Legal Assistant

The Position: The Federal Public Defender Office for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is hiring a full-time legal assistant for its Boston, Massachusetts office.

What We Do: The Federal Public Defender Office is a government law office that provides legal representation to persons charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. We are appointed to represent the accused upon arrest and through the completion of all appeals, including the U.S. Supreme Court and federal habeas corpus review. Charges we defend against include economic crimes, child pornography crimes, drug offenses, weapons offenses, immigration offenses, and violent crimes.

Who We Are: We are committed to cultivating a culture of acceptance and connectedness that honors the diverse backgrounds of the people we represent.
We employ attorneys, paralegals, defense investigators, information technology specialists, and legal assistants. We work together to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent and to a fair sentence if convicted. We provide a vigorous defense, both at trial and on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by showing judges and prosecutors that our clients are people, not criminals.

Who You Are: We value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better representation occurs when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. In recruiting members of our team, we welcome the full spectrum of humanity. We embrace the unique contributions that you can bring, including your culture, ethnicity, education, opinions, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, religion, disability, economic status, and sexual orientation. We are interested in seeing your talent, intelligence, dedication, and persistence coupled with your desire to see all people treated fairly and respectfully, no matter the allegation or circumstance.

What the Job Requires:

  • A high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • A minimum two years of experience as an administrative assistant or secretary and comprehensive knowledge of office principles, practices, methods, and techniques.
  • Experience using Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Excel and other technology to review, process, and organize information.
  • Experience using a multiline telephone system to receive, screen, and refer calls.
  • Experience working with diverse groups of people, such as economically disadvantaged people, people with emotional or mental health challenges, and those from disenfranchised communities.
  • The ability to write and speak clearly.
  • The ability to keep confidences and to protect relevant legal privileges.
  • The desire to work, as part of a team, for the benefit of those accused of committing federal crimes.

Experience We Hope For:

  • Experience as a legal administrative assistant or a legal secretary assisting a defense team that advocates for people accused of criminal wrongdoing.
  • Experience editing and proofreading documents for filing in the federal district courts and the federal courts of appeals.
  • Experience formatting legal pleadings and creating tables of contents and authorities.
  • Experience assembling documents and appendices.
  • Familiarity with legal research databases like Westlaw and LexisNexis.
  • Familiarity with legal citation guides like the Bluebook.
  • Familiarity with the rules and protocols used by federal district courts and federal courts of appeals.
  • A desire to help those with few resources.
  • A commitment to the accused’s humanity, even when the evidence appears strong.
  • Considerable resourcefulness, initiative, creativity, and compassion.
  • Spanish fluency.

What a Legal Assistant Does:

  • Receives, screens, and refers telephone calls.
  • Communicates with clients—both those who are incarcerated and those who are not—and their families regarding court dates and attorney conferences. Maintains client confidences and protects the attorney-client privilege.
  • Screens incoming mail and routes it to the appropriate destination.
  • Prepares outgoing correspondence based either on general instruction or a prescribed format. Arranges for mail services and ensures outgoing mail is correctly processed.
  • Maintains attorney calendars, sets appointments, and arranges meetings and conferences. Reminds attorneys of calendar commitments, and informs participants of date, time, and location.
  • Proofreads and edits drafts of legal documents and, once finalized, assembles court filings and appendices for electronic submission to the appropriate court.
  • Formats legal documents and appendices using federal district court or federal appeals court rules and protocols.
  • Creates and organizes attorney case files in electronic or hardcopy form. Closes files when cases are complete.
  • Communicates with court personnel, staff at the United States Attorney’s Office, and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
  • Arranges attorney business travel and facilitates reimbursement where appropriate.
  • Exercises good judgment and discretion, and performs other tasks as assigned.

How to Apply: Applicants must send both a resume and a cover letter to HRBoston@fd.org. Applicants who apply without submitting both documents will not be considered. Applications will be accepted through December 7, 2020. We are an equal opportunity employer. More than one legal assistant position may be filled by this job posting.

Visit fd.org for employment opportunities in other Federal Defender offices.