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City of Philadelphia
 

Employment and Internships

This section deals with the process of hiring Assistant District Attorneys, Interns and Paralegals. Nearly all other positions in the District Attorney's Office are subject to Civil Service hiring requirements.
For additional information regarding Civil Service Opportunities, please check out the City of Philadelphia's Personnel Department.

Careers in Prosecution

A career in prosecution is designed for those attorneys dedicated to the finest public service available and who are committed to the ideals of public safety and justice. Working in a major metropolitan prosecutor’s office offers an attorney a broad spectrum of experience. The crimes prosecuted range from disorderly conduct to aggravated assaults, complex fraud investigations, rapes and murders. The Office is responsible for both adult and juvenile prosecutions.

The Pretrial Division is where most cases are reviewed and charged after an initial investigation and it is made up of 3 units: Charging Unit, Pretrial Unit and Diversion Court. The Diversion Court, with the goal of crime prevention and intervention early to reduce recidivism, offers a wide-range of alternative sentencing options for non-violent offenders. The office offers 23 Diversion Programs and 6 re-entry programs, and has been selected by the Department of Justice to teach and mentor other large cities about Diversion and Problem-Solving Courts.

The largest division in the Office, the Trial Division, consists of six Bureaus geographically aligned to the Philadelphia Police Department’s 21 police districts; Southwest Bureau, East Bureau, South Bureau, Central Division Bureau, Northwest Bureau, Northeast Bureau in addition to the Office’s Homicide, Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Municipal Court, and Victim Witness Services Units.

While the District Attorney’s Office naturally offers exceptional trial experience, it also provides a unique environment for the pursuit of other legal skills. For example, the Appeals Unit handles over one thousand appeals annually, both as appellee and appellant, presenting challenging and interesting issues for developing legal writing skills and oral advocacy. These appeals are litigated in a variety of courts, ranging from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to the United States Supreme Court. The bulk of appellate litigation is before the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts. In nearly all cases, appellate attorneys are assigned full responsibility, under supervision, for the briefing and arguing of their own cases. Increasingly, the Appeals Unit is staffed by attorneys completing judicial clerkships, including Federal District and Circuit Court. 

ASSIGNMENTS

Assignments and promotions within the District Attorney’s Office are based primarily on the needs of the office, demonstrated ability and work ethic. New Assistant District Attorneys are assigned initially to either the Municipal Court Unit or the Appeals Unit. In the Trial Division Bureaus, attorneys handle misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings. Attorneys in the Appeals Unit write briefs and argue before the appellate courts.

After an initial period in the Municipal Court Unit, Assistant District Attorneys typically move on to the Juvenile unit where they handle delinquency hearings involving a myriad of charges, including serious felonies. Ultimately, Assistant District Attorneys move on to Trial Division Zone Bureaus where they are now prepared to prosecute before juries. During the course of an assignment to the Bureaus, each Assistant District Attorney should expect to be assigned to the Charging Unit.

Once proficient in non-jury trials, an Assistant District Attorney will have an opportunity to try jury trials. As stated previously, this progression is based on the needs of the office and on one's demonstrated ability and work ethic. Following the normal progression in the Trial Division, Assistant District Attorneys are often assigned, based upon the needs of the Office, to the Investigations Division, Appeals, the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Homicide or other specialty unit.

SALARY STRUCTURE
For 2017, the starting salary for newly admitted bar members is $51,956.

BENEFITS
Immediately upon assuming office, Assistant District Attorneys receive benefits similar to those of other city employees, including a pension plan, sick leave, 11 paid holidays per year, four annual administrative leave days, 20 paid vacation days each year, a choice of medical insurance plans and a term life insurance policy.

Additional Benefits available to qualified staff:

  • Participation in a mandatory pension plan; Choice of medical insurance plans, including vision, prescription and dental coverage, which can be extended to spouses and dependents;
  • Term life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policies;
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
  • Optional supplemental life and AD&D
    policies, including options for salary continuation benefit for survivors and dependent life coverage;
  • Optional deferred compensation plan for retirement;
  • Other options: 
    • Membership in credit union
    • Before tax commuter program
    • Health care flexible spending accounts
    • Dependent care flexible spending accounts
    • Sick leave bonuses and exchanges
EEO

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

Third Year Law Students and Pennsylvania Bar Members

Hiring Committee Chair: Deputy District Attorney, Angel Flores
Hiring Committee Co- Chair: Deputy District Attorney, Michael Barry

HIRING
Presently the Office has approximately 300 prosecutors on staff. Each year the Office hires a number of recent law school graduates (or judicial law clerks) for its incoming fall class. Lateral applications are accepted year round.

TRAINING PROGRAM
New attorneys hired for our fall class participate in an intense training and orientation program in November. Appointment as an Assistant District Attorney cannot occur until passage of the Pennsylvania Bar Examination. The training program consists of lectures, seminars, courtroom and other observations designed to familiarize the new Assistant District Attorney with the Philadelphia criminal justice system as well as the Office of the District Attorney. Training continues throughout the Assistant District Attorney’s career as a prosecutor. Additionally, a full Continuing Legal Education program is available to the entire legal staff.

HOW TO APPLY
Third-Year Law School or Judicial Clerk applicants
Application period opens on June 1 with a firm deadline of September 15.

The hiring process consists of several steps:
  1. Resume review by the Hiring Committee Chair
  2. If selected-Prescreen interview with one of the members of the Hiring Committee
  3. If selected-Full panel Interview with at least 6 members of the Hiring Committee
  4. If selected-Full panel interview with Office leadership
Prescreen interviews begin as early as June with full panel interviews being held August-October with offers being made on rolling basis.

Ready to apply? Complete an application online.

Lateral applicants
Applications are accepted year round on as needed basis. All lateral applicants MUST be members of the Pennsylvania Bar at the time of the application.

The hiring process consists of several steps:
1. Resume review by the Hiring Committee Chair
2. If selected-Prescreen interview with one of the members of the Hiring Committee
3. If selected-Full panel Interview with at least 6 members of the Hiring Committee

Ready to apply? Complete an application online.


IMPORTANT APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Cover Letters
All cover letters should be addressed to Chair for Hiring, Deputy District Attorney, Angel Flores.

Writing sample
The writing sample does not need to be a criminal issue. It should be a writing piece that is 100% your work product, with limited outside editing. It should also demonstrate an advocate’s tone. The writing sample should be persuasive writing, rather than a bench memo, etc. A good example is a brief that you submitted for a law school course.

Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov.

Questions/Concerns:
Please contact Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov or
215-686-5685 with any questions or concerns.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

Second-Year Law Student Program

Hiring Committee Chair: Assistant District Attorney, Sybil Murphy

Our Second-Year Law Student Internship is a ten-week program designed to give second-year law students maximum exposure to the practical aspects of the prosecutor's role in the Criminal Justice/Juvenile Justice System in Philadelphia. This is accomplished by allowing second-year interns, who are certified, to try their own cases in Municipal or Family Court. Interns have an opportunity to rotate through at least two units in the office. The Office hires anywhere between 25-35 Second-Year Law School Students each year.

One rotation is spent in the Municipal Court or Juvenile Division where the interns will have the opportunity to prepare and prosecute a number of their own cases. Other rotations vary but will usually be in the Pretrial Unit

Interns undergo an intense one week training period consisting of lectures, seminars and courtroom observations. Arrangements are also made for interns to tour the prisoner detention facility, observe formal lineups, and tour the criminalistics and ballistics laboratories at the Police Administration Building.

The District Attorney’s Office regards the summer Legal Internship Program as an important (but not the exclusive) recruiting tool for potential full-time employees. It is our usual practice, however, to fill a substantial number of our vacant full-time positions through the Second-Year Legal Internship Program.

Applicants who are ineligible for work study through their law schools may be eligible to receive a stipend in the amount of $460.00 per week.

HOW TO APPLY
Second-Year Law School Internship Program
Application period opens on June 1 with a firm deadline of September 15.

The hiring process consists of several steps:
  1. Resume review by the Hiring Committee Chair
  2. If selected-Prescreen interview with one of the members of the Hiring Committee
  3. If selected-Full Panel Interview with at least 6 members of the Hiring Committee
Prescreen interviews begin as early as June with full panel interviews being held August-November with offers being made on rolling basis.

Ready to apply?
To apply for Second-Year Law School internship program, please click here

IMPORTANT APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Cover Letters
All cover letters should be addressed to 2L Chair for Hiring, Assistant District Attorney Sybil Murphy.

Writing sample
The writing sample does not need to be a criminal issue. It should be a writing piece that is 100% your work product, with limited outside editing. It should also demonstrate an advocate’s tone. The writing sample should be persuasive writing, rather than a bench memo, etc. A good example is a brief that you submitted for a law school course.

Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov.

Questions/Concerns:
Please contact Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov or 215-686-5685 with any questions or concerns.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

First-Year Law Student Program

Internship Coordinator: Anna Stacey

Each summer, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office accepts between 20-30 first year law school students into our internship program. The program generally begins at the end of May and lasts until the end of July or beginning of August.

This program is designed to give first year law students exposure to the role of the prosecutor in the criminal justice system and for the Office to scout potential employees down the road. Law students are given priceless opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience in a real, high volume day-to-day prosecutorial setting. Many first year law students who successfully complete the program enter our second year law student internship program and are subsequently hired as Assistant District Attorneys.

Below are only some of the opportunities interns may be given during the first year internship program as well as the description of some of the responsibilities. Interns may:
  • Support Assistant District Attorneys in the course of preparing for trial and accompany them to court. 
  • Organize and/or analyze various documents and discovery. 
  • Perform a variety of clerical tasks.
  • Observe the various aspects of criminal case prosecution, including preliminary hearings, jury trials, bail hearings, arraignment hearings etc. 
  • Accompany prosecutors to interviews with victims and/or witnesses.
This list of responsibilities is not exhaustive and interns may be asked to perform other duties as needed or requested by their supervisors.

All interns will also have an opportunity to tour the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia Police Academy and the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.

First year law students will be directly supervised by an Assistant District Attorney and/or the Chief and Assistant Chief of the unit to which they are assigned. All interns are required to complete, at least, 24 hours of internship per work week. All first year law internship position are volunteer positions and are, therefore, unpaid. First year law students are encouraged to seek public interest stipends or 100% institutional covered financial aid work study.

HOW TO APPLY
First-Year Law School Internship Program
Application period opens on November 28 with a firm deadline of February 15.

The hiring process consists of several steps:
  1. Resume review by the program coordinator
  2. If selected-Prescreen interview with one of the members of the Hiring Committee
  3. If selected-potential offer to join the 1L internship program

Prescreen interviews begin as early as December with offers being made on rolling basis.

Ready to apply?
To apply for First-Year Law School internship program, please click here

IMPORTANT APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Cover Letters
All cover letters should be addressed to Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator

Letters of recommendation
Letters of recommendation should be e-mailed to Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov.

Questions/Concerns:
Please contact Anna Stacey, Legal Hiring and Recruiting Coordinator at anna.stacey@phila.gov or 215-686-5685 with any questions or concerns.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

Continuing Legal Education

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an accredited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) provider that offers three twelve-credit courses for prosecutors each year. Participants receive a total of twelve credits, including at least one ethics credit for each two-day course. The courses are designed to cover topics of particular interest to prosecutors.

The courses are held in the Raymond J. Harley Training Center at the District Attorney's Office, Three South Penn Square, Center City Philadelphia.

For further information, contact the Director of Training

Paralegal Positions

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is seeking paralegals to provide trial support to prosecutors. Responsibilities may include case preparation, communication with victims and witnesses, compilation of statistics, maintenance of records and files, legal research, document review and production and coordination with outside agencies. The successful candidate will be organized, flexible and capable of working under pressure. Proficiency in Microsoft computer applications is desirable. A four year degree is required. The ability to develop and cultivate effective internal/external working relationships is essential, as is an understanding of the uniquely sensitive and confidential nature of the professional services provided by the Office. The District Attorney's Office provides an exciting alternative to employment at a private law firm. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office hires paralegals year-round.

HIRING PROCESS
Resume review and candidate screening interviews are conducted by the Paralegal Hiring Committee. You will be notified by the Paralegal Hiring Coordinator if an interview has been granted. Thereafter, paralegals are hired from the available pool of qualified candidates to fill positions as they become open.

SALARY STRUCTURE
As of July 1, 2017 the starting salary for a paralegal is $35,423.

BENEFITS
Paralegals are eligible for an annual accrual of 15 sick, up to 10 vacation and 4 administrative leave days.
Additional Benefits available to qualified staff:
  • Participation in a mandatory pension plan;
  • Choice of medical insurance plans, including vision, prescription and dental coverage, which can be extended to spouses and dependents;
  • Term life and accidental death and dismemberment (ADD) policies;
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
  • Optional supplemental life and ADD policies, including options for salary continuation benefit for survivors and dependent life coverage;
  • Optional deferred compensation plan for retirement;
Other options:

  • Direct deposit
  • Membership in credit union
  • Health club membership discounts
  • Before tax commuter program
  • Health care flexible spending accounts
  • Dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • Sick leave bonuses and exchanges
HOW TO APPLY
Email your resume and cover letter to da.paralegals.hire@phila.gov.

PARALEGAL HIRING FAQ'S

Where do I send my cover letter and resume?
Resumes and cover letters should be sent to:

The District Attorney's Office
Three South Penn Square
Philadelphia , PA 19107
Attn: Paralegal Hiring Coordinator

What are the educational requirements to apply for a paralegal position?
All paralegal applicants are required to have at least a bachelors degree in any area of study.

What is the hiring process for paralegals?
Applicants submit a cover letter and resume to the Office, which serves as an application for a paralegal position. Resume review and candidate screening interviews are conducted by the Paralegal Hiring Committee. You will be notified by the Paralegal Hiring Coordinator if an interview has been granted. Thereafter, paralegals are hired from the available pool of qualified candidates to fill positions as they become open.

Is there an application deadline for paralegal positions?
No. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

How long will my application stay on file?
Applications will be active for one year from the date of receipt by the Office.

How long is the paralegal hiring process?
This is a difficult question to answer. The needs and resources of the Office dictate the number of openings. At times the process can take a little as one month from application to start of employment, while in some cases it can take several months.

If I still have questions, whom should I contact?
Email all questions to da.paralegals.hire@phila.gov.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

Undergraduate Internship Program

The Undergraduate Internship Program is designed to give undergraduate students exposure to the prosecutor's role in the Philadelphia criminal justice system and for the Office to scout perspective employees. At the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, interns are an integral part of our workforce. Students gain exposure to criminal case prosecution and are given responsibility, meaningful work, and a chance to leave their mark.

More than 45% of all paralegal hires over the last three years have been former interns. The internship program also affords students the opportunity to get "real world" experience in their area of study, possibly for college credit. The program is intended to provide knowledge, skills, and experiences that an intern can apply to future challenges and professional pursuits, while giving back to the Philadelphia community.

Most students are assigned to one unit for the duration of the internship as determined by the current needs of the Office. Occasionally these needs may require a student to split time between units. Each student will have unique experiences and duties based upon unit assignment. Some students will closely assist paralegals and/or Assistant District Attorneys, while others will work more independently fulfilling unit tasks. Regardless of unit placement, all students will be given the opportunity to observe the various aspects of criminal case prosecution. To further enhance the experience, District Attorney's Office personnel will lead breakout sessions highlighting units and office initiatives during each semester.

Students are required to give the office a minimum of 15 hours per week during the spring and fall semesters and a minimum of 24 hours per week in the summer. If a student is performing the internship for academic credit, it is the student's responsibility to communicate the institutional requirements to the Office. All undergraduate internship positions are unpaid.

To apply for the Undergraduate Internship Program, students must submit a cover letter and resume by the deadlines listed below; extensions will not be granted. Not all applicants will be interviewed for the program.
.

HOW TO APPLY
Email your resume and cover letter to da.undergrads@phila.gov.
***Deadlines***
Spring semester - November 15
Summer semester - February 15
Fall semester - August 1

UNDERGRADUATE INTERNSHIP FAQ's

What are the requirements?
Above all interns must have a strong sense of integrity and hard work. We are looking to create an intern staff that is self-motivated and has some experience working with people. Also, the ideal person is ambitious, mature, personable, and flexible.

While academic excellence is sought in applicants, we look for a well-rounded critical thinking student who demonstrates leadership and an interest in community. Strong oral and written communication skills are also a plus.

Is there a criminal record background check?
Yes.

Do I have to be a college student?
The program is designed for undergraduates and graduate students, however all applicants with the requisite qualifications are encouraged to apply. On occasion we accept a limited number of high school students.

Do I need to be a resident of Philadelphia, PA?
There is no Philadelphia residency requirement for interns.

Do you accept international students?
We cannot offer a visa to work in the internship program. You must be eligible to work in the United States in order to be considered.

Can I intern even if I am not a criminal justice major?
Accepted students come from a broad variety of schools, backgrounds, and academic majors. A specific major is not required to become an intern. We're interested in individuals who have demonstrated a desire to work hard in public service.

Is an interview required for an internship?
Yes. If you are selected for an interview, you will be contacted. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. You will have an opportunity to visit the location and interview with the internship coordinator. In some instances when the travel distance is significant, a telephone interview will be conducted instead of an on-site interview. This determination will be made at the Office's discretion.

How competitive is the application process?
Because we receive applications from many qualified applicants, the application process is extremely competitive. However, our office always has a lot of work to do, which means we have many intern positions to fill.

How many internships are available?
There is no set number of internships offered for a given term. Unit needs can vary greatly from semester to semester.

How many hours per week are required?
Spring and fall semester interns are required to perform a minimum of 15 each week. In the summer students are expected to work at least 24 per week.

Are interns required to attend an orientation?
There is a mandatory orientation for all interns each fall, spring, and summer. If you accept the offer of an internship, you will be notified of the dates.

What will I do as an intern?
The assignments given to interns vary from unit to unit. Students can expect to work closely with Assistant District Attorneys, paralegals, other staff members and interns doing substantive assignments, with plenty of mentoring. Assignments can include research and writing, assistance with trial preparation, communication with victims and/or witnesses and administrative tasks. All assignments will provide hands-on experience that develops insight into how a big city prosecutor's office operates. All interns will be afforded the opportunity to observe in court.

How long do the internships run?
Generally internships last 12-16 weeks. At the District Attorney's Office discretion, some interns may have the opportunity to extend their internship beyond the established end date.

Are interns paid?
All undergraduate internships are unpaid.

Can I receive academic credit for completing an internship?
Awarding academic credit for an internship is at the discretion of your college or university. We will assist you in providing appropriate information as requested by your school to confirm the content of your internship.

Do you offer housing for interns?
No. Interns are responsible for their own housing.

Do you have on-site parking?
On-site parking is not available.

How should I dress?
The office has a business professional dress code, which will be distributed to interns. Women wear dresses, blouses with skirts or dress slacks, while men wear dress pants, shirts and ties.

I have a question that is not listed on this page. Who should I contact?
Email all questions to da.undergrads@phila.gov.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age or disability.

Civil Service Opportunities

This website deals with the process of hiring Assistant District Attorneys, Interns and Paralegals. Nearly all other positions in the District Attorney's Office are subject to Civil Service hiring requirements.

For additional information regarding Civil Service Opportunities, please check out the City of Philadelphia's Personnel Department website at www.phila.gov/personnel.