Pro Se Paralegal

U.S. District Court   E ST LOUIS, IL   Full-time     Legal
Posted on May 3, 2024
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POSITION SUMMARY The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois is seeking a full-time permanent Pro Se Paralegal for the Clerk’s Office in East St. Louis. The Pro Se Paralegal performs case management in civil cases filed by prisoners and non-prisoners who represent themselves. The Pro Se Paralegal assists the court by independently responding to inquiries from parties regarding civil pro se cases, finalizing documents for filing, independently reviewing and responding to motions, generating statistical reports, researching legal questions, and preparing memoranda. Incumbent performs the duties of the position in conjunction with, and under the guidance of, pro se law clerks. 


  • Reviews legal documents submitted to the court for completeness and accuracy. Responds to questions related to the status and scheduling of pro se civil cases.
  •  Conducts legal research using source material or the internet. Composes and prepares routine correspondence, procedural orders, service packets, and documents that may require substantial research or analysis.
  •  Identifies emergency or unique matters and undertakes special handling requirements. Tracks and monitors calendars, filings, hearings, and case status. 
  • Reviews daily reports to identify new filings and tracks service. 
  • Monitors compliance with court orders and deadlines and initiates appropriate action as necessary. 
  • Maintains and monitors the court’s email address for electronic filings from state prison institutions. 
  • Develops and maintains an Excel spreadsheet to track pro se civil cases.
  •  Monitors deadlines, prioritizes tasks, and determines need for action by the judges and law clerks. 
  • Prepares necessary documents. Composes non-routine documents that require substantial research and analysis. 
  • Proofreads documents and checks citations before submission to judge. 
  • Monitors caseload, organizes filings and correspondence related to cases, logs case status, motions, and other actions, and updates the case list. 
  • Compiles and arranges information and data and prepares required periodic reports regarding court and non-court activities. Responds to advanced questions related to court practices. In the absence of other employees, performs the duties typically performed by courtroom deputies and case administrators. 
  • Performs legal research and analysis and communicates results orally or in writing. 
  • Drafts recommendations for resolutions
  •  Analyzes pro se filings and ascertains whether prisoners meet Prisoner Litigation Reform Act financial indigency qualifications. 
  • Opens pro se cases and electronically files pleadings.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS Applicant must have one year of specialized experience. Specialized experience is progressively responsible clerical or administrative experience requiring the regular and recurring application of clerical procedures that demonstrate the ability to apply a body of rules, regulations, directives, or laws and involve the routine use of specialized terminology and automated software and equipment for word processing, data entry, or report generation. Such experience is commonly encountered in law firms, legal counsel offices, banking and credit firms, educational institutions, social service organizations, insurance companies, real estate and title offices, and corporate headquarters or human resources/payroll operations. 

Education may not be substituted for the specialized experience, because operational court support positions require hands-on experience to be credited as specialized experience.

 COURT PREFERRED SKILLS Juris Doctorate degree, bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, and/or paralegal certificate. Experience in the federal judicial system and/or with electronic case filing systems. Knowledge of legal terminology, research, and processes. Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Westlaw and/or Lexis. Exceptional organizational and time management skills. Excellent verbal and written communication and clerical skills, as well as excellent interpersonal skills. Ability to work as part of a team and provide superior customer service. 

BENEFITS Judiciary employees serve under excepted appointments (not civil service). Excepted appointments are “at will” and can be terminated with or without notice, and with or without cause (i.e., without providing a reason). Federal benefits include paid vacation and sick leave, paid holidays, and retirement benefits. Optional benefits include health, life, and long-term care insurance, flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care, dental and vision insurance, and a tax-deferred savings plan. For more detailed information about Federal Judiciary benefits, please visit the United States Courts website at This position is subject to mandatory electronic fund transfer (direct deposit) participation for payment of net pay.

 BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION REQUIREMENTS The selectee for this position is subject to a criminal record check and satisfactory adjudication to be eligible for employment. Candidates will not be asked about their criminal history prior to receiving a tentative offer of employment. Candidates completing the AO 78 Employment Application are not required to complete questions 18-20 regarding criminal history. Criminal history is not in itself disqualifying. All available information, past and present, favorable and unfavorable, about the reliability and trustworthiness of an individual will be considered when making an employment suitability determination. Providing false and/or misleading information may be grounds for removal from the application and selection process, as well as disciplinary action if discovered after an individual’s date of hire.

PROCEDURES FOR APPLYING Application packets should include the following: 

  • A letter of interest describing your knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to the duties of this position;
  • Résumé;
  • AO78 (revised 3/24) Application for Judicial Branch Federal Employment (located on the court’s website at; and 
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three professional references.

 Application packets should be sent via email as one PDF or one Word document to The subject line should state “Pro Se Paralegal Application 2024-04.” Receipt will be acknowledged by the Human Resources Department by return email. If you do not receive email confirmation within three business days, please contact the Human Resources Administrator at (618) 482-9425. Application packets must be received by 4:00 PM CT on the closing date. Incomplete and late application materials will not be considered. Application packets will be reviewed upon receipt, and interviews may be held prior to the closing date of this announcement. 

Applicants must be United States citizens or eligible to work in the United States. Selection will be consistent with the Federal Judiciary’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and to promote and facilitate diversity, equity, and inclusion in its workforce. Applicants selected for interviews must travel at their own expense, and relocation expenses will not be reimbursed. Applicants may be asked to participate in proficiency tests.

The court provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis for any part of the application or hiring process. Please contact the Human Resources Administrator at (618) 482-9425 with any reasonable accommodation requests. 

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. If a similar position opens within 60 days of the closing date of this announcement, applicants under this announcement will be considered without further advertisement and competition. Employees are required to adhere to a Code of Ethics and Conduct, which is available to applicants for review upon request.



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