Assistant Federal Public Defender, Northern District of Texas

Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trial Division

Posting Date: February 5, 2019
Closing Date: Until filled

The Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas is accepting applications for a full-time Assistant Federal Public Defender in the trial unit in the Amarillo Division of the Northern District of Texas. The Office of the Federal Public Defender operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. section 3006A, to provide representation in federal criminal matters in the federal courts. Our attorneys are zealous advocates of the highest caliber, devoted to the defense of the indigent and enforcing the Bill of Rights.

Job Description: An Assistant Federal Defender provides legal representation to clients charged with federal criminal offenses before federal magistrate and district courts in the Northern District of Texas, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Supreme Court of the United States. We practice at the highest level and attorneys with the office have argued four times before the Supreme Court of the United States and are currently scheduled to argue again in April 2019.

The typical caseload involves people charged with federal crimes ranging from possession of guns and drugs, immigration offenses, fraud, complex white collar fraud cases, and terrorism. Responsibilities include managing an extensive caseload; preparing pleadings, motions and briefs; reviewing discovery documents, interviewing witnesses, developing litigation strategies, meeting with clients; working with experts; assisting CJA panel attorneys; and appearing on behalf of clients in court.

While Assistant Federal Public Defenders are solely responsible for most cases, our office culture is one of collaborative teamwork. If you are not able to work well with other lawyers, paralegals, investigators, legal assistants, and interns in the office in defending the indigent, then do not apply.

Travel is required. The Northern District of Texas covers a 96,000 square mile area and encompasses seven separate divisions. The Northern District runs from the tip of the Panhandle down through the plains of Lubbock to the big country of Abilene and San Angelo. The district boundary then turns east to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and up to Wichita Falls. You will be constantly collaborating with lawyers and support staff in other divisions and occasionally find yourself defending cases in all divisions of the Northern District of Texas.

Defender attorneys may not engage in the private practice of law. But you will find yourself so busy and enjoying the work so much that you will have no desire to engage in the private practice of law.

Requirements and Qualifications: The Assistant Federal Public Defender must be 1) a graduate of an accredited law school; 2) admitted to practice in good standing before a state bar by November 2019; and 3) licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas no later than the initial hire date.

Federal criminal legal experience is preferred, but not required. Applicants must have strong writing and advocacy skills; an established capacity or demonstrated aptitude for excellence in criminal defense; a sterling reputation for personal and professional integrity; a commitment to the representation of indigent people; and an ability to work well in a team environment. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is eligible to work in the U.S., and is either currently seeking U.S. Citizenship or intends to become a U.S. Citizen when eligible. Fluency in Spanish is very desirable.

Salary and Benefits: The position is full-time with federal benefits and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications and comparable to that of Assistant U.S. Attorneys with similar qualifications and experience. The position is excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service. Benefits include health and life insurance, retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by direct deposit. A final offer of employment is subject to a background check.

Application Process: To apply, email to in a single Adobe PDF file the following:

  • A brief cover letter explaining your interest in the position and your qualifications;
  • A resume;
  • References;
  • Law school transcripts, and;
  • Representative writing

Applications submitted by fax or mail will not be considered. Moreover, do not send your application directly to the Federal Public Defender via e-mail because he will promptly delete the e-mail. More than one position may be filled with this announcement.

The Federal Public Defender is an Equal Opportunity Employer