Special Litigation IRAA Attorney (7 positions)

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Job location
633 Indiana Avenue, NW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20004
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia Columbia
Street address: 
633 Indiana Avenue, NW
District of Columbia
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position 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 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 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.

Division Description: 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.
Position Description: The attorney’s duties will focus on post-conviction litigation pursuant to the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (“IRAA” – D.C. Code § 24-403.03) in D.C. Superior Court. This includes all aspects of these post-conviction matters including investigation, research, writing, editing and filing motions, working with experts and consultants, oral advocacy, examination of witnesses, reentry work, and other IRAA-related work. Duties may also include additional division-related work. SLD attorneys must have excellent research and writing skills, be creative and persuasive oral and written advocates, be eager to handle all facets of case-related work, and enjoy working collaboratively and with active supervision.
Work Schedule: This is a full-time term position terminating September 30, 2024. It is eligible for remote work. Due to the pandemic, PDS is on a maximum telework schedule until October 2022. Beginning in October, we expect this position to shift to a more on-site schedule, 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., court hearings, client visits in detention facilities), and office space availability. For these positions, 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.


Qualification Requirements: J.D. or equivalent degree from an accredited law school by May 2022; excellent research, writing, and oral persuasion skills; and membership in the District of Columbia Bar or eligibility to practice pursuant to either D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 49(c)(9)(B) or 49(c)(9)(C). For law graduates, bar membership or eligibility to practice in D.C. should be specifically addressed in the cover letter. If the position is filled by a third-year law student, they will be expected to sit for the July 2022 bar exam in either D.C. or other UBE jurisdiction. SLD IRAA Attorneys are required to make a two-year commitment to the agency and the division.
Preferred Experience: Two years of relevant experience is preferred but not required. Preferred qualifications include a demonstrated ability to conduct complex research and writing projects, experience in factual development and working with expert witnesses and consultants, experience representing indigent clients in criminal and civil cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts.
Applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of their written and oral advocacy, experience and commitment to being a public defender or civil legal services attorney.

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] (202) 480-0385
* An unofficial transcript is acceptable. Applicants who graduated in 2018 or earlier need not submit a transcript.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
PDS 11/12/13 (equivalent to GS-11/12/13)
Submission deadline: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2022