Lateral Trial Attorney

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Position Type: Open Until Filled Full-Time
Location: 633 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, District of Columbia 20004

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 as 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 serious criminal cases consistent with the best practices of the legal profession.

Position Description:

Staff attorneys in the Trial Division zealously represent adults in criminal proceedings in the District of Columbia Superior Court (Superior Court) and children in delinquency matters. Attorneys are assigned to specific levels of cases based on experience and performance. As a result of intensive supervision and ongoing training, attorneys generally progress over the course of several years from litigating juvenile delinquency matters to litigating the most serious adult offenses.

The most seasoned attorneys in the Trial Division handle complex and resource-intensive adult cases. Senior PDS attorneys routinely handle cases involving DNA evidence, expert testimony, multiple-count indictments, and novel or complex legal matters. This group of highly trained litigators provides representation in the majority of the most serious adult felony cases filed in the Superior Court each year.

Less senior Trial Division staff attorneys handle the most difficult or resource-intensive delinquency cases (i.e., those with serious charges or children with serious mental illnesses or learning disabilities), and handle some general felony cases and a limited number of misdemeanor cases. Trial Division staff attorneys also provide representation in a wide range of other legal matters through PDS’s Duty Day Program and the Superior Court’s Drug Court Program.

Required Qualifications:

A minimum of three years experience as a criminal defense attorney. First-chair for at least three felony (or DC felony-equivalent jury trials).

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience as a public defender representing low income clients charged with serious crimes.

Application Evaluation:

PDS seeks candidates with a demonstrated commitment to indigent criminal defense representation, experience with jury trials, scientific evidence, expert testimony and strong legal research and writing ability.

Pay Series:

PDS AD 13-1 (equivalent to GS 13-1)



How to Apply:

Consolidate and submit the following materials as a single pdf: (1) a cover letter explaining why you want to be a trial attorney at PDS, (2) a resume, (3) a list of three references and how they can evaluate your skills, (4) a redacted list of your three most recent felony jury trials (include an explanation of the charges, legal issues raised, motions filed, use of scientific evidence and/or expert witnesses and the outcome of the case). If you are not a member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar, address your eligibility for admission in the 'notes' section of the application.
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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.