Position Information

Position Information Message
Executive Director
About The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia 
The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is a federally funded, independent organization that provides legal representation to individuals who are charged with criminal offenses and facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia. In addition, PDS represents individuals facing a loss of liberty in mental health and other cases. Governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees, PDS has approximately 225 employees, most of whom are located at the main office at 633 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. There are approximately 100 attorneys at PDS. In addition, PDS has social workers, investigators, and administrative and technical staff who work with the legal staff to advance the PDS mission. 
For more than 60 years, PDS has been a leader in providing exceptional advocacy and quality legal representation to indigent adults and children. Judges and prosecutors alike, as well as public defender agencies and criminal justice bars across the country, acknowledge and respect the outstanding work of PDSs attorneys. PDS is recognized as one of the few defender organizations to meet the standards outlined in the American Bar Associations Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System.
The Executive Division oversees PDSs legal and administrative operations, including PDSs trial, appellate, mental health, parole, civil, special litigation, and community defender representation as well as PDSs budget and finance, human resources, information technology, and administrative functions. The Executive Division also includes PDSs general counsel, strategic planning, internal legal training, forensics, conflicts management, legislative, and Superior Court panel attorney engagement functions. 

About the Position
Positioned within the Executive Division, the Director advances and supports PDSs mission of providing high-quality counsel and legal services to individuals facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia who cant afford to hire an attorney. Reporting to the Board of Trustees and managing a budget of approximately $50 million, the Director serves as chief executive officer.


Duties and areas of responsibility

The Director’s duties involve the oversight of all key areas of the organization.

Strategy, governance & compliance

  • Responsible for PDS’s strategic planning, legal compliance, hiring, and financial planning 
  • Guides PDS’s leadership team and sets goals, direction, and policies for the office 
  • Supports the PDS Board of Trustees as it meets its governance and other statutory obligations, including ensuring that PDS produces its annual report and conducts its annual audit 



Organizational climate

  • Demonstrates principled leadership and sound ethics, and promotes an equitable environment for staff and clients

Partnership & representation

  • Represents PDS within the District’s legal system 
  • Collaborates with national justice-related organizations in support of PDS’s clients 

Staff support & development

  • Develops procedures and policies that promote staff accountability, productivity, and continuous professional development  
  • Responsible for workforce and succession planning, including assessing current and future staffing needs relating to organizational goals

Finance & budget

  • Engages with the Office of Management and Budget and the Congress in support of PDS’s budget requests 
  • Accountable for all aspects of PDS’s financial management, including budget planning, budget formulation, and budget implementation
  • Assesses and determines PDS resource needs and allocations 
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
Location: Washington,  DC 
United States
Salary: $143,314 - $176,300
Posting Start Date: 4/6/2022
Date Posted: 4/6/2022

Candidate qualifications

To be considered for this position, applicants must be attorneys who are members of the District of Columbia Bar. This position is onsite in Washington, D.C. with options for a blended schedule of in-office and telework.
Well-qualified candidates will also demonstrate the following:
  • Experience as a public defender or a criminal defense lawyer 
  • Excellent verbal, written, interpersonal, team-building, and leadership skills 
  • A commitment to individuals with criminal legal system involvement in need of court-appointed counsel 
  • Substantial demonstrated experience managing attorneys and other legal, administrative, and professional staff
  • Experience with budget management 
  • Familiarity with relevant District of Columbia laws and court procedures 

To apply

The Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia has engaged POLIHIRE to assist in the search process to find its next Director. If you are interested in and prepared for this opportunity, please submit a cover letter outlining your qualifications and your resume to PDS_ED@polihire.com. A first in-depth review of applications will be conducted on May 2, 2022.
Please include only your name (Last, First) in the subject line when submitting these materials.
Note: PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and all employees are entitled to federal benefits, including health and life insurance, federal retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Transferring employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement purposes.  PDS employees are not covered under Title V of the United States Code for purposes other than benefits, are members of the Excepted Service, and are employed at will.
PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and an E-Verify Participating Employer
Status: This listing expires on: 7/5/2022
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Organization Information
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Washington,  DC 20004
United States