January 2018

Sponsored by the Capital Resource Counsel and
Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Projects,
and the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.

As part of our coordinated effort to ensure defendants charged with capital-eligible offenses in federal court receive high-quality representation provided by diverse, talented, and skilled counsel, the Capital Resource Counsel (CRCP) and the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel (FDPRCP) Projects announce a new capital fellowship program with the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.

The FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER CAPITAL FELLOWSHIP is designed to introduce, familiarize, and train defense counsel in comprehensive federal capital defense pre-trial and trial practice. The Fellowship program is intended to increase familiarity, involvement, and, appointment of federal public defenders to capital trial cases through work with strong trial teams that will provide intensive training and mentoring to the Fellows. The Fellowship is designed to support continued engagement of practitioners in capital defense work after the Fellowship term and throughout their career.

The effectiveness of capital teams depends upon the recruitment and engagement of excellent and diverse legal talent. The fellowship recognizes the need for attorneys of varied backgrounds and skills to better meet the needs of clients. To further this end, and to increase opportunities for advancement to traditionally underrepresented groups in the legal profession and capital representation, the Fellowship sponsors seek to increase racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, as well as Spanish-language fluency, of the federal capital trial bar.

Fellows will work directly and full-time with select capital trial teams around the country and in regular and close consultation with CRCP and FDPRCP staff to learn about capital defense work. Fellows will engage in direct representation of at least one capital client, provide assistance and case consultation on other cases, and develop pleadings and related litigation resources to be utilized in the training and consulting efforts of the FDPRCP, as applicable. Fellows will undertake any and all appropriate substantive duties and responsibilities to the client and case, including but not limited to, strategic litigation assessment, budget drafting, fact and mitigation investigation, legal research, pleadings development, expert outreach and engagement, development of presentation materials for submission regarding authorization, participation in court proceedings, and client engagement and witness contact. Fellows will be expected to appear in court, research, draft, and argue motions, put on evidentiary hearings, gather and review records, identify and interview witnesses, and locate and work with experts. Fellows will also have access to FDPRCP capital training, both individually (e.g., Annual Federal Death Penalty Strategy Session Program) and with the Fellow’s defense team (e.g., Authorized Case Training Programs), as well as other formal professional development opportunities and resources.

Fellows will be employed by the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., during the term of the Fellowship and Fellows will be directly accountable to the Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., with respect to all administrative matters, including work and leave time, benefits, and travel. Fellows will be supervised by the CRCP Director as well as other CRCP and FDPRCP staff associated with the cases on which the Fellow works. During the Fellowship term, work responsibilities will be coordinated through one CRCP supervisor. The CRCP supervisor will be responsible for coordinating, structuring, and providing mentoring, training, supervision, and assistance – in addition to the defense team with which each Fellows is co-counseling a capital case. Fellows will meet regularly with their CRCP supervisor and others for work updates, feedback, assignments, guidance, and evaluation. Supervision meetings will include discussion of the status of current litigation and cases, assignments and guidance, work evaluation, training opportunities, and other issues relevant to the substantive and professional development of the Fellows.

During the Fellowship term, Fellows are expected to join a capital team representing a client in a case that may be pre-authorization or already authorized as a capital prosecution. The specific role of the Fellow on the federal capital team will initially be determined by the experience and skill of the Fellow; the Fellow’s role is anticipated to evolve as the Fellow gains knowledge and skills specific to capital work. For example, initially, an experienced and skilled trial attorney Fellow might serve as second chair in a trial case, while a Fellow with less trial experience might serve as third chair, and a Fellow with more appellate or writing experience may take on greater responsibility for the capital motions practice. Lead and learned counsel on each mentor defense team will have agreed to provide close support and guidance to the Fellow throughout the Fellow’s case involvement, committing to full engagement of the Fellow as a regular team member. Fellow interaction and formal meetings with defense team members will be determined by case demands, but consist of at least weekly structured direct communication.

Fellowship applicants should be attorneys with 3-5 years, minimum, experience as federal or state public defenders, or commensurate criminal defense experience. Attorneys with federal and/or state criminal defense experience in defender offices as well as from private practice are encouraged to apply; capital experience is not required. Candidates should be curious, energetic, and appreciative of the seriousness of capital work; candidates must be effective independent and self-motivated attorneys. The position is based in the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., in San Diego, California, for a period of 18 months to 24 months, and is expected to include extensive travel, as well as work during weekends and holidays. Fellowship terms may be extended if the demands of a particular case require it and Defender host, CRCP and FDPRCP projects, and Fellow agree. The program is designed for up to two Fellows to participate at any given time; Fellowship terms may be staggered.

Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. Selection of fellows will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and religious grooming), sex (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity (including transgender identity and transitioning), gender expression and sex stereotyping, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, legally protected medical condition or information (including genetic information), family care or medical leave status, military caregiver status, military status, veteran status, marital status, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, enrollment in a public assistance program, engaging in protected communications regarding employee wages, requesting a reasonable accommodation on the basis of disability or bona fide religious belief or practice, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal laws.

Fellows will be Assistant Federal Public Defenders employed by the Federal Defenders of San Diego office. Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., offers a competitive compensation package with comprehensive benefits including health and life insurance as well as a 401K plan. Compensation is commensurate with experience. Salary is payable only by electronic funds transfer (direct deposit). All positions are at-will and are subject to the availability of funds. Employment is subject to a satisfactory background investigation. All education, experience, training, and certifications will be verified.
HOW TO APPLY- Qualified persons may apply by sending a letter of interest, resume and three references in pdf format to: Fellowship@fdsdi.com. Closing date to submit application materials is February 28, 2018.

Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer.