Temporary Pro Se Law Clerk

Website U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois


The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is seeking three Temporary Pro Se Law Clerks. The Pro Se Law Clerk principally provides legal research and assistance to the court in connection with prisoner petitions and complaints. Duties and responsibilities include: screening prisoner complaints and motions; drafting appropriate recommendations and orders for the court’s review; researching issues raised in complaints; keeping abreast of changes in prison law; advising appropriate court personnel on the status of particular cases; and sometimes attending court hearings. Primary duties involve analysis of procedural and substantive issues in pro se prisoner civil rights and habeas corpus cases. The incumbent will perform other duties as assigned by the Chief Judge.


The applicant must be a law school graduate; must be a member of a state bar; and have at least one year of legal work experience after receipt of J.D. At least one year of legal experience as a law clerk to an Article III Federal Judge is preferred. Knowledge of constitutional law, particularly relating to prison litigation, is especially desirable. Applicants must possess excellent research, writing, and communication skills and must be able to work independently. Preference is given to applicants who have at least a two-year working knowledge of prisoner civil rights and habeas corpus law, and to those with federal law clerk experience.



Compensation and classification level will be set based on legal experience after receipt of J.D. and Bar membership, qualifications, and salary history of the successful candidate. JSP Grade 12 requires one year of legal work experience; JSP grade 13 requires two years of legal work experience; and JSP Grade 14 requires three years of legal work experience.



The United States District Court offers a generous benefits package to full-time, employees, which includes:


·       11 Paid Federal Holidays

·       13 Days Paid Vacation (per year for the first three years)

·       20 Days Paid Vacation (after three years)

·       26 Days Paid Vacation (after fifteen years)

·       13 Days Paid Sick Leave

·       Paid Parental Leave

·       Medical, Dental, Vision Coverage

·       Life Insurance

·       Thrift Savings Plan with matching funds (401k & Roth 401k style)

·       Participation in Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS-FRAE)

·       Health, Dependent, & Parking Reimbursement Programs

·       Public Transit Subsidy Program

·       Long-Term Care Insurance

·       Employee Assistance Program, which provides free counseling, financial assistance, and basic legal services to all eligible employees

·       Access to an Infant Care and Toddler Care Center (onsite and near the building), and a Fitness Center (onsite) at a subsidized rate

·       A Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available to certain full-time employees with qualifying student loans.

·       The Federal Financial Management Reform Act requires direct deposit of federal wages

Further details regarding Federal benefits may be viewed at: ILND Benefits


Consideration will only be given to those who apply through the court’s online applicant tracking system and provide a cover letter, resume, writing sample and provide two professional references. To view openings and to apply, visit our applicant tracking system at: ILND Jobs

Due to the volume of applications received, the Court will only communicate with those applicants who will be interviewed. Applicants selected for interviews will be communicated to only through email and must travel at their own expense and relocation expenses will not be reimbursed. Applicants will be screened to determine their experience and qualifications.

All new employees must be fully vaccinated (i.e., at least 2 weeks after last dose) for COVID-19 and, prior to the starting with the Clerk’s Office, present proof of vaccination or submit a request in writing for an exemption to this requirement on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief or medical condition.  Prior to appointment, the finalist candidate will be required to satisfactorily complete a criminal background investigation. The Court requires employees to adhere to a Code of Conduct which is available upon request. Direct deposit is required for payment of compensation for employees. Employees of the District Court, Northern District of Illinois are excepted service appointments. Employees are considered at-will and are not covered by federal civil service classifications or regulations. The United States District Court is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Diversity is important to the Judiciary. It is an essential component of services that the Judiciary is charged with providing to maintain justice, equality, fairness, respect, and dignity in society. To fulfill its duties, the Judiciary must include all members of society—not just regardless, but also inclusive of race, gender, disability, and the many other variables that make up the citizens of our nation. The Judiciary has a duty to promote a fair, just, and sustainable model of inclusive democracy and social justice that surpasses any governmental entity in the history of this nation or of any other nation.

To be eligible for employment, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

(1)  U.S. citizen;

(2)  Person who owes allegiance to the U.S. (i.e., nationals of American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Northern Mariana Islands);

(3)  Person admitted as a refugee or granted asylum who has filed a declaration of intention to become a lawful permanent resident and then a citizen when eligible; or

(4)  Lawful permanent resident (i.e., green card holder) who is seeking citizenship. A lawful permanent resident “seeking citizenship”:

(a)   May not apply for citizenship until he or she has been a permanent resident for at least five years (three years if seeking naturalization as a spouse of a citizen);

(b)  Must apply for citizenship within six months of becoming eligible; and

(c)   Must complete the process within two years of applying (unless there is a delay caused by the processors of the application).

The Court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this job announcement, or to withdraw the announcement, any of which may occur without prior written or other notice.

To apply for this job please visit www.governmentjobs.com.