Attorney Advisor

  • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
  • Jul 09, 2021
Full time Government Legal

Job Description

The Defender Services Office (DSO) within the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, administers the Federal appointed counsel program consisting of Federal public defender and community defender organizations and private panel attorneys. Our mission is to ensure that the right to counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, the Criminal Justice Act (18 U.S.C. § 3006A), and other congressional mandates is enforced on behalf of those who cannot afford to retain counsel and other necessary defense services. The Defender Services program operates pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA),18U.S.C.§3006A. By fulfilling its mission, the Defender Services program helps to maintain public confidence in the nation’s commitment to equal justice under law and to ensure the successful operation of the constitutionally-based adversary system of justice by which both federal criminal laws and federally guaranteed rights are enforced.

  • Duties


    This position is located in Legal & Policy Division in the Defender Services Office.

  • This position resides in the Legal and Policy Division (LPD) of the Defender Services Office (DSO). DSO administers the hybrid system of federally appointed counsel consisting of federal defender organizations and private Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel attorneys. DSO also serves as staff and counsel to the Judicial Conference's Defender Services Committee (DSC). The LPD supports the DSC and the federal defense community by providing legal and policy guidance.Responsibilities

    The incumbent will be committed to upholding the Defender Services program mission, which is to ensure that the right to counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), and other statutory mandates are enforced on behalf of the clients who cannot afford to retain counsel and other necessary defense services.
    Job duties may include but are not limited to the following:

    1. Supporting the work of the Defender Services Committee by writing policy briefings.
    2. Preparing written materials on a variety of legal, policy, and resource issues as part of the bi-annual meeting cycle.
    3. Staffing regularly scheduled and ad hoc subcommittees of the Defender Services Committee.
    4. Responding to requests for information and research from the Chair and members of the Committee.
    5. Researching various legal and policy issues affecting the delivery of services under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) and related statues.
    6. Developing and communicating program policies and guidance through facilitation of stakeholder advisory and working groups.
    7. Interpreting policies and guidance related to the Defender Services Committee; consulting with AO court personnel, federal defenders, and panel attorneys to implement related policies and guidance.
    8. Responding to telephone and written inquiries from judges and other court personnel, Congress (in coordination with other AO offices), federal defenders, Defender Services Committee panel attorneys, and the public concerning the appointment and payment of counsel and experts in federal capital and non-capital cases and the operation of federal defender organizations.
    9. Developing programmatic initiatives to support federal defenders and Defender Services Committee panel attorneys appointed to represent defendants in complex non-capital cases, federal capital habeas corpus proceedings, and federal capital prosecutions.
    10. Supporting DSO's leadership and members of the DSO, with data-informed communications to advance public defense advocacy through the development of talking points, presentations at small meetings and large conferences, and other forms of written and oral communications materials.
    11. Improving the integration and use of data in policy decisions and communications efforts within DSO, and the LPD.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.


    $87,198 to $163,429 per year

    Telework eligible

    Yes as determined by agency policy

  • Requirements


    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 Administrative Office of the US Courts. In instances where non-citizens are considered for hire into temporary or any other position with non competitive status or when it is confirmed by the AO's Human Resources Office that 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 United States and proof of entitlement to receive compensation. Additional information on the employment of non-citizens can be found at 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 a FBI fingerprint-based national criminal database and records check and pass a public trust suitability check.
    4. All new AO employees must identify a financial institution for direct deposit of pay before appointment.
    5. 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.
    6. If appointed to a temporary position, management may have the discretion of converting the position to permanent depending upon funding and staffing allocation.
    7. Relocation expenses may be provided, but only if authorized by the Director of the AO.


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

    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 2 years of post J.D. experience.

    Specialized Experience: Subsequent to graduation from law school, applicants must have at least one year of specialized experience which is in or directly related to the line of work of this position. Specialized experience is demonstrated experience in criminal defense representation (capital or non-capital), policy research and writing related to criminal defense representation, researching, interpreting and analyzing complex legal and policy issues, and writing legal memoranda, opinions and guidelines.

    A cover letter is highly recommended but not required.


    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