Career Opportunity – Eastern District of Pennsylvania


(one position)
Posting Code 200100-18

The Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has a vacancy for a Legal Assistant in its Appeals Unit.  The office represents indigent persons charged with criminal offenses in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The Appeals Unit Legal Assistant provides a full range of legal support services.  The Legal Assistant assists the appellate attorneys in gathering and organizing the record for appeal (including securing case files and transcripts from trial lawyers and court reporters); drafting procedural motions for filing in the court of appeals; facilitating written and oral communication with clients by preparing letters and arranging prison calls; maintaining case files; calculating filing deadlines and maintaining a unit calendar; formatting, proof-reading, and filing briefs and appendices in the court of appeals and petitions and briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Legal Assistant also provides administrative support to the appellate attorneys, including preparing paperwork necessary for travel requests, expense reimbursements, etc.

In addition to duties in the Appeals Unit, the Legal Assistant is also responsible for providing legal support services to attorneys working on non-capital habeas matters.  Those services include, in addition to the above, filing motions and briefs in the district court; photocopying, scanning and distributing copies; organizing files and exhibits for court hearings; communicating with clients and/or clients’ family members as needed.

Applicants must possess a minimum of four years of specialized legal support experience, preferably in criminal, appellate and/or federal practice.  Candidates with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in criminal justice or a related field are preferred.  High proficiency with Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint, Westlaw, Lexis, and PACER/ECF (federal electronic case filing) is required, as is experienced with complex formatting in Word (such as generating tables of contents and tables of authorities for briefs).  Attention to detail, solid communication (both written and oral), and organization skills are a must.  Applicants must be able to work well both independently and in a team, exercise mature judgment, meet deadlines, work on multiple projects simultaneously, and work well with attorneys, clients, and other support staff.  The Legal Assistant must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to Sonya Hutson, Human Resources Administrator, via e-mail at, or by regular mail to Suite 540 West, The Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106.  Candidates will be interviewed on an ongoing basis, and the position will remain open until filled.

Salary will be based on years of experience consistent with federal guidelines and regulations.  Kindly note that the filling of this position is subject to the funding restrictions and approval of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

The Federal Community Defender Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.