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The Federal Public Defender represents defendants in trial and appellate level criminal cases before the United States Magistrate Court, the United States District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Our clients are charged with crimes which fall under federal jurisdiction -- cases from armed bank robbery to tax fraud, from immigration violations to petty offenses on federal land (such as national parks and military bases).

Open Positions

Currently, we have 2 open positions:

An Assistant Federal Public Defender vacancy for a termed position in the San Francisco Office. The term for this position will be for three years from the date of hire, or September 30, 2022 (whichever date is earliest).

Federal Public Defenders across the nation are currently hiring for multiple positions. Listings can be found here.

Full Time Employment

The Federal Public Defender advertises for full-time employment in the Northern California legal media and on the Office of Defender Services' website. The Defender's Office usually does not hire attorneys directly out of law school.

The Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of California is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Student Employment

We offer a diverse and rewarding experience to law students who wish to volunteer in our office.  Law students assist our trial and appellate attorneys in all aspects of our work, including performing legal research, drafting pleadings, analyzing discovery, assisting with trial preparation, and helping to develop sentencing mitigation.  Law students also provide direct assistance to clients who have received tickets for alleged violations while on federal property.  Please note, however, that students may not appear in court.  Thus, our office does not require California Bar certification.  

Applicants to our program must have strong written and oral communication skills and a demonstrated interest in indigent defense.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but we recommend that students submit their materials early.  

Many law school programs will award academic credit to participants in a law clerk program.  The requirements and procedures vary depending upon the specific school’s guidelines.  The law student must coordinate between their school and our office to assure that all requirements are met.

Summer Program:  Students are required to have successfully completed courses in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Law by the position’s start date.  We generally accept 2L students for these positions.  We strongly recommend that 2L students apply by January 31.  Outstanding 1L students may apply according to ABA rules and deadlines.  Students must agree to volunteer 40 hours a week.

Fall/Spring Program: Students are required to have successfully completed courses in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure by the position’s start date.  The program is reserved for 2Ls and 3Ls exclusively.  Students must agree to volunteer between 20 hours to 40 hours a week.

All applications must include a cover letter, resume, brief writing sample, transcript, and a list of two or three references. Please forward these materials to the law clerk supervisor at the appropriate office, listed below:

Office of the Federal Public Defender
Attn: Law Clerk Supervisor
450 Golden Gate Avenue
Box 36106
Room 19-6884
San Francisco, CA 94102

Office of the Federal Public Defender
Attn: Law Clerk Supervisor
1301 Clay Street
Suite 1350N
Oakland, CA 94612

Office of the Federal Public Defender
Attn: Law Clerk Supervisor
55 South Market Street, Suite 820
San Jose, CA 95113

Requests for Quotations

We are currently not accepting any proposals.

Rates and Policy

Updated FPD CAN Interpreter Rates effective October1, 2017       PDF