Research & Writing Attorney
The Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Texas is accepting applications for a full-time Research & Writing Attorney in the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU). The CHU represents indigent defendants on death row in Texas. Through an interdisciplinary team approach, we provide our clients with the highest level of legal representation with respect to their convictions and death sentences. CHU attorneys regularly litigate in federal district court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
The Federal Public Defender’s Office is committed to improving diversity in the legal profession. Racial bias and disparity in sentencing are apparent in Texas death penalty cases. It is critical to our clients’ representation that the office be comprised of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds. The nature of our work leads us to invest in recruiting colleagues who demonstrate experience with, knowledge of, and sensitivity to the needs of culturally diverse and oppressed populations. We seek candidates with a demonstrated commitment to working with marginalized communities and with clients from a range of backgrounds.
The CHU offers a collegial, open-door atmosphere, attorney mentorship, and an environment structured around work-life balance. Our office offers the opportunity to participate in meaningful work, craft creative and advanced legal arguments, and practice at the highest level of criminal defense.
For this position, capital experience is not required. Third-year law students and recent graduates will be considered. The successful applicant must be a talented legal writer, possess excellent research skills, be team oriented, and committed to indigent criminal defense. Duties include researching and writing motions, habeas petitions, and appellate briefs; working with investigators and mitigation specialists to develop investigation plans; and working on an interdisciplinary team to represent death-sentenced individuals.
Skilled collaboration, strategic litigation, and compassionate representation are among the values we aim to foster in our CHU. Because no single person can do this work alone, you will work with experienced lawyers, mitigation specialists, and paralegals in the CHU. The ability to work well on a team is mandatory.
Fluency in Spanish is very desirable. Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited law school, and be a member in good standing of the highest court in the state where licensed, but a Texas bar license is preferred. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is eligible to work in the U.S., and is either currently seeking U.S. Citizenship or intends to become a U.S. Citizen when eligible.
Salary and Benefits: The position is full-time with federal benefits and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. The position is excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service. Benefits include health and life insurance, retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by direct deposit. A final offer of employment is subject to a background check.
To apply, email to TXN_Employment@fd.org in a single Adobe PDF file using the subject line “NDTX-R&W-CHU” the following:
• A brief cover letter explaining your interest in the position and your qualifications;
• A resume;
• Law school transcripts, and;
• Representative writing sample.