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Job Details for Chief Counsel to District Court

Court Name/Organization: New York Southern District Court
Location: New York, NY
Opening and Closing Dates: 09/15/2021 - Open Until Filled
Appointment Type: N/A
Classification Level/Grade: JSP 15
Salary: $147,994 - $172,500
Link to Court Careers Information:
Announcement Number: 12-01-DE
Position Description

The principal responsibility of the Chief Counsel is to lead the Pro Se Litigation Office, which currently comprises 8 attorneys. The Pro Se Litigation Office serves the District and Magistrate Judges of the Court in the handling of all pro se cases, the largest categories of which are civil rights actions and petitions for writs of habeas corpus and many of which are filed by incarcerated plaintiffs. The Office assists the Court in the initial review of all pro se filings for the purposes of determining jurisdiction and whether the filings are subject to sua sponte dismissal. During the processing of pro se cases and otherwise, the Office advises judges on issues that affect the management of such litigation and may assist judges in drafting substantive decisions. The Office is responsible for tracking all pro se cases, maintaining pertinent records, and advising the Court with regard to relevant issues affecting pro se litigation. The Office prepares forms, manuals and other materials to provide procedural assistance to pro se litigants. The Chief Counsel works closely with the Chief Judge, the Clerk’s Office and the District Executive’s Office to insure that all pro se matters are being properly managed and addressed; serves as liaison to the offices of the United States Attorney, New York State Attorney General, and the New York City Corporation Counsel with regard to pro se litigation involving those offices; and coordinates programs and activities with the private bar to encourage volunteer attorneys to represent pro se litigants in appropriate cases.


Applicants must possess a Juris Doctor degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and be admitted to the bar in a Federal court of general jurisdiction. Applicants also must have excellent academic credentials and superior analytical, research, and writing skills with law review or equivalent legal research experience. At least seven years of relevant legal and/or management experience post-Juris Doctor, including four years of federal court experience, is required, and applicants must possess expertise in federal civil and criminal procedure and substantive law. The Court seeks a diverse group of highly qualified applicants.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents seeking U.S. citizenship. Employees of the United States District Court are not included in the government’s Civil Service classification and are at-will employees. All employees are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees. The successful candidate for this position is subject to a background check. This position is subject to mandatory electronic funds transfer for payment of net pay.

How To Apply

To be considered for this position, applicants must submit a cover letter, resume (including law school class rank and/or percentile if available), law school transcript, self-edited writing sample, and a list of at least three professional references. Only applications submitted via e-mail will be accepted. It is preferred for the applications to be submitted in a single PDF document, and for candidates to include the vacancy number and position title in the subject field of the e-mail containing the application. Applications submitted as zip files, cloud files and/or links will not be accepted. Applications that do not conform to the above procedures will not be considered. Only candidates selected for the next step in the hiring process will be contacted. Please submit your application to:

The federal Judiciary is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.