Research and Writing Specialist

You are here

Job location
601 Walnut Street
Suite 540 West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Federal Community Defender Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Street address: 
601 Walnut Street, Suite 540 West
Job type: 
Position Description: 

The Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has openings in the Capital Habeas Unit for one Research & Writing Specialist. The Unit represents death-sentenced prisoners in all stages of federal habeas corpus proceedings.

The CHU Research and Writing Specialist provides legal services to death-sentenced prisoners in all stages of federal habeas corpus proceedings. The CHU Research and Writing Specialist is an attorney position that provides advanced legal research and writing services to staff attorneys working in the Unit. The CHU Research and Writing Specialist duties include: staying abreast of the latest developments in habeas corpus and criminal procedure; disseminating that knowledge to Assistant Federal Defenders in the Unit; drafting petitions and appellate briefs; analyzing, researching and gathering records; maintaining client contact; and conducting investigations. Under the supervision of the responsible Assistant Federal Defender, the CHU Research and Writing Specialist may sign pleadings or make court appearances in exceptional circumstances based on specific conditions.

Kindly note that filling this positionwill be subject to the funding restrictions and approval of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.


Candidates must be attorneys and possess strong writing ability, should have a demonstrated commitment to poverty law or indigent criminal defense, and should have experience in one of the following areas: criminal law, preferably in capital cases; habeas corpus litigation; or complex federal court civil litigation. Capital post-conviction or appellate experience is preferred. Recent law school graduates with at least two years of relevant work experience and outstanding academic record and writing ability may also be considered. Requirements include admission and good standing before the federal bar, in combination with admission and good standing to a state bar. Eligibility for admission to the Pennsylvania Bar or willingness to sit for the next bar exam is required. Fluency (oral and written) in the Spanish language is helpful but not required. A background in any area of mental health and/or social work is helpful. Ability to engage in extensive travel throughout the country is required. The position requires that the incumbent occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

To apply: 

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume (and writing sample for the Research & Writing Specialist position) to Barbara McCrowell, Personnel Administrator, via e-mail at [email protected], or by regular mail to FCDO, Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 540 West, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106. Candidates will be interviewed on an ongoing basis, and the positios will remain open until filled.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
Salary will be based upon experience consistent with federal guidelines and regulations.
Submission deadline: 
Thursday, June 1, 2017