Research & Writing Specialist, Middle District of Pennsylvania

Research & Writing Specialist

Posting Date: June 7, 2019
Closing Date: June 28, 2019

The Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is seeking a Research and Writing Specialist for the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU). This is a full time attorney position in the Harrisburg office. The Capital Habeas Unit represents death-sentenced prisoners in federal habeas corpus proceedings.

RESPONSIBILITIES: A Research and Writing Specialist provides advanced legal research, drafting, analysis and litigation assistance to Assistant Federal Public Defenders in the CHU. A Specialist stays apprised of the latest developments in habeas corpus and criminal law and procedure in federal and state courts, especially Pennsylvania. Specialists analyze and research client and case-related records, develop relationships with clients through extensive contact and correspondence, draft federal petitions and appellate briefs, and assist with record collection and fact investigations. All CHU clients are represented by collaborative teams of paralegals, investigators and attorneys, which requires all members to possess strong oral, written and interpersonal skills, independent and cooperative skills, and ability to prioritize and meet critical deadlines. Research and writing specialists may appear in court only in exceptional circumstances.

REQUIREMENTS AND QUALIFICATIONS: Prior criminal/capital/appellate work and a proven commitment to representing indigent defendants or other public interest experience is preferred. A Specialist must be a graduate of a law school, a member in good standing of a state bar, and eligible for admission to the bar of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Familiarity with federal habeas corpus or other post-conviction litigation, experience with individuals with mental health concerns, and fluency in Spanish are preferred. A valid driver’s license is required. Specialists may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays as necessary. Ability to travel extensively, at times, throughout the Commonwealth and out of state is required.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: This is a full-time position with federal salary and benefits based on qualifications and years of experience (JS grades 9-15), consistent with federal guidelines and regulations. This position is subject to mandatory Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit) participation for payment of net pay. Employees of the Federal Defender are members of the judicial branch of government; they are considered “at will” and are not covered by the Civil Service Reform Act. Selected candidate will be subject to a background check as a condition of employment.

HOW TO APPLY: Interested candidates should apply by forwarding a letter of interest, detailed resume, and writing sample (10-20 pages), no later than June 28, 2019, to:

Capital Habeas Unit
Federal Public Defender Office
Attn: Research and Writing Specialist
100 Chestnut Street, Suite 300
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Interviews will be conducted in July. The preferred start date is August 19, 2019.

The Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and other minorities are encouraged to apply.