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Position Announcement: Federal Public Defender for the District of Puerto Rico

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is accepting applications for the position of Federal Public Defender for the District of Puerto Rico. The term of appointment is four years. The current annual salary is $183,500.
The Federal Public Defender provides federal criminal defense to individuals unable to afford counsel. The defender supervises a staff of more than 50 people, including trial lawyers, an appellate unit, investigators, and support personnel. The defender is also responsible for providing training to the panel of lawyers who take indigent federal appointments. The office is headquartered in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
To be qualified for appointment, an applicant must:
  1. be a member in good standing in the bar of the state in which the applicant is admitted to practice;
  2. have a minimum of five years of criminal practice experience, preferably with significant federal trial experience, which demonstrates an ability to provide zealous representation of consistently high quality to criminal defendants, or other comparable experience;
  3. have the ability to effectively administer the office;
  4. have a reputation for integrity; and
  5. have a commitment to the representation of those unable to afford counsel.
In applying for the position of Federal Public Defender for the District of Puerto Rico, all applicants should be aware that the Federal Public Defender Office (FPDO) will serve not only as a traditional law office representing individual defendants, but also as a resource center for all practicing federal defense attorneys. It is envisioned that the FPDO will provide regularly scheduled training programs for defense counsel and will serve as a source of advice and counsel to all defense attorneys both on an individual and a group basis. The Federal Public Defender will also be expected to work with other federal defenders nationally in order to coordinate common strategies for dealing with evolving issues in federal criminal law. All applicants should have a demonstrated commitment to indigent criminal defense and an ability to work with people of diverse cultural backgrounds.
A Merit Screening Committee will screen all applications to find the best qualified person presently available for this position.
An application form may be obtained from the Court's website at Please email completed applications to Please direct any questions to:
Susan J. Goldberg, Circuit Executive
Office of the Circuit Executive
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 3700
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: 617-748-9614
Completed applications must be received no later than Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Employment is contingent upon a successful FBI background check. The FPDO does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age (40 years and over), or disability. More information about the District of Puerto Rico FPDO can be found at