Mar 3, 2023
Apr 1, 2023
Job Vacancy #:
633 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20004
About The Job
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 who are facing a loss of liberty in criminal, delinquency, and mental health justice matters in the local District of Columbia justice system but who are financially unable to obtain adequate representation. PDS’s staff consists of approximately 100 attorneys and approximately 100 social workers, investigators, administrative, and technical staff. Most employees work at the main office 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 certain federal benefit plans: health and life insurance, federal retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Employees with creditable federal service will receive recognition of that service for leave accrual and retirement purposes.
Employment at the Public Defender Service is at will and is neither federal nor District of Columbia government employment.
The Special Litigation Division of the Public Defender Service is dedicated to addressing recurring and systemic violations of our clients’ rights to fair trials and fair treatment. The Division engages in a wide variety of criminal and civil litigation in local and federal courts. Currently the Division is focused on several issues, including adult sentences imposed on people who committed crimes when they were adolescents, unconstitutional conditions imposed on pretrial detainees and prisoners, police misconduct, and government failures to disclose exculpatory evidence.
SLD attorneys litigate criminal and civil cases in local and federal courts, conduct trainings, work on legislative reform, and act as consultants to attorneys in the other divisions of PDS. The attorney’s duties will include drafting substantive trial, post-conviction, and appellate pleadings and presenting oral arguments; working with trial lawyers in on-going criminal litigation; engaging in extensive legal research; factual investigation and development; working with scientific experts and other consultants; conducting evidentiary hearings; and presenting training sessions for PDS and Criminal Justice Act attorneys. The attorney’s caseload will be primarily resentencing litigation pursuant to the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act and/or compassionate release litigation. SLD attorneys must have excellent research and writing skills, be creative and persuasive oral and written advocates, and enjoy working collaboratively and with active supervision.
This is a full-time permanent position. The exact mix of in-person and remote work will depend on the needs of the Division, assignments that must be performed in person (e.g., hearing in court and in facilities, client visits in detention facilities), and office space availability. For this position, it will be the responsibility of the attorney to ensure that any remote work they perform complies with the ethical and practice requirements of the remote jurisdiction.
J.D. from an accredited law school by May 2022 and excellent research, writing and oral persuasion skills. Applicant must (1) be a member of the D.C. Bar; OR (2) be a member of another state bar and, at the time they submit their application for this position, meet the qualifications for admission to the D.C. Bar pursuant to either paragraph (ii) or (iv) of D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 46(b)(1)(B); OR (3) have a J.D. from an ABA-approved law school and, at the time they submit their application for this position, their first application for admission to the bar in a UBE-jurisdiction is pending. D.C. Bar membership or eligibility should be specifically addressed in the cover letter.
Applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of their written and oral advocacy, experience and commitment to being a public defender.
Number of vacancies:
PDS 11/12/13 (GS-11/12/13 equivalent)
How to Apply:
Applicants must submit: (1) a cover letter that explains why you want to work at the Special Litigation Division of the Public Defender Service; (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) a legal writing sample, preferably a brief or other advocacy piece; and (5) a law school transcript.* All materials must be submitted online as a consolidated PDF through the PDS employment web portal at www.pdsdc.org/careers/job-opportunities. If you are unable to apply through the portal, would like assistance applying or have questions about the position please contact:
Jennifer Thomas, Director of Legal Recruiting, [email protected]
* An unofficial transcript is acceptable.