Current Openings

Careers

A career with the Federal Public Defender is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in your legal career. Learn more about the benefits of working at our office.

The Federal Public Defender Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  All applicants, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or age, are encouraged to apply.

 
Current Openings
For a detailed description of the position you want to view, please click on the name from the list below
  • THE POSITION:
    The Federal Public Defender Office for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode
    Island is hiring a full-time Administrative Assistant to the Federal Public Defender in the Boston,
    Massachusetts office. This announcement is open until filled with priority consideration given to
    applications received by July 17, 2022
    .
  •  

WHAT WE DO:
The Federal Public Defender Office is a law office that provides legal representation to persons
charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. We represent the
accused from arrest through trial and appeal, including the U.S. Supreme Court and federal habeas
corpus review.

 

We work together to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent and to a fair sentence if
convicted. Our defense is vigorous, both at trial and on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences
by showing judges and prosecutors that we represent people, not criminals.

 

WHO WE ARE:
We are attorneys, legal assistants, paralegals, investigators, office administrators, and information
technology specialists committed to cultivating a culture of acceptance and connectedness that
honors the diverse backgrounds of the people we represent.

 

We value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better legal 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, sexual orientation, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s
status, religion, disability, and economic status.

 

WHO YOU ARE:
You are a trusted, reliable, and efficient assistant who is eager to partner with members of the
defense team so the office can provide exceptional legal services. You multitask effectively, have
exceptional organizational skills, and are eager to learn new systems. You are a capable user of
technology and understand its utility. You see the problems, but also the solutions, and you
harness creativity, dedication, and persistence to overcome the challenges. Your communication
with others is based in empathy and compassion, and you thrive in a fast-paced environment.
You have high standards and want people to be treated fairly and respectfully, no matter the
allegation or circumstance.

 

 

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE:
Experience using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Acrobat, Excel and other technology to
review, process, and organize large amounts of information.

 

Must be a high school graduate or equivalent with at least three years of legal secretarial experience.
Experience must be in either criminal or appellate litigation.

 

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 multitask in a fast-paced environment.

 

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.

 

 

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE:
Experience as a legal administrative assistant or a legal secretary assisting criminal defense teams.


Experience editing, proofreading, and preparing documents for filing in the federal district courts
and the federal courts of appeals.

 

Experience formatting legal pleadings and using Microsoft Word to create tables of contents and
tables of 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 appeal
A curiosity to learn new systems and different office technology.

 

Considerable resourcefulness, initiative, creativity, and compassion.

 

Spanish fluency.

 

WHAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER DOES:
Receives, screens, and refers telephone calls.


Communicates with clients (many of whom are incarcerated) 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, creates tables of contents and tables of authorities, and prepares
appendices before filing in the federal court of appeals or the federal district court.


Creates and organizes attorney case files in electronic or hardcopy form. Closes files when cases are
complete.


Arranges Defender’s schedule and court calendar, providing daily updates. Assists in the
planning of meetings and conferences for the Defender.


Manages business travel itineraries for the Defender and/or Supervisors, including plane
reservations, auto rental and hotel lodging in compliance with all applicable rules and
regulations.


Communicates with court personnel, staff at the United States Attorney’s Office, and other
stakeholders in the criminal justice system.


Exercises good judgment and discretion, and performs other tasks as assigned.

 

SALARY AND BENEFITS:

Starting salary for the Administrative Assistant position will be
set commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the applicant, JSP-9/1 to JSP-12/10,
currently yielding $61,268 to $115,510 per annum.

 

HOW TO APPLY:
Applicants must send an e-mail titled “Administrative Assistant” with:


A Cover Letter;

 

A Resume; and

 

Form AO-78 (found at https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/ao078.pdf)

 

Send all items listed above to HRBoston@fd.org.

 

*No Calls Please.

 

Applicants who apply without submitting all three documents will not be
considered. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Priority consideration will
be given to applications received by July 17, 2022. We are an equal opportunity employer.

 

 

 

 

The Position

The Federal Public Defender Office for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is hiring a program-wide Administrative Officer to be based in its Boston, Massachusetts office. The Administrative Officer is a high-level manager who reports to, and collaborates with, the Federal Defender and other members of management to oversee the operations of the Federal Defender Office, which is a federal agency within the U.S. Court system, with approximately 50 employees in three states. Starting salary varies based on experience, with a range under the Judicial Salary Plan from Grade 11 at $74,129 to Grade 15 at $176,300, commensurate with experience. The position includes a generous federal benefits package.

 

What We Do

The Federal Public Defender Office is a law office that provides legal representation to persons charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. We represent the accused from arrest through trial and appeal, including the U.S. Supreme Court and federal habeas corpus review. We are attorneys, paralegals, investigators, office administrators, 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. Our defense is vigorous, both at trial and on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by showing judges and prosecutors that we represent people, not criminals.

 

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 value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better legal 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, sexual orientation, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, religion, disability, and economic status.

 

Who You Are

You are a trusted and reliable manager who values professionalism and who consistently uses sound judgment to carry out responsibilities. You partner with other members of management, keep confidences, and are comfortable acting both independently and as a member of our team so the office can give exceptional legal services to the people we represent. You not only see the problems, but also the solutions, and you harness creativity, dedication, and persistence to overcome the challenges. You interact with and supervise others with empathy and understanding while maintaining high standards.

 


Experience Required

  •  
  • A minimum five years of experience in office administration, office management, or a related field.
  •  
  • Experience in financial planning and management, including budget compliance and accounts payable.
  •  
  • Computer literacy, including fluency in the Microsoft Office suite of programs, including Excel and Adobe Acrobat.
  •  
  • Strong planning and organizational skills.
  •  
  • Ability to speak and write clearly and effectively.
  •  
  • Ability to keep confidences and protect legal privileges.
  •  
  • Desire to work with, and on behalf of, people from diverse backgrounds.
  •  


Experience We Hope For

  •  
  • Experience supervising staff and in the assignment and the review of work.
  •  
  • Experience in transactional and transformational human resource management.
  •  
  • Experience with telecommunications, office automation, and office space management.
  •  
  • Ability to coordinate and supervise a staff working remotely or from another office.
  •  
  • Familiarity with the purchase and procurement of government goods and services.
  •  
  • Familiarity with federal government business and the federal court system, including recordkeeping and generating reports as required.
  •  
  • A commitment to diversity in our workforce and to our mission to give exceptional services to people accused or convicted of federal crimes.
  •  
  • Considerable resourcefulness, efficiency, discretion, initiative, creativity, and compassion.
  •  


What the Administrative Officer Does

  •  
  • General administration, assists with management and supervision.
  •  
    • Acts as a principal advisor to the Federal Defender on all aspects of office administration and management.
    •  
    • Directly assists with key day-to-day planning, process improvement, policy development, and long-term and short-term strategic planning.
    •  
    • Partners with managers to recognize and address issues, and to improve the organization’s overall management, efficiency, and effectiveness.
    •  
    • Develops and maintains internal controls to assure segregation of financial, procurement, property management, and human resources functions.
    •  
    • Assists the Federal Defender in supervising and directing administrative, financial, and human resources.
    •  
    • Partners with the leadership team to create and implement IT functions.
    •  

  • Budget and financial management
    •  
    • Assists the Federal Defender and other members of management, to manage the financial operations of the Federal Defender Office.
    •  
    • Plans, directs, and coordinates budget formulation, analysis, and execution.
    •  
    • Analyzes long-range budgetary and organizational emphasis, including staffing needs and resource allocation.
    •  
    • Prepares financial plans and staffing patterns and develops caseload projections in conjunction with budget plans.
    •  
    • Manages and oversees day-to-day accounting functions, including the disbursement of appropriate funds for the Federal Defender Office.
    •  
    • Prepares and reviews vouchers for payment, ensuring accuracy and appropriateness.
    •  

  • Human resources and personnel management
    •  
    • Develops and monitors monthly variance reports, status of funds reports, and monthly reconciliation reports for review and approval by the Federal Defender.
    •  
    • Provides the Federal Defender with advisory assistance in the recruitment and selection of staff, position classification and compensation, employee performance and evaluation, grievance and EEOC procedures, education about and use of employee benefits, and the implementation of personnel policies and procedures for the Federal Defender Office.
    •  
    • Develops and administers procedures for recruitment and selection of applicants with an eye to diversifying the Federal Defender Office workforce.
    •  
    • Screens applications, tests and interviews candidates when appropriate.
    •  
    • Recommends personnel policies to the Federal Defender and other members of management on matters like performance management, standards of conduct, disciplinary proceedings, employee development and promotion.
    •  
    • Demonstrates experience with and an ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging through personnel skill development and a willingness to share tools within the office to create a cohesive environment for all.
    •  
    • Administers EEOC programs, complies with reporting requirements and acts as employee benefits coordinator.
    •  
    • Initiates and maintains a comprehensive orientation program for all new employees and ensures documentation and justification for decisions made.
    •  
    • Assists in managing off-boarding process and when appropriate, facilitates exit interviews of departing employees.
    •  
    • In partnership with the Federal Defender and management, conducts performance appraisals for administrative support staff, and coordinates performance appraisals for all other staff.
    •  
    • Maintains personnel files and records.
    •  

  • Procurement of government goods and services
    •  
    • Determines need and ensures procurement of supplies, equipment, furnishings, and professional contract services from government and non-government sources while following established policies and procedures for procurement.
    •  
    • Trains and assists in supervising employees responsible for various procurement duties.
  •  

  • Property management
    •  
    • Organizes and manages storage systems for records and monitors property inventory.
    •  
    • Coordinates office repairs or renovations and arranges office space and relocation when needed.
    •  


How to Apply

Applicants must send an e-mail titled “Administrative Officer” with both a resume and a cover letter attached to HRBoston@fd.org. Applicants who apply without submitting both documents will not be considered. Applications will be accepted through June 3, 2022. We are an equal opportunity employer.

THE POSITION:

The Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire is accepting letters of interest for a full-time First Assistant Federal Public Defender. The successful applicant will be selected through a nation-wide search. All eligible attorneys interested in the position are encouraged to apply.

 

The First Assistant Federal Public Defender is a high-level manager who reports to, and collaborates with, the Federal Defender. They collaborate with other members of management to carry out the mission of the office. The Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire Federal Defender Offices, are federal agencies within the U.S. Court system, with approximately 50 employees in three states.

 

The salary of the First Assistant is commensurate with that of a supervisory assistant U.S. Attorney with similar qualifications and experience, and cannot exceed that of the Federal Public Defender. The First Assistant can expect a Salary between $174, 310 to $176, 200 based on experience and demonstrated skills. This position is classified as a highly sensitive position and retention of the position will require the successful completion of a background investigation. The position includes a generous federal benefits package.

 

The First Assistant position is the principal assistant to the Federal Public Defender, and is a supervisory position. In addition to providing zealous, professional legal representation to people charged with Federal criminal offense, this position also assumes exemplary writing skills and advanced Trial Skills. 

 

Additionally, the First Assistant is responsible for the operations of the defender organization as a whole in the absence of the Federal Public Defender. The First Assistant acts as a liaison between:

 

  • the defender organization and the court;
  • court personnel;
  • other related agencies;
  • members of the CJA Panel and the private bar;
  • Defender Services;
  • other defender organizations;
  • clients and their families; and
  • members of the general public on administrative, institutional, and case related matters.
  •  

This position shares the responsibility for the supervision and management of the daily operations of the organization, supervises attorneys and support staff, and communicates in a supervisory capacity with the court, opposing counsel, clients, and the families of clients concerning case related issues.

 

As designated by the Defender, this position may initiate personnel actions involving all staff members when required. Actions may include hiring, performance appraisals, mediation and negotiation, disciplinary actions, and employee job termination. The First Assistant may actively participate in financial and procurement management, and may oversee operations of the defender organization to ensure costs are kept within allocated budget levels. The First Assistant may provide training to staff and CJA Panel members for a range of topics to include current case law development, advocacy in the courtroom, and developing advanced skills in written, oral, and interpersonal communications. The First Assistant also analyzes organizational structure and recommends policy implementation to the Defender, as well as serving as a liaison to the Defender for office related issues, including conducting case reviews. This position carries a caseload and performs all other duties as assigned.

 

The successful applicant will have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for law office management including excellence with interpersonal communications, a commitment to the representation of indigent accused persons, and a reputation for integrity. They will be organized, fair, and demonstrate an aptitude in technology. They will promote ongoing development toward the effective and efficient practice of law, management, and operations.

 

WHO WE ARE:

We are committed to cultivating a culture of acceptance and connectedness that honors the diverse backgrounds of the people we represent. You are expected to be a regular presence in our Offices and you are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is not a telework position.

 

We value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better legal 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, sexual orientation, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, religion, disability, and economic status.

 

WHO YOU ARE:

In addition to exceptional trial and writing skills, you have a minimum of 5 years experience as a lawyer. You are a trusted and reliable manager who values professionalism and who consistently uses sound judgment to carry out responsibilities. You partner with other members of management, keep confidences, and are comfortable acting both independently and as a member of our team so the office can give exceptional legal services to the people we represent. You not only see the problems, but also the solutions, and you harness creativity, dedication, and persistence to overcome challenges. You must demonstrate considerable resourcefulness, efficiency, discretion, initiative, creativity, curiosity, assertiveness and compassion. You interact with and supervise others with empathy and understanding while maintaining high standards.

 

You value diversity in our workforce and to our mission to give exceptional services to people accused or convicted of federal crimes. You must demonstrate experience with and an ongoing commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging through personnel skill development and a willingness to share tools within the office to create a cohesive environment for all.

 

HOW TO APPLY:

Applicants must send an e-mail titled “First Assistant” with:

 

  1. A Cover Letter;
  2. A Resume; and
  3. Form AO-78 (found at https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/ao078.pdf)
  4. Send all items listed above to HRBoston@fd.org.
  5.  

*No Calls Please. Applicants who apply without submitting all three documents will not be considered. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by June 17, 2022. 

 

We are an equal opportunity employer.

Recognizing the critical importance of diversity to a legal services program whose clients are primarily people of color, the Defender Services Program has long sought to increase the participation of attorneys from groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.

 

Supported by the federal judiciary’s emphasis on workforce diversity to engender public trust and improve performance, the goal of this Fellowship Program is to enhance the quality of representation provided for persons unable to afford counsel in federal criminal proceedings by increasing the number of diverse attorneys capable of providing such representation. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, and socioeconomic status. Diversity among CJA counsel supports the cultural competency necessary to meet the needs of a diverse clientele and can lead to better case outcomes by fostering greater trust on the part of CJA clients.

 

The Fellowship Program will achieve this goal by creating a pipeline of diverse attorneys qualified to join FDOs and CJA panels.

 

To learn more and apply, please visit diversityfellowship.fd.org.

Each year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts selects approximately 5-6 Lindsay Fellows who have shown leadership potential and academic ability to intern at the Court.

 

Check out more information here https://www.mad.uscourts.gov/outreach/lindsay.htm

Law Student Internship Summer 2023 (Boston, Concord, Providence)

Intern hiring has been completed for summer 2022. This posting is for summer 2023.

 

The Position

The Federal Public Defender Office for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is proud to sponsor a summer criminal defense internship for rising 2L and 3L law students interested in public service. Our office offers a unique and up-close opportunity to learn about the federal criminal process and public defense in a friendly, inclusive, and collegial environment. One or more internship positions are available in each of our three offices (Boston MA, Concord NH, and Providence RI). Our goal is to provide first-hand experience in federal public defense and guide students who wish to build public interest careers.

 

What We Do

The Federal Public Defender Office is a publicly-funded 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 are an equal opportunity employer. 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 at trial and, if the defendant is convicted, on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by developing mitigation evidence and presenting judges with fully developed views of our clients as 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 in terms of 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 your talent, intelligence, dedication, persistence, and desire to see all people treated fairly and respectfully, no matter the allegation or circumstance.

 

The Summer Internship Program

The summer internship program will inform students’ understanding of the federal criminal justice system and build skills to best represent our clients. Interns at the Federal Public Defender Office may engage in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Attending court and shadowing attorneys.
  •  
  • Researching and drafting legal memoranda and motions.
  •  
  • Helping to develop trial and sentencing strategy.
  •  
  • Assisting in our appellate, habeas, and certiorari practice.
  •  
  • Assisting in investigations, including collecting factual and mitigating information.
  •  
  • Reviewing discovery.
  •  

Each intern will be assigned to a lawyer mentor. Substantive editing feedback will be provided to help each student develop at least one piece of written work into a writing sample. Preferably, students will be able to devote 40 hours per week for at least nine weeks, beginning June 1, 2023. While each student will be based in one of our three offices, opportunities may be available for students to attend hearings and trials in other districts. Students are required to abide by the FPDO’s confidentiality policy, and to act at all times in the best interest of the FPDO’s clients.

This is an unpaid internship; however, we will work with your schools to meet criteria for credit or financial support, if available. Feedback will be provided along with a formal evaluation, if requested.

 

How to Apply

Interested students should submit the following documents in a single PDF to MA_Internships@fd.org (for internships in Boston), Dorothy_Graham@fd.org (for internships in Concord), and/or Rebecca_Aitchison@fd.org (for internships in Providence):

 

  1. A one-page cover letter that (a) explains your interest in the Federal Public Defender Office; (b) lists any criminal law classes or clinics you have taken; and (c) addresses any personal experiences you have had in the criminal justice system.
  2.  
  3. A one-page resume.
  4.  
  5. A writing sample (no more than five pages, please).
  6.  
  7. Two references or letters of recommendation.
  8.  
  9. Specify which of our office(s) you have applied to (Boston, Concord, and/or Providence).
  10.  

Please combine all of these materials into a single PDF titled “lastname.firstname.summer2023”. Questions can be directed to MA_Internships@fd.org. The positions will be open until filled. Candidates will be interviewed and hired on a rolling basis.

As we typically hire multiple interns to work in Boston, that office reviews applications in two phases. The first phase of review begins in September. This portion of our hiring is usually done by October. We reserve at least one slot for a second phase of review that begins in December. Our hiring is usually complete by mid-January.

More information coming soon.

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

Contact Us
Massachusetts

51 Sleeper Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: (617) 223-8061
Fax: (617)639-9023

Western Massachusetts

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 430
Easthampton, MA 01027
Phone: (857) 331-2118

Fax: (617) 639-9023

New Hampshire

22 Bridge Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 226-7360
Fax: (603) 371-9415

Rhode Island

10 Weybosset Street, 3rd Floor
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 528-4281
Fax: (401) 867-2814