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Research and Writing Specialist - Cedar Rapids or Davenport Office

Research and Writing Specialist - Cedar Rapids or Davenport Office


Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa 





The Federal Public Defender for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa is accepting applications for a Research and Writing Specialist to be stationed in either our Cedar Rapids or Davenport office. The Federal Public Defender operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide representation in federal criminal cases and related matters in the federal courts.

JOB DESCRIPTION: This is an ideal position for an attorney with strong research and writing skills and a

commitment to federal criminal defense work. The Research and Writing Specialist drafts motions, memoranda, petitions, and briefs to be filed in the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The successful candidate will consult with Assistant Federal Public Defenders and other attorneys on legal issues arising in motion practice, evidentiary hearings, trials, and appeals, and on general advice to clients. The Research and Writing Specialist will travel throughout Iowa to attend trials and assist Assistant Federal Public Defenders with research and writing needs that arise during trial. The successful candidate may also be expected to travel for oral argument before the Eighth Circuit, usually in St. Louis or St. Paul. 

REQUIREMENTS AND QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must have 1) a law school degree with admission and good standing before the highest court of any state; 2) a minimum of three years’ general and two years’ specialized experience; 3) knowledge of federal criminal law and procedures; 4) outstanding legal research and writing skills; 5) strong typing and automation skills; and 6) a strong desire to be a team-player and an excellent coworker. 

SELECTION CRITERIA: The successful applicant will have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellence in criminal defense practice, a commitment to the representation of indigent accused persons, and a reputation for personal integrity. Applicant must also possess the ability to communicate effectively with clients, witnesses, staff, colleagues, and other individuals that they will come in contact with as part of their employment. Experience with and a working knowledge of the federal sentencing guidelines is preferred. Experience as a federal judicial clerk is strongly preferred (especially on a federal Court of Appeals).

BACKGROUND CHECK: The selected candidate will be subject to a background check as a condition of employment. Employment will be considered provisional until a satisfactory background check is confirmed.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: This is a full-time position with a salary range of grade JSP-9/1, $57,118, to grade JSP-15/1, $136,908, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health and life insurance, retirement and the Thrift Savings Plan. Some telework is offered. This position is subject to mandatory Electronic Funds Transfer payment of net pay.  The position is subject to funding.

HOW TO APPLY: Electronically submit cover letter, resume and a writing sample in a single PDF by June 12, 2023 to The successful candidate must be able to commence employment by autumn 2023. The email subject line must read: Position Announcement 2301. Only applicants considered for an interview will be contacted. Position open until filled. No telephone calls please.    

                                     The Federal Public Defender is an equal opportunity employer. 

Additional Info

Job Type : Full-Time

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