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Anonymous User
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Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:06 pm

I'm a 3l... I'm clerking for a federal district court judge for one year in a district with a heavy criminal caseload. Will I be a competitive applicant for federal PD offices across the country when I finish? Or will my prospects be largely limited to federal PD jobs in the same district? There isn't much info out here about the clerkship -> federal defenders path, so any info on the topic would be great! Thank you

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kalvano
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby kalvano » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:45 pm

Pretty sure FPD is similar to USAO in that they require several years of experience.

Not sure how much weight they give to clerks.

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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:52 pm

Hmm. I worked in San Diego last summer and I know the federal defenders office there hires directly out of law school as well as people finishing federal clerkships..

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kalvano
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby kalvano » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:54 pm

I could be wrong. I know the FPD job postings I've seen ask for either 1-2 or 3-4 (depending on location) of experience.

But they may weigh previous internship with them plus a clerkship as meeting the necessary requirements.

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leobowski
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby leobowski » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:39 pm

Some postings say either experience or a federal clerkship. Look around at the postings on the site. However, getting a USAO or fed defender gig right out of a clerkship is the exception rather than the norm.

Personally I'm looking at fed defender gigs as well, but it would be silly for me to apply straight out of my clerkship. I will instead go straight to the state PD's office, do not pass go, do not collect a decent salary. Eventually I hope to wind up with a job at a federal defender. Your strategy may be a little different if you have insanely good credentials (i.e. competitive for COA or DOJ honors). But generally the federal defender offices are looking for someone who is very bright and has experience in criminal defense.

Good luck.

84weeks
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby 84weeks » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hmm. I worked in San Diego last summer and I know the federal defenders office there hires directly out of law school as well as people finishing federal clerkships..
.

I've heard that the San Diego office is the only FPD office in the country that takes entry-level attorneys (because of their large immigration case load).

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FlanAl
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby FlanAl » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:59 pm

could also have something to do with their being a private non-profit. I was actually curious if this was usually the case with federal defender's offices or if most of them are actually part of the government.

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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:12 pm

Most Fed PD's in the midwest area are laterals from state PD's offices.

84weeks
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby 84weeks » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:00 pm

FlanAl wrote:could also have something to do with their being a private non-profit. I was actually curious if this was usually the case with federal defender's offices or if most of them are actually part of the government.


The FPD is part of the Federal Judiciary - that's who directs the budget. If there is a conflict of interest, the courts have a trained group lawyers in practice, called panel attorneys, to assign to cases. If there is a jurisdiction that doesn't have a full office (though I don't know of any), maybe they just have a panel.

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FlanAl
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby FlanAl » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:12 pm

Hey so I'm still confused. The San Diego Federal Defender says on their site that they are a private non-profit, so obviously aren't exactly part of the government. Is it just an organized firm of panel attorneys. I have a hard time figuring out if other districts do this sort of organized panel firm or if it is actually like a counter part to the USAO.

84weeks
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby 84weeks » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:25 pm

FlanAl wrote:Hey so I'm still confused. The San Diego Federal Defender says on their site that they are a private non-profit, so obviously aren't exactly part of the government. Is it just an organized firm of panel attorneys. I have a hard time figuring out if other districts do this sort of organized panel firm or if it is actually like a counter part to the USAO.


Learn something new everyday, apparently the FPDSDI are CJA panel attorneys. "We are independent from the local federal judiciary and funded by a sustaining grant awarded by Congress under the Criminal Justice Act." Maybe that's why they hire recent grads, as opposed to Federal Judiciary affiliated offices. There is a posting right now for a trial attorney at FPDSDI which says "Federal Defenders hires persons immediately following graduation from law school as well as attorneys finishing clerkships or other legal positions." I guess that (partly) answers OP's question.

According to the Middle District of Pennsylvania: "The Criminal Justice Act (18 U.S.C. §3006A) establishes the procedure for the appointment of counsel in federal criminal cases for individuals who are unable to afford adequate representation under plans adopted by each district court. The act also permits the establishment of Federal Public Defender or Federal Community Defender organizations by the district courts where at least 200 persons annually require the appointment of counsel. Two adjacent districts may be combined to reach this total."

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FlanAl
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby FlanAl » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:29 pm

hey thanks for the info, the FPDSDI had me kind of confused and other federal defender websites aren't really put together all that well (especially compared to the USAO websites) leading me to believe they might be collections of panel attorneys as well. That isn't knocking panel attorneys, I'd just expect the FPD websites to be the same caliber as the USAO ones if they were a gov entity.

megamanx
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Re: Federal Public Defender jobs

Postby megamanx » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:26 pm

I worked at one of the offices on the East Coast and I think the bare minimum is five years experience. There was no expectation from any of the interns or the attorneys that interning would ever lead anywhere. Surprisingly, many of the attorneys transitioned from biglaw and not just state PD offices.




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