Job Type

Full Time


Details: Commensurate with Experience and within federal guidelines.



Application Deadline



United States


The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania is accepting applications for an experienced trial attorney to serve as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in its Erie branch office. The position primarily involves legal representation of indigent persons charged with criminal offenses in the United States District Court, though the position may also require providing representation to individuals in federal habeas corpus proceedings. Travel to the Pittsburgh headquarters or the Johnstown branch office may be required.    

Responsibilities include managing a caseload with cases at varying stages of litigation; preparing pleadings, briefs and motions; appearing on behalf of the client in court hearings and at other related proceedings; developing litigation strategies; meeting with clients, experts, witnesses and family members, and other duties as assigned.


This position is full-time with salary commensurate with years of experience and within federal guidelines. Position is subject to mandatory direct deposit of net pay. The successful candidate will be subject to a general background check and IRS tax check procedure as a condition of employment. Employment benefits include:

• 10 paid federal holidays         • Optional supplemental dental/vision benefits   

• 13 days paid vacation for first 3 years      • Optional long-term care insurance program

• 20 days paid vacation after 3 years      • Optional Thrift Savings Plan (Traditional and/or Roth)

• 26 days paid vacation after 15 years      • Optional pre-tax Health, Dependent & Commuter

• Participation in Retirement program         Reimbursement programs

• Optional health insurance         • Optional Credit Union membership

• Optional life insurance      

Level of Language Proficiency

The successful applicant must be a graduate from an accredited law school and a member in good standing of a state bar, and have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellence in criminal defense practice, a commitment to the representation of indigent accused persons, and a reputation for personal and professional integrity. Applicants must also possess the ability to communicate effectively with clients, witnesses, colleagues, staff, court and agency personnel as part of their employment. Trial experience, as well as excellent research, writing and oral advocacy skills, are required.  The applicant should be prepared to immediately undertake the representation of clients in serious criminal cases, and have a working knowledge of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The ability to manage a heavy caseload, travel and work flexible hours are essential for the position, as are effective organizational skills and the ability to work in a team environment. Federal Public Defender attorneys may not engage in the private practice of law. 

The ability to speak Spanish would be helpful, but is not required.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Qualified applicants should apply by submitting a letter of interest, a current and detailed resume, and a writing sample in one Adobe Acrobat document to using the subject line “2019-01."

This Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

One or more positions may be filled from this announcement.

Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

No telephone calls, please.