County of Alameda

Assistant Public Defender (#3126)

Bargaining Unit: Assistant Public Defender (R68)
$104.55-$137.73 Hourly / $8,364.00-$11,018.40 BiWeekly /
$18,122.00-$23,873.20 Monthly / $217,464.00-$286,478.40 Yearly

Assistant Public Defender is the unrestricted litigation and/or primary administrative class. Under general direction of the Public Defender, Chief Assistant Public Defender or Senior Assistant Public Defender, an Assistant Public Defender acts as a supervising attorney for other Assistant Public Defenders, and/or for Associate and Deputy Public Defenders, and may review and evaluate their work and performance as required; an Assistant Public Defender performs specialized legal tasks in connection with controversial and complex legal cases, does related legal work as required, and may conduct and supervise attorney training.


The Assistant Public Defender class is found only in the Public Defender's Department.

Assistant Public Defenders are expected to undertake major administrative or major litigation duties as assigned. An Assistant Public Defender may be assigned to supervise any branch office, division or unit of the Public Defender's legal division under the general guidance of the Public Defender, Chief Assistant Public Defender or Senior Assistant Public Defender.

Assistant Public Defenders perform the most difficult legal work in the Public Defender's Office, serving as lead counsel in all cases, including those for which the death penalty is sought. Due to the heavy stress of these complex trial cases, Assistant Public Defenders may be rotated from time to time to positions with less serious or demanding cases where they are expected to assume lead or mentor positions.

NOTE: The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

1. Assigns cases to personnel under his/her supervision; advises them on tactics, policy, and procedures; approves their decisions on negotiations with the District Attorney and police departments; reviews their work and offers critiques.

2. Explains techniques and policies pertaining to the protection of law in the Public Defender's Office; assigns basic reading matter to all new professional staff members and makes additional assignments in special fields of law as necessary; reports on the progress of individual attorneys in the training program.

3. Reviews all new cases; checks applicants eligibility to receive the counsel of the Public Defender's Office; checks for accuracy and completeness of required information; reviews legal arguments, procedures, tactics, and policy; determines the need for investigation and expert services, and that they are requested when needed.

4. Assists in departmental administration and formulation of policy; assists in the preparation of department budget, reports and administrative procedures.

5. Evaluates the performance of subordinates; recommends on the appointment, promotion, reassignment and discipline of attorneys.

6. Acts as lead counsel in death penalty cases and other highly complex, controversial, or extremely difficult litigation.

1. Current active membership and good standing with the State Bar of California.

2. Valid California motor vehicle operator's license.

The equivalent of three years of full-time experience in the class of Deputy Public Defender in the Alameda County classified service. (Non-classified includes District Attorney's Office, Hospital Authority, and the Consolidated Courts.)

The equivalent of seven years of increasingly responsible experience as a trial attorney in the field of criminal law, with a caseload and duties comparable to attorneys working in a metropolitan public defender agency; the equivalent of at least one year in a supervisory or administrative capacity in a public defender office or law firm with similar cases and responsibilities.

NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.

NOTE: The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the "Examples of Duties" section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

· Philosophy and practice of public defense in the United States.
· Law, ethics, and policies governing the Public Defender's office.
· Principles of training and supervision.
· Legal principles and procedures followed in the processing of criminal cases.
· Scope and character of California statutory and constitutional law.
· Principles of public administration and personnel management.
· Legal source materials.


· Assist in the training and supervision of personnel in the Public Defender's Office.
· Legal preparation in difficult and complex matters.
· Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.
· Gather, analyze and apply legal data and evidence.
· Present legal arguments effectively in oral and written form.
· Inspire confidence in clients and work effectively with colleagues and representatives of other agencies.
· Decision making.
· Interpersonal sensitivity.
· Flexibility.
· Performance in a stressful environment.
· Defend felony cases at the pretrial and jury trial level, including advanced litigation techniques and preservation of the trial record by making timely and appropriate trial objections and motions, and demonstrated knowledge of and facility in addressing difficult sentencing issues.
· Assist in the planning, organization, and supervision of the Public Defender's Office.
· Represent the department in disciplinary proceedings.
· Understand the problems of court administration and work with the courts so clients do not suffer through poor administration in represented cases.
· Supervise and/or conduct the evaluation of the performance of professional staff, including Assistant Public Defenders, Deputy Public Defenders, and Associate Public Defenders.
· Assume management of the Office of the Public Defender in emergency situations.
· Represent the Public Defender's Department in meetings with other County departments and agencies, outside agencies, and the County Board of Supervisors.

Revised: 9/21/92
Combined Asst.PDIV&V
Old document: 0370h
New document: Jobspecs/3126
CSC Date: 4/20/94
BG:pf Revised 6/24/05
CSC Date:
CH:cs Revised 2/17/10
CSC Date: 2/24/10


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 11 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Management Paid Leave**
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.

** Non-exempt management employees are entitled to up to three days of management paid leave. Exempt management employees are entitled to up to seven days of management paid leave.