Staff Attorney 2 - Death Penalty Representation Project - REQ #819

Posted by
American Bar Association
Washington, DC
Published 25 days ago

COVID-19 vaccination is required as a condition of employment (requests for reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons will be considered).

During this current situation with COVID-19, the ABA will continue to accept and process applications for job opportunities. We will conduct our recruitment process via alternative means (virtual interviews) for the time being.

The ABA recruits employees seeking opportunities for challenging and substantive work defending liberty and pursuing justice in the U.S. and around the world. The ABA offers competitive employment benefits which include medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k), commuter benefits, and more.

The American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney at the Project’s Washington, D.C. office. The ABA is committed to ensuring that those facing the ultimate punishment are provided with competent, adequately compensated counsel at every stage of the proceedings. The Project’s top priorities are: 1) enlisting law firms to represent indigent death-sentenced prisoners in post-conviction proceedings as pro bono counsel; and 2) reform of capital defender systems through systemic litigation and implementation of the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.

Job Summary

The Staff Attorney is the leading role in recruiting volunteer law firms, working with interested associates and partners to encourage them to accept a capital case or handle systemic litigation, and providing support and guidance once they have agreed to do so; conducting extensive legal research about the failures of counsel systems in particular jurisdictions and investigating potential causes of action; gathering evidence, data and case law examples to support potential causes of action; drafting pleadings; working in collaboration with cooperating organizations, capital defenders, consultants and advisory committee members regarding litigation strategy; creating media and public education campaigns; ensuring effective communication with external and internal (ABA) partners; and performing other duties as assigned.

Essential Job Requirements

Conduct research and write speeches, memoranda, articles, frequently for publication.

Provide substantive advice, information and make policy recommendations. Serve as principal ABA expert on a substantive area of law or public policy. Includes contacts with government entities and with the media. 

Give presentations and/or teach on legal and public policy issues. Act as a consultant designing substantive content of events, developing model documents, and conducting trainings. 

Manage substantive/legal project aspects. Oversee research, report writing, and publication. Coordinate or support member sub-groups and coordinate with external constituencies. Manage consultants. 

Analyze laws, regulations, court rules and policies/policy proposals; prepare memoranda of law or on public policy' provide legal counsel. 

Research, draft, write, review and critique legislative/rule/policy or regulatory text. Manage policy adoption process. 

Secure outside funding, write grants, and deal with grantmakers. 

Perform other related duties as assigned. 

Required Education, Qualifications, Experience

Juris Doctorate and active bar admission in at least one U.S. jurisdiction. At least four years of substantive experience in death penalty litigation or related areas. Commitment to issues regarding indigent criminal defense and the death penalty. Excellent legal research and writing skills, Ability to work with a wide range of people and entities. Self-directed, work independently, and be capable of managing numerous projects under sometimes stressful conditions. Previous experience working with civil law firms or pro bono recruitment is highly desirable.

Interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter highlighting their interest and experience, and an unedited writing sample at:

More information about the Project is available at

The American Bar Association is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with the American Bar Association please call 312-988-5188.

Flexible/hybrid work arrangements may be available for residents of CA, IL, IN, DC, MD, VA, and TX. Residency requirements may apply. 

COVID-19 vaccination is required as a condition of employment (requests for reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons will be considered).

During this current situation with COVID-19, the ABA will continue to accept and…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Education
    J.D. Required
  • Professional Level
USD $68,900 - USD $77,690
/ year


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Washington, DC
Associated Location
1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA

How to Apply

Join Idealist

Sign up today to save your favorite jobs and get email alerts when new ones are posted.