Assistant Federal Public Defender, Northern District of Texas


Posting Date: February 22, 2019
Closing Date: Until filled

The Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas is accepting applications for full-time Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU) in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas. The CHU represents death-sentenced prisoners in federal habeas corpus proceedings in the United States District Courts in Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

The CHU is committed to providing high-quality representation to our clients as well as maintaining manageable caseloads for staff. Skilled collaboration, strategic litigation, compassionate representation, and unique approaches to the issues affecting our clients are among the values we aim to foster in our CHU. 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.

The successful applicant must be a talented legal writer, possess excellent research skills, be team oriented, and committed to indigent criminal defense. Specifically, the attorney will research and aid in drafting capital habeas petitions, motions relating to capital habeas litigation in the district court, and capital habeas appellate briefing and motions. In addition, the attorney will work directly with the Federal Defender and the Supervisor of the CHU to assist with issues relating to capital habeas litigation in Texas. Among other responsibilities, the attorney will monitor potential federal capital petitioners, apprise the Defender and Supervisor of the CHU on developments in state and federal capital habeas litigation, and will liaison with Criminal Justice Act attorneys representing capital habeas petitioners in the district.

The ideal candidate for this position will have a minimum of five years of capital habeas experience, preferably in federal court. The starting salary for this position is heavily dependent on prior experience, but could reach a maximum of $164,200.

Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited law school, and be a member in good standing of the highest court in the state where licensed, but a Texas bar license is strongly preferred.  Spanish proficiency is a plus, but not required.

This position may require work on holidays, evenings, and weekends, as the nature of the cases require. This position also requires extensive travel. The CHU will represent death-sentenced prisoners in all four federal districts in Texas.

Salary and Benefits: The position is full-time with federal benefits and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. 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 using the subject line “NDTX-AFPD-CHU” the following:

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

No phone calls please. Submissions not following this format will not be considered. Only those selected for interview will be contacted. Proof of U.S. citizenship or other employment eligibility required. Applications received under this announcement may be considered for vacancies occurring within 90 days after position is filled. Refer to for further information about the office. More than one position may be filled with this announcement.

The Federal Public Defender is an Equal Opportunity Employer