Legal and Administrative Support Assistant

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Open Date: Nov 14, 2022
Close Date: Dec 14, 2022
Position Type: Permanent Full Time
Job Vacancy #: PDS 2022-36
Location: 633 Indiana Ave, N.W. Washington, DC 20004

About The Job

PDS Overview:

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 for indigent individuals who are charged with criminal offenses in the District of Columbia and those who face a loss of liberty in non-criminal matters.  PDS has approximately 200 employees, most of whom work at the main office at 633 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.  PDS’s staff consists of approximately 100 attorneys and approximately 100 social workers, investigators, administrative, and technical staff.  PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and all employees are entitled to participate in certain federal benefits plans: health and life insurance, federal retirement, and Thrift Savings Plan. Transferring employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes.  

Employment at the Public Defender Service is at will and is not federal employment.  

Division Overview:

This position is located in the Mental Health Division (MHD), Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia.  PDS’s Mental Health Division provides legal representation to District of Columbia residents, who have been involuntarily hospitalized for treatment of mental illness; who have been found incompetent to stand trial; or who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI).   In addition, the MHD staff regularly advises local and national advocacy groups, testify before the D.C. Council on legislative reforms and frequently provide critical assistance to trial division attorneys.  The incumbent of this position serves as office manager for the Mental Health Division by performing a variety of administrative, legal support and technical work to support the Division Chief, attorneys, social workers and investigative staff and the management of the MHD programs and operations.

Major Duties:

  • Interfaces with multiple electronic information systems both within MHD and the DC Superior Court.  Publishes daily list of new cases filed by the government by monitoring the Superior Court electronic case management system (Courtview).  Obtains and processes cases to which MHD attorneys have been appointed.  Prepares the initial case file for the attorney using the PDS case management system (Atticus), uploads all relevant petitions, orders, legal documents and hearing dates into the electronic case file and notifies the attorney of the same. Maintains the electronic case file by daily monitoring of the Superior Court’s electronic case filing system, CaseFileExpress, to retrieve and upload all subsequent legal filings and hearing dates and notifies the attorney of the same.
  • Approves transcript requests and summarizes the same upon request of attorney.  Uses mental health and criminal justice data bases to create timelines of clients’ court involvement, including supporting documentation.  Helps maintain subject matter files and motions bank on Division shared drive.  Maintains shared file on experts, including curriculum vitae, background investigation and relevant transcripts of prior testimony. Assists investigative and social work staff with retrieval and synthesis of clients’ mental health, medical and court records.  Assists in the preparation of training materials for both monthly in-house and bi-monthly CJA trainings.
  • Liaisons with Office of Attorney General, D.C. Superior Court, CJA Mental Health Panel attorneys, the Department of Behavioral Health, contract hospital personnel and other mental health organizations and stakeholders for a variety of administrative tasks, including but not limited to notification of attorney availability, trainings, document retrieval and maintaining and updating contact information.  
  • Ensures accuracy of statistical case outcome data and works closely with Division Chief to prepare monthly Division report and annual Division budget report and requests for Agency Director and Budget and Finance Office respectively.
  • Schedules and attends staff meetings; takes notes and prepares and distributes meeting minutes; follows up with staff members on commitments made or actions required and keeps the Division Chief informed of results or status. Regularly creates, publishes and revises a monthly duty day and weekly forensic duty calendar. 
  • Serves as timekeeper for MHD staff members, entering time and attendance data into the QuickTime Payroll system.  Maintains a record and file retention of staff leave slips. Receives and records employee leaves of absence on shared calendar.
  • Prepares requisition purchase orders, requests for goods and services and other documents, reimbursement vouchers, travel and training requests, etc. for Division Chief’s approval.  Procures office supplies and equipment as needed.  Requests or arranges for repair of service on office equipment.  Establishes or renews publication subscriptions.
  • Responsible for assembling out-going mail, FED EX mail and package shipments.  Reviews all incoming correspondence and mail for the Division; and routes mail to appropriate staff, retaining items requiring the attention of the Division Chief. Composes routine correspondence of a non-technical nature for signature of the Division Chief.
  •  Receives telephone calls and visitors.  Screens calls by determining the nature of the call; responds to requests for routine information; refers calls to appropriate staff members or handles the matter personally.  Checks office voicemail and fax and refers information to appropriate staff members.
  •  Performs other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

This vacancy is open only to US Citizens or those authorized to work in the United States as of the opening date listed on this vacancy announcement.

Preferred Qualifications:

Highly Desirable Qualifications:  Additionally, the following knowledge, skills, and abilities and/or experiences are deemed highly desirable:

  •  A Paralegal certification or similar degree from an accredited educational institution;
  • An Associates Degree (or higher) from an accredited educational institution in psychology, sociology, criminology or related field;
  • At least one-year experience providing administrative or other support in a legal office or court system
  • Ability to fluently speak and write in one or more of the following languages:  Spanish, Amharic, Mandarin and/or Vietnamese;
  • Ability to fluently communicate through American Sign Language;
  • At least one-year experience navigating multiple criminal justice or other legal data management systems including, but NOT limited to: Courtview, Case File Express, Justis, Jaacs, Atticus, etc.
  • At least one-year experience maintaining and organizing electronic shared files;
  • At least one-year experience as a customer service provider or receptionist;
  • At least one-year experience managing employee calendars;
  • At least one-year experience creating statistical and/or budget reports;
  • Proficient in Microsoft suite and Adobe Pro.

Application Evaluation:

Your application package includes your cover letter, resume and supporting documents. Please ensure your application package includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position. Failure to provide sufficient evidence in your application package and requested supporting documents can result in a rejection of your application package. Prior to the closing date of the announcement, PDS reserves the right to conduct rolling interviews.

Rating: Your application package will be rated and ranked among other applicants, based on your experience, education, training, and awards relevant to the duties of this position. Your rating can be lowered if your application package is not supported by the requested documents.

Referral: If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application package will be referred to a hiring manager for consideration at which time you may be invited to participate in a selection interview. 

Interview Structure: Those who are selected for interviews will be required to interview via Web-X, Skype, or some other communications platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Number of vacancies:


Pay Series:

PDS-8 (GS-8 Equivalent)


$56,086 to $72, 907/year


PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and employees are entitled to participate in federal benefits plans, federal retirement systems, and the workers compensation program. Transferring federal employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement (if applicable) purposes. Benefits include:

Federal Employees Retirement Systems

Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K program)

Federal Employees Health Benefits

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program

Flexible Spending Accounts (for health care and dependent care)

Long Term Care

Commuter Benefits

Employee Assistance Program

Federal Occupational Health (access to health clinic and services) 


Who May Apply:

US Citizens or those authorized to work in the United States.

How to Apply:

You must provide a complete application package which includes: (1) a cover letter as noted above; (2) a resume, including email address; (3) copies of unofficial college transcripts (if claiming at least an Associates Degree in above listed areas of study) upon application; and (4) a list of three references that include name, address, telephone number, and a statement of how each reference is able to evaluate your skills.  Copies of official college transcripts will be required if selected for the position. Materials should be consolidated as a single PDF and submitted through the PDS employment application portal.

 Your cover letter must include your qualifications as follows:

  •   Demonstrated ability to multitask, problem solve and provide support and assistance to diverse group of individuals.
  • Skill in the use of personal computers and information systems (e.g., legal database systems, human resources payroll systems, etc.) to transact business, to independently conduct research, and manage data on a recurring basis;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • A basic foundation of administrative concepts, principles, and practices sufficient to perform independently such duties as eliminating conflict and duplication in extensive office procedures; determining when new procedures are needed systemically studying and evaluating established procedures and recommending acceptance or alteration of their use;
  • Knowledge and understanding of management principles, practices, methods and techniques to conduct assessments and reviews and skill in integrating various administrative/management services with the general management of an organization.

Please submit your application package through PDS’s online application portal found through the following link: PDS will not accept application packages by email, mail, fax or personal delivery. Materials should be consolidated as a single PDF and submitted through the PDS employment application portal.

 COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: The PDS COVID-19 vaccination policy requires as a condition of employment that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive from PDS a reasonable accommodation due to a disability or sincere religious belief. If you are offered a position and decide to join PDS, then before starting work at PDS you will be required either (A) to submit proof that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to your initial HR representative or (B) to request and receive an accommodation due to disability of sincere religious belief.

 If you have any questions about the position, application, hiring process or require a reasonable accommodation during any part of the application process, please contact Anisha Trice, HR Specialist at (202) 824-2227 or email [email protected]


PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and an E-Verify Participating Agency

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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 235 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 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 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.