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225 Broadway Ste 900
San Diego, CA 92101
TEL: 619-234-8467

Toll Free: 888-614-9867
FAX: 619-687-2666

1699 W. Main St. Suite D
El Centro, CA 92243
TEL: 760-335-3510

Toll Free: 877-404-9063
FAX: 760-335-3610

Employment Opportunities
Employment Opportunities for Attorneys
Employment Opportunities for Attorneys

Federal Defenders seeks to recruit attorneys who strive for excellence, are willing to battle time and again against all odds, and who are committed to toiling tirelessly to protect the rights of the indigent accused. We attend national recruitment fairs searching for motivated and dedicated new graduates to join our team. Federal Defenders always welcomes applications from attorneys finishing judicial clerkships and other significant legal positions. We actively recruit year round to fill positions as they become available.


Due to the large volume of applications received by FDSDI, we do not respond to each applicant individually. If you are selected for an interview or if additional materials are needed, you will be contacted by FDSDI.






TITLE: Trial Attorney


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.


Federal Defenders is an equal opportunity employer.  Selection of candidates will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and religious grooming), sex (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity (including transgender identity and transitioning), gender expression and sex stereotyping, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, legally protected medical condition or information (including genetic information), family care or medical leave status, military caregiver status, military status, veteran status, marital status, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, enrollment in a public assistance program, engaging in protected communications regarding employee wages, requesting a reasonable accommodation on the basis of disability or bona fide religious belief or practice, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal laws.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, detailed résumé, transcript, and writing sample in PDF format to:

Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
Attn: Michele A. McKenzie
225 Broadway, Ste. 900
San Diego, CA 92101

Or e-mail a cover letter, detailed résumé, writing sample, and list of references to: attorneyapp@fdsdi.com with subject line “Trial Attorney Position”

No phone calls please.

Open until filled.



If you have a question about an upcoming job fair FDSDI is attending, please contact us at jobfair@fdsdi.com


If you are interested in an internship please visit the legal interns page for more information.

*The material found on this Web site is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered to be legal advice and is not guaranteed to be complete or up to date. Use of this Web site is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between the user and Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.. (FDSDI) or any of the firm's attorneys. Readers should not rely upon or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. See full disclaimer.