Job Opportunities at PDS
Prisoner & Reentry Legal Services Staff AttorneyApply Now
About The Job
PRLS represents newly released individuals and others with criminal records, assisting them as they reintegrate into the community at various stages of a criminal case. The program’s goal is to empower people with criminal records to successfully transition back into their communities and resume their lives by removing the innumerable barriers caused by criminal legal system involvement. In addition, PRLS serves as the PDS liaison to individuals convicted of District of Columbia Code offenses and serving sentences in the District of Columbia Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons. We provide representation in administrative hearings, information on institutional policies and procedures to protect clients’ rights, to advocate for their conditions of incarceration, and to provide representation, consultation, and guidance on parole and other sentence reduction relief and reentry-related legal matters. Further, PRLS engages with the community, offering know-your-rights programs, legal clinics, workshops, and other educational opportunities for people with criminal records and community members and organizations who serve them.
Please visit the CDD’s page on the PDS website for more information about CDD’s legal services, advocacy, and community engagement.
1. Represent clients in various fora, including but not limited to the D.C. Superior Court, the United States Parole Commission, the D.C. Department of Corrections, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, licensing boards, and other administrative agencies. Representation at hearings will require periodic out-of-state and overnight travel. Hearings will be in person except when institutional policies require virtual appearances. In addition, representation of clients includes an extensive written litigation and advocacy practice, consisting of court and administrative pleadings, along with formal and informal advocacy letters and electronic correspondence.
2. Assist the PRLS Deputy Chief in the training and supervision of PRLS law clerks and interns;
3. Develop training materials, conduct community engagement, and provide education to people directly impacted by the criminal legal system, as well as individuals and organizations that serve them, regarding criminal record relief laws, prisoners’ rights, and reentry;
4. Perform other duties as assigned.
J.D. or equivalent degree from an accredited law school; Excellent research, writing, and oral persuasion skills. The candidate shall possess the ability to work independently and to maintain professional relationships with institutional staff; and the ability to travel overnight to conduct legal visits and represent clients in legal proceedings.
Bar membership and eligibility required: 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.
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.
Work Schedule: This is a full-time permanent on-site position with some remote work. 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., hearings in court and institutions, 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.
How to Apply:
If you have questions about the position, application or hiring process, please contact Jennifer Thomas, Director of Legal Recruiting at (202) 480-0385 or [email protected]
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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.