County of Alameda

Senior Assistant Public Defender (#3127)

Bargaining Unit: Unrep - PD Attorneys (068)
$144.85-$160.95 Hourly / $11,588.00-$12,876.00 BiWeekly /
$25,107.33-$27,898.00 Monthly / $301,288.00-$334,776.00 Yearly

Under general direction of the Chief Assistant Public Defender, a Senior Assistant Public Defender provides guidance, supervision, discipline and implementation of office and County policies to the Department’s three major jurisdictional sections (North County, South County and Trial Staff, as well as direct supervision of a functional unit, division, or branch office within the Public Defender’s office. The Senior Assistant Public Defender performs high-level management tasks; performs specialized legal tasks in connection with controversial and complex legal cases, including but not limited to capital case litigation and performs related legal work as required.


The Senior Assistant Public Defender is a high-level management position responsible for operational oversight of one of Department’s three major jurisdictional sections. This classification is distinguished from the classification of Assistant Public Defender in that the latter will supervise the smaller branch offices, divisions and/or units of the Public Defender’s office; while the Senior Assistant Public Defender will have overall managerial responsibility and oversight for the supervision of a jurisdictional section of the County, in addition to supervision of Assistant Public Defenders and Deputy Public Defenders in the smaller branch offices within these sections.

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. Supervise and directs the preparation, presentation and appeal of cases; maintains court calendars.
2. Supervises the daily operations of the office or branch and the administration of criminal cases.
3. Participates in hiring and disciplinary actions; trains and evaluates work performance of trial attorneys, recommends personnel actions.
4. Conducts caseload analysis; study calendar patterns and office efficiency; devises and implements techniques to improve operational effectiveness.
5. Provide assistance to and back-up to the Chief Assistant Public Defender in his/her absence, including assistance in the preparation of budgets.
6. Research, plan, recommend and implement policy and operational improvements at local level.
7. Coordinate and implement Department-wide, operational and policy-based improvements under direction of Chief Assistant Public Defender.
8. Serve as Skelley Hearing Officers in matters within the immediate jurisdiction of other Senior Assistant Public Defenders.
9. Represent the Department, at the direction of the Public Defender or Chief Assistant Public Defender, in County administrative proceedings and/or other matters.
10. Direct, oversee and evaluate performance of attorneys in Department’s three major jurisdictional sections, including those managing other branches, units, and divisions.

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

2. Valid California motor vehicle operator’s license.


Either I

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


The equivalent of six 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 two years 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.
• Legal principles and their application with an emphasis on criminal law.
• Scope and character of California statutory and constitutional law.
• Principles of training and supervision.
• Principles of public administration and personnel management.
• Rules of evidence and the conduct of court proceedings.
• Professional ethic in the practice of law.
• Legal source materials.

Ability to:

• Assist in the training and supervision of personnel in the Public Defender’s Office.
• Prepare difficult and complex legal matters.
• Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.
• Gather, analyze and apply legal data and evidence.
• Inspire confidence in clients and work effectively with colleagues and representatives of other agencies.
• Make decision.
• Demonstrate interpersonal sensitivity.
• Be flexible.
• Perform in a stressful environment.
• Analyze serious and complex legal problems and to apply legal principles and practices.
• Present arguments and statements of fact and law clearly and logically in written and oral form.
• Perform legal research.
• 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 Branch or satellite offices and/or divisions.
• Represent the department in disciplinary proceedings.
• Understand the principles of Court administration and organization.
• Supervise and/or conduct the evaluation of the performance of professional staff, including Assistant Public Defenders, Deputy Public Defenders and Associate Public Defenders.
• Represent the Public Defender’s office in meetings with other County Departments and agencies, outside agencies, and the County Board of Supervisors.

Jobspecs/Newspecs: 3127.doc
CH:cs – 1/27/10
CSC: 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

  • 12 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.

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