Public Defense Attorney

Public Health Seattle & King County

Dexter Horton Building - 710 Second Avenue #200, WA

Dexter Horton Building - 710 Second Avenue #200, WA
30+ days ago


The Department of Public Defense (DPD) seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic advocates to join our dynamic and diverse team of public defense attorneys.
DPD provides high-quality legal representation to indigent clients. DPD practices in several areas, including felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitment, and contempt of court. The department also works to address racial disproportionality in the criminal legal system, the collateral consequences of system involvement, and other structural and/or systemic issues that undermine the rights of our clients. DPD employs skilled investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and other support staff. Expert services are regularly funded, in keeping with state court rules.
Successful candidates will be dedicated, hard-working advocates, with excellent trial, research, and writing skills. An ability to think critically and creatively in a fast-paced environment is essential in this role, as well as a passion for public defense and a demonstrated commitment to representing indigent persons. Strong candidates will also possess the ability to receive feedback constructively and to reflect on and modify performance accordingly.
The scope of representation expected by an attorney is determined by the nature of the case assignment, DPD’s practice expectations, case law, and the Rules of Professional Conduct. Caseload standards, established by the State Supreme Court, are observed in tandem with guidelines from the Washington State Bar Association. Attorneys in the Department of Public Defense are expected to complete all required trainings and to actively advance their level of practice by seeking additional learning opportunities. DPD pays bar dues and the cost of CLE credits.
At this time, DPD intends to fill multiple Career Service and/or Term-Limited Temporary (TLT) roles and to generate an eligibility pool for future vacancies in career service and temporary positions over the next six months. 
Who May Apply
This recruitment is open to all qualified attorney candidates. DPD ethical walls policies and procedures will apply to applicants.

For candidates interested in temporary roles: These positions occur at various times throughout the year and may provide coverage for employees on leave or other assignments. Positions last anywhere from six-months to two-years. TLT positions that are one-year or less may not be eligible for enrollment into the state retirement plan. TLT positions are eligible for medical, dental, vision, and other associated benefits. The ideal candidate for a temporary role could include someone displaced by the current economic conditions due to the pandemic or an independent attorney whose firm has been impacted by the pandemic. You must indicate your availability in the supplemental questionnaire accompanying this announcement, and individuals selected for temporary roles are eligible for career service only if they apply to a separate career service posting.
For all candidates: DPD seeks to hire attorneys with a wide range of life experiences. We particularly welcome applications from those who have personal experience in navigating the criminal legal system or child welfare system or come from communities most impacted by these systems.
These positions will initially be assigned to work in any of the following Seattle and/or Kent work locations, (although during the County's pandemic response, individuals may be expected to work remotely while being required to report to other locations, such as court or jail facilities during the normal course of their job duties):
  • Dexter Horton Building, 710 Second Avenue, Seattle;
  • Jefferson Street Building, 1401 East Jefferson, Seattle;
  • Meeker Street Building, 420 West Harrison Street, Kent, or 
  • 908 Jefferson St., Seattle.
If assigned to the civil commitment unit, assignments are to hospitals/treatment centers throughout the county.
Rotation of staff practice area and/or work location occurs based on business need.
Work Schedule
The normal work schedule is Monday through Friday, with some night and weekend work. This position is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and is not eligible for overtime.
Forms and Materials Required

  1. An online application completed at The employment history should go back at least 10 years if you have 10 years of employment (or more to include relevant experience).  
  2. A cover letter no more than two pages summarizing your experience and how you meet the required qualifications, knowledge, and skills for the position.
  3. A resume.
  4. A short self-authored writing sample (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) prepared for this selection process.
For more information, or if you have questions about this position or process, please contact: 
Falisha Forgash
Human Resource Analyst

Job Type: Multiple job types-career service and/or temp
Location: Dexter Horton Building - 710 Second Avenue #200, Seattle, Washington
Agency: DPD - Dept of Public Defense