A Commitment To Excellence

A Passion For Justice




Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., is looking for an attorney with a demonstrated interest in indigent defense as well as excellent research and writing skills to join our team. The primary duties of trial attorneys at Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. are to represent indigent persons accused of federal crimes at all stages of their court proceedings.

Trial attorneys interview clients prior to their first appearances, make sure that an attorney is assigned, fight for bail and conduct detention hearings. For clients that are assigned to Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. for the remainder of their cases, trial attorneys review discovery, convey offers, represent clients at their preliminary hearings, arraignments on indictment, waivers of indictment, and/or jury trial. Trial attorneys handle cases arising from complaints and/or indictments filed by the federal government.  They also handle identity and removal hearings as well as supervised release revocation proceedings.


Trial attorneys are expected to prepare their own cases for trial, including but not limited to: investigation, witness preparation, organizing a brain storm of the case for the other attorneys in the office, writing cross-examinations, opening statements, and closing arguments. If a case is lost at the district court level, the trial attorney will also represent the client on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. During the appeal, the trial attorney will brain storm the appeal with her appellate supervisor, do legal research, write the opening and reply briefs, and argue the case before the appellate courts.


Federal Defenders offers a competitive compensation package with excellent benefits. Compensation is commensurate with experience. Federal Defenders hires persons immediately following graduation from law school as well as attorneys finishing clerkships or other legal positions.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and detailed resume to:

Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
Attn: Hiring Manager
225 Broadway, Ste. 900
San Diego, CA 92101

Or email a cover letter and detailed resume, writing sample, and list of references to: CAS_AttorneyCareers@fd.org

No Phone Calls.


Applications for the Fall 2025 class will be accepted beginning June 2024.



Our office values diversity and is committed to equity and inclusion. We aspire to embody values of mutual respect, collaboration, openness, and humility that honor the people we represent. Our representation is better when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. In our hiring, we look for lawyers who share these values. We embrace the unique backgrounds, social identities, and lived experiences our employees bring to our office. We are interested in applicants’ talent, diligence, and desire to see that all people are treated fairly and respectfully – no matter the allegation or circumstance.

We seek applicants from a diverse group of qualified people and aim to structure our organization to reflect diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, culture, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, education, opinions, age, languages spoken, veteran status, disability, religion, and socio-economic circumstance. We are especially interested in receiving applications from members of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community, people who have been affected by the criminal legal system, and people from other underrepresented and impacted communities.