Welcome from the Chief Federal Defender

Welcome to the home page of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Our commitment is to provide the best representation to our clients as we fight for justice. Our attorneys and staff are of the highest caliber and are uniformly regarded as strong advocates who skillfully navigate our cases through the complex federal criminal system. We hope you find this site informative.

Leigh M. Skipper


Our Office is open to assist you, although we are doing much of our work remotely due to the current Pennsylvania and national emergency concerning COVID-19. Because we believe that it is the responsibility of each of us to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are limiting in-person contact among our staff, with clients, and with the public in general.

We are available by phone and by mail, and our reception desk is currently open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Our trial lawyers are visiting clients in pretrial detention and are meeting with other clients at our office by appointment only. Lawyers are also continuing to use videoconferencing and arranged legal calls where available. You can reach our trial, appeals and non-capital habeas corpus lawyers by calling 215-928-1100. You can reach our capital habeas corpus lawyers by calling 215-928-0520. Please be patient and try again if you are unable to reach your lawyer immediately.

At this time, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has limited access to the federal courthouse. Arraignments and other custody-related proceedings are being conducted either by videoconference or telephone. Some hearings and proceedings are taking place at the courthouse. Jury trials are postponed until September or later.

For further information regarding court operations or your case, please contact our office or use this link to reach the District Court's website.


You can read the District Court's standing orders regarding operations during the COVID-19 pandemic by clicking on the following link.






"Equal justice under law is not a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building. It is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society... It is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status."

--U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Jr.