Job Opportunities

Executive Secretary

Vacancy Announcement:
PDS 2021-27
Pay Series:

Executive Secretary

PDS-0318-9 (GS-9 equivalent)

Opening Date:
Dec 20, 2021
Closing Date:
Jan 20, 2022
Number of Vacancies:
Position Type:
Full-Time (Permanent)
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
633 Indiana Ave., NW
Washington, DC. 20004
Who May Appy:

US Citizens or persons authorized to work in the United States as of December 20, 2021.


Salary Range: $60,129 - $78,167

Organization Description:

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 individuals who are indigent and who are facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia’s local criminal, delinquency, and mental health legal systems.   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 the Thrift Savings Plan. Transferring employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes.

Please note that the position has temporarily been altered to telework status during the pandemic until further notice.

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

Essential Duties:

Major Duties: The executive assistant will be responsible for providing administrative support to the Director, the Deputy Director, and the General Counsel in their overall planning, development, and management of PDS’s operations.  In addition to handling correspondence and telephone calls, scheduling and managing appointments and visitors, and word processing, the executive assistant will:

  • Assist the executive staff in their work with the PDS Board of Trustees and any other in-house Board efforts and other assignments;


  • Use PDS’s computerized case tracking system, including retrieving and formatting data for reports;


  • Provide support to the General Counsel with renewals of bar membership for PDS attorneys and professional liability insurance;


  • Provides basic litigation support to the General Counsel, formatting documents for filing, electronically filing pleadings, and electronically tracking case events and filing deadlines; also, maintains the original files for litigation involving PDS or PDS staff members and copy (for the General Counsel) materials relating to the case for a working copy, and track deadlines and response dates through Outlook;


  • Periodically provides limited support to other PDS divisions as needed;


  • Serves as a resource person for the management of the Board of Trustees; makes arrangements for monthly board meetings, maintain records of trustees; edits, publishes, and distributes meeting minutes; schedules, plans and makes necessary arrangements for social or special events associated with the Board of Trustees;


  • Maintains an electronic notebook by topic and by date for all press articles referring to PDS and for articles of interest from the Washington Post, City Paper, Legal Times, and other sources as identified.  Each of the identified news outlets is searched electronically on a daily basis for reference to PDS and other terms as supplied.  Electronically maintains fax and e-mail information for all identified press outlets for distributing press releases as needed;


  • Uses a personal computer to prepare documents and reports including charts, tables, graphs, and specialized software needed to support office functions.  With full proficiency, uses PDS’s computerized case tracking system (Atticus).  Uses Atticus to pull data for reports;


  • Performs other duties as assigned.
Required Qualifications:

Qualification Requirements:           

Applicants must have two years of specialized secretarial experience and two years of general office experience that involves progressive responsibility for law-related matters, one year of experience producing documentation in a legal setting, and one year of experience utilizing legal and business formats.  Additionally, applicants must also have at least one year of experience working with Microsoft Office Suite (i.e., Word, Outlook, Power Point, Excel, Access, and Publisher). 

Preferred Qualifications:

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

1. Paralegal Certificate or a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Legal Studies, Criminal Justice, Criminology and/or related field.

2. Associates degree or higher in English, literature, and/or related field.

3. At least one-year experience providing administrative or other support in a legal office or court system.

4. At least one-year experience maintaining and organizing electronic shared and hard copy files.

5. At least one-year experience as a customer service provider or receptionist.

6. At least one-year experience managing employee calendars.

7. At least one-year of experience with Microsoft suite and Adobe Pro.

8. At least one-year of preparing, proofreading, and editing letters and other documentation in a legal setting.

9. Excellent customer service and oral and written communications skills for interacting with a wide variety of persons.

10. Exceptional grammar, spelling, punctuation, and editing skills

11. Strong organizational skills for tracking and completing multiple tasks within deadlines.

12. The ability to maintain strict confidentiality due to responsibilities of handling sensitive matters on behalf of the executive staff.

Application Evaluation:

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 Cisco Web-X, Skype, or some other communications platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Benefits: 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 (retirement annuity)

Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K program)

Federal Employees Health Benefits (health insurance)

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (life insurance)

Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program

Flexible Spending Accounts (for health care and dependent care)

Long Term Care

Transportation Subsidy

Employee Assistance Program

Federal Occupational Health (access to health clinic and services)

How To Apply:

How to apply: You must provide a complete application package that includes: (1) a cover letter and resume; and (2) a list of three references that include name, address, telephone number, and a statement of how each reference is able to evaluate your skills.  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.

Application Portal

Please submit your application package through PDS’s online application portal found through the following link:

To submit required documents, you must click on the “APPLY” button for Vacancy Announcement # PDS 2021-27 Executive Secretary.  You must also fully answer the Questionnaire found through said website.   Affirmative responses on the Questionnaire must be supported by documentation you provide through your cover letter and/or resume.  Application packages submitted with missing information and/or responses to the Questionnaire can affect referring your application package to the hiring manager.  PDS will not accept application packages by email, mail, fax, or personal delivery.

For applicants with disabilities, PDS provides reasonable accommodations which will be decided on a case-by-case basis.  To request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or interview process, please contact Steve Yu, Lead HR Specialist, at (202) 824-2339 or at

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


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