Current Openings

January 29, 2024



Assistant Federal Public Defender – Seattle and Tacoma, Washington


Position No.    24-03

Announced:     January 29, 2024

Closes:            Priority given to applications received by February 29, 2024


The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington (FPD) is accepting applications for two full-time Assistant Federal Public Defenders (AFPDs). One position is for our Seattle office and one for our Tacoma office. The FPD operates under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide legal representation to people charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. The Court appoints our AFPDs to represent accused persons before they are charged, upon arrest, for the appeals process, and through federal habeas corpus review.


Responsibilities: The AFPD will advocate for our clients charged with criminal offenses or involved in post-conviction proceedings in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The AFPD will assume an active caseload ranging from complex felonies to misdemeanors. The position requires managing cases at various stages of litigation; preparing pleadings, briefs, and motions; appearing on behalf of clients in court hearings and at other related proceedings; developing litigation strategies; meeting with clients, experts, witnesses, and family members; and performing other duties as assigned. The AFPD will work to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent, to provide a vigorous defense at trial, and to receive a fair sentence if convicted. They will advocate for humane sentences by collaborating with teams of investigators, paralegals, social workers, and other staff to develop mitigation evidence and to present judges with fully developed views of our clients and their lives, not merely their charges. This position requires some travel throughout our district and occasional out-of-district travel. Lawyers in the Seattle office may also be assigned to cases filed in the Tacoma courthouse and vice versa.


Selection Criteria: The candidate selected will have a demonstrated commitment to quality representation and will have recent, substantial criminal defense experience. They must be able to manage a full caseload, travel, and work flexible hours. A reputation for integrity, a demonstrated ability to work as part of a team, and organizational and prioritization skills are important considerations. Spanish fluency is a plus.


Requirements: Applicant must be law-school graduates, licensed attorneys in good standing with a federal or state bar, and eligible for admissions to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Applicants must have at least two years of criminal defense trial and sentencing experience and have significant writing experience. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, or meet other requirements of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. As a condition of employment, candidates must be fingerprinted and successfully complete a background check.


Salary and Benefits: This position has a starting salary range of $123,894 to $190,623. Partial telework is available for this position. Full-time telework is not. Benefits include health and life insurance, as well as 11 paid federal holidays, 13 days of paid sick leave, and 13 days of paid vacation leave annually. (The rate of paid vacation leave increases with years of service.) The position is eligible for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), including the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which matches up to 5% of employee contributions. Salary is paid biweekly and only by direct deposit.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Our office values diversity, is committed to equity and inclusion, and aspires to create a culture of mutual respect, collaboration, openness, and humility that honors the people we represent. We believe representation is better when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. We seek a lawyer who shares this belief and commitment. We embrace the unique contributions our employees can bring to the FPD because of their backgrounds, social identities, and lived experiences. We are interested in applicants’ talent, intelligence, dedication, and persistence, and desire to see that all people are treated fairly and respectfully – no matter the allegation or circumstance.


The FPD seeks applications from a diverse group of qualified individuals in terms of race, ethnicity, nation of origin, culture, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, education, opinions, age, languages spoken, veteran status, disability, religion, and socio-economic circumstance. We especially encourage applications from members of the BIPOC community, people who have been affected by the criminal legal system, and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.


How to Apply: Qualified persons may apply by emailing a letter of interest, résumé, and two professional references (including names, email addresses, and telephone numbers) to:


Colin Fieman

Federal Public Defender

Attn. Human Resources


Please indicate if you are interested in the Seattle position, the Tacoma position, or both, and

submit application materials as PDFs via email to wawpersonnel@fd.org and reference “Assistant Federal Public Defender” in the subject line. Preference will be given to applications received by February 29, 2024. Only applicants granted interviews will be contacted.