Poster and the E-Verify Participation Poster for more information.


PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and E-Verify Participant.