Staff Attorney Position at ABA Death Penalty Representation Project

September 18, 2015

The American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney at the Project’s Washington, D.C. office. The ABA is committed to ensuring that those facing the ultimate punishment are provided with competent, adequately compensated counsel at every stage of the proceedings. The Project’s top priorities are: 1) enlisting law firms to represent indigent death-sentenced prisoners in post-conviction proceedings as pro bono counsel; and 2) reform of capital defender systems through systemic litigation and implementation of the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.

The Staff Attorney will have a leading role in recruiting volunteer law firms, working with interested associates and partners to encourage them to accept a capital case or handle systemic litigation, and providing support and guidance once they have agreed to do so; conducting extensive legal research about the failures of counsel systems in particular jurisdictions and investigating potential causes of action; gathering evidence, data and case law examples to support potential causes of action; drafting pleadings; working in collaboration with cooperating organizations, capital defenders, consultants and advisory committee members regarding litigation strategy; creating media and public education campaigns; ensuring effective communication with external and internal (ABA) partners; and performing other duties as assigned.


The position requires some travel. Qualified applicants should have a law degree and be admitted in at least one U.S. jurisdiction; at least four years of substantive experience in death penalty litigation or related areas; a commitment to issues regarding indigent criminal defense and the death penalty; excellent legal research and writing skills; the ability to work with a wide range of people and entities; and a sense of humor.

It is critical that the Staff Attorney be self-directed, work independently, and be capable of managing numerous projects under sometimes stressful conditions. Previous experience working with civil law firms or pro bono recruitment is highly desirable.


The salary range for this position is $68,900-$76,940.

Application Instructions:

Interested candidates should electronically send a resume, a cover letter highlighting their interest and experience, references, and an unedited writing sample at:

No phone calls, please.


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