Position Information

Position Information Message
Chief (Defender Services Office)
The AO is seeking an exceptional leader to serve as the Chief of the Defender Services Office (DSO). The Chief of the DSO is the senior AO executive responsible for providing national leadership and support for the interpretation and application of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) and related statutes including administration of the federal appointment counsel program, covering Federal Public Defender Organizations (FDOs), community defender organizations, and private panel attorneys.

The DSO exists to support the right to counsel promised and protected by the Sixth Amendment and the Criminal Justice Act. DSO promotes the independent function of FDOs and CJA Panel Attorneys through leadership, advocacy, management, training, policy guidance, consultation, and accountability which fosters public confidence in the nation's commitment to equal justice. Through the Judicial Conference and the AO, DSO advocates for the program's funding, staffing, and policy matters.

The ideal candidate will have significant high-level experience in strategic management and leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to the Sixth Amendment. Duties of the position include, but are not limited to:

  1. Serving as principal advisor to the AO Director and Deputy Director, other Judiciary officials and judges, the Defender Services Committee and subcommittees and other committees and subcommittees of the Judicial Conference, advisory and working groups on all functions related to implementation of the CJA and other matters related to the criminal defense function.
  2. Leading and overseeing the work of DSO employees; FDO budgets, staffing, and programmatic reviews; supporting an array of training events; managing program data and analysis; and supporting national programs serving the defender community.
  3. Enforcing strong financial management oversight and maintaining a robust program of internal controls within DSO and FDOs through substantive training, audits, internal control evaluations, consistent reporting and reviewing of data generated from the judiciary's IT systems.
  4. Developing and administering the defender services $1.5 billion appropriation by executing the defender services financial plan while providing operational oversight and support to 82 FDOs with over 4,000 employees and supporting the work of over 10,000 CJA private attorneys nationwide.
  5. Coordinating corrective actions in response to recommendations from audits and internal control reviews; and other administrative responsibilities related to management of the Congressional CJA appropriation.
  6. Advocating for DSO's data priorities, to include managing data as a strategic asset to drive decision-making, protecting, and securing information from unauthorized disclosure, and enhancing stakeholder input to promote client interests nationwide.
  7. Coordinating with staff and others to provide training programs for federal defenders and CJA panel attorneys. Overseeing technical assistance and training for Federal Public Defenders and their staffs, community defenders and CJA private panel attorneys providing criminal defense services to clients who cannot afford to retain counsel.
  8. Fostering and maintaining collaborative and productive relationships with AO executives and staff, federal judges, Federal Defenders and Executive Directors and their staffs, and CJA appointed counsel, as well as other judiciary unit executives, officials in the executive and legislative branches, and private sector representatives.
  9. Working with AO leadership on strategic planning, agency operations, problem resolution and development of new and innovative programs to support the AO's mission and the mission of the federal defender program.
  10. Overseeing out-of-district appointments in capital cases, building resources for National Capital Representation Projects, leading support for Capital Habeas units and attending Death Penalty Working Group meetings as well as other capital representation convenings; serving as an expert on matters relating to defender services, the CJA , and the Sixth Amendment; and engaging in Judicial Conference policy analysis and supporting legislative initiatives.
  11. Leading general development and funding of automated case-tracking, voucher payment, and other data collection and reporting systems. Engaging in all aspects of the defender services information technology (IT) program, including strategic planning, policy development, operational planning and cyber security implementation and oversight of DSO technology.
  12. Assisting the Defender Services Committee and other Judiciary members on the implementation of Judicial Conference policies evolving from the 2017 Report of the Ad hoc Committee to Review the CJA; and serving as a liaison to the Federal Judicial Center reporting on judiciary-wide implementation of the Report's interim recommendations and Judicial Conference policies.
  13. Coordinating work with other government agencies including the FJC, USSC, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, US Marshals, and State Department on a variety of special initiatives.
Position: Chief (Defender Services Office)
Organization: Defender Services Office
Location: Washington DC,  DC 
United States
Salary: $198,045 - $220,049 per year
Posting Start Date:
Date Posted: 10/18/2022

Conditions of Employment


  1. All information is subject to verification. Applicants are advised that false answers or omissions of information on application materials or inability to meet the following conditions may be grounds for non-selection, withdrawal of an offer of employment, or dismissal after being employed.
  2. Selection for this position is contingent upon completion of OF-306, Declaration of Federal Employment during the pre-employment process and proof of U.S. citizenship for competitive status positions or conversion to a competitive status position with the AO. If non-citizens are considered for hire into a temporary or any other position with non-competitive status or when it is confirmed by the AO Human Resources Office there are no qualified U.S. citizens for a competitive status position (unless prohibited by a law or statue), non-citizens must provide proof of authorization to work in the U.S. and proof of entitlement to receive compensation. Additional information on the employment of non-citizens can be found at USAJOBS Help Center | Employment of non-citizens/. For a list of documents that may be used to provide proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the United States, please refer to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
  3. All new AO employees will be required to complete an FBI fingerprint-based national criminal database and records check and pass a public trust suitability check.
  4. New employees to the AO will be required to successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights/responsibilities, visit https://www.e-verify.gov/.
  5. All new AO employees are required to identify a financial institution for direct deposit of pay before appointment.
  6. You will be required to serve a trial period if selected for a first-time appointment to the Federal government, transferring from another Federal agency, or serving as a first-time supervisor. Failure to successfully complete the trial period may result in termination of employment.
  7. If appointed to a temporary position, management may have the discretion of converting the position to permanent depending upon funding and staffing allocation.



Bar Membership: Applicants must currently be an active member in good standing of the bar of a state, territory, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a federal court of general jurisdiction. Applicants are responsible for citing minimum qualifications such as J.D. and bar membership information (institution name, state(s) for bar, and dates) on their respective resumes. Failure to supply details will constitute an incomplete application. All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement.

Post J.D. Experience: Applicants must also possess at least 5 or more years of post J.D. experience.

Applicants must have demonstrated experience which shows competence in the qualifications as listed below. This requirement is according to the AO Classification, Compensation, and Recruitment Systems which includes interpretive guidance and reference to the OPM Operating Manual for Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions.

Specialized ExperienceApplicants must have at least one year of specialized experience (preferably at least 3 years) equivalent to the GS-15/JSP-15/CL 31 level which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position. Specialized experience for this position is defined as follows:
  • Substantive work experience in legal settings, providing expert legal advice involving the interpretation of statutes, regulations, decisional law, and opinions and/or drafting legal memoranda, opinions, legislative proposals, or congressional testimony as it relates to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), 18 U.S.C. § 3006A.
Additional Assessment: Applicants who meet the specialized experience requirements also will be assessed on the following Mandatory Technical Qualifications (MTQs) and Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).

Mandatory Technical Qualifications: The MTQs listed below should be evident in your resume. A supplemental narrative must be uploaded and attached to your application addressing each MTQ listed below.
  1. Demonstrated management skills involving both legal and administrative matters in an agency, law firm, or other organizations.
  2. Ability to work with legal and policy professionals to evaluate and develop program objectives, guidance, and services.
  3. Excellent legal writing and persuasive writing skills that demonstrate clear and concise analysis.
  4. Substantial high-level experience formulating and implementing policies dealing with complex legal or policy issues.
  5. Significant experience designing and implementing strategies that maximize employee potential and foster high ethical standards in meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals.
Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): Applicants currently serving in an AOES position or under a career Senior Executive Service (SES) appointment, eligible for reinstatement into SES, or have successfully completed a SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) approved by OPM are not required to submit a narrative response for the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). A narrative response as part of the application package for each of the following ECQs is MANDATORY for all other applicants.
  1. Leading Change: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Leadership Competencies: Creativity & Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision.
  2. Leading People: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. Leadership Competencies: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building.
  3. Results Driven: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. Leadership Competencies: Accountability, Customer Service, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility.
  4. Business Acumen: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management.
  5. Building Coalitions / Communication: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals. Leadership Competencies: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating.


Applicants must possess a law degree (J.D.) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Qualifying education must have been obtained from an accredited college or university recognized by the Department of Education. Additional information on the qualification requirements is outlined in the OPM Qualifications Standards Handbook of General Schedule Positions. It is available for your review on OPM's website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/.


For this job announcement the following documents and/or information are required:

  • Resume - Any written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications.
  • MTQ Narrative - Statement addressing the MTQs
  • Current or former career AOES/SES members - Provide a copy of your AOES/SES appointment SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action), and an SF-50 showing current career AOES/SES status or reinstatement eligibility.
  • Applicants who have successfully completed an OPM approved SES Candidate Development Program (CDP) - Submit a copy of your CDP certification.
  • ECQ Narrative - A narrative response as part of the application package for each of the following ECQs is mandatory for all applicants who are not current or former career AOES/SES members, and/or completed an OPM approved CDP.
  • Citizenship - Include country of citizenship on resume.
  • Current or former Federal Civilian employees - All applicants outside of the AO must submit a copy of your latest SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action)to verify current or former Federal employment status.
  • Veterans Preference documentation - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (DD Form 214), if applicable Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference (SF-15) and an official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying to the veteran's present receipt of compensation.

Additional information

The AO is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

APPLY here: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/674889100

Status: This listing expires on: 10/2/2023
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Organization Information
Defender Services Office

Washington DC,  DC 20544
United States