Research & Writing Specialist, CHU – Eastern District of Pennsylvania


Posting Date: October 22, 2018
Closing Date: Until filled

The Federal Community Defender Office (FCDO) for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has an opening in the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU) for at least one Research and Writing Specialist. The CHU represents death-sentenced prisoners in all stages of federal habeas corpus proceedings. The CHU Research and Writing Specialist is an integral part of the legal team providing those legal services. The FCDO is located in Philadelphia’s vibrant Center City district, in newly renovated office space in the historic Curtis Center in Philadelphia, close to the federal courthouse and across from Independence Mall, the Liberty Bell and Washington Square Park.

In addition to assisting with legal research and drafting petitions, briefs and other case filings, the duties of the CHU Research and Writing Specialist include: maintaining client contact; assisting with the planning and implementation of investigation relating to both the guilt and penalty phases capital cases; staying abreast of the latest developments in habeas corpus and criminal procedure and providing updates to legal staff; and analyzing, researching and gathering records. The FCDO also provides training and appropriate opportunities for interested CHU Research and Writing Specialists to develop their courtroom skills.

Candidates must be attorneys who possess excellent skills in legal analysis, research and writing. Candidates 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. 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. Candidates must we willing and able to engage in extensive travel throughout the country. The position requires that the incumbent occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.

Applicants must be members in good standing of the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania or be willing to sit for the Pennsylvania bar examination, and they must, subsequent to hiring, gain admission to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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

Salary will be based upon experience consistent with federal guidelines and regulations.

The Federal Community Defender Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.