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Recruitment #19-005430-0012


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) seeks zealous, dedicated, and client-centered litigators for its Spring Class to serve as Assistant Public Defenders in District Court locations throughout the State of Maryland. The Agency’s vision is for Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All.  Employees are committed to the core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, tenacious advocacy, and are united as a team in achieving the Agency’s mission.



Main Purpose of Job

An Assistant Public Defender combines their demonstrated commitment with their strong and zealous litigation skills to provide exceptional representation on behalf of their clients. Candidates with limited/moderate amount of criminal trial experience interested in joining OPD to do criminal trial work are invited to apply to our Spring Class. Selected candidates begin their time at OPD by participating in an intensive two-week Gideon's Promise training program. For the first three years at OPD, our attorneys come back together every 6 months with members of their class for more training and team-building. Successful candidates for these positions will begin their employment with OPD in March, 2020.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

•Zealous representation of indigent clients charged with criminal and traffic matters.

•Ability to competently and resourcefully prepare for and manage an active District Court caseload; including, but not limited to, the handling of bail review hearings, District Court trials, preliminary hearings, violation of probation hearings, and modification of sentence hearings.

•Actively communicate with clients, team members, and resources for optimal client outcomes.

•Continuously seek professional development through trainings, continuing legal education, and trial skills courses.


Training and Qualifications

Demonstrated commitment to zealous advocacy, public defense, and social justice.


•Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.

•Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.

•Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

•Exposure to the proceedings and pace of the District Court (litigation experience or judicial clerkship helpful).

•Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state by January, 2020.*


Education: Possession of a Juris Doctorate or equivalent degree from an accredited school of law. 

Experience: Experience as a practicing attorney. 


1. An Assistant Public Defender must be a member of the Maryland Bar at the time of appointment. 

2. The above requirements are set by the Office of the Public Defender in accordance with Criminal Procedure Article, Section 16-203 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. 

3. Candidates may substitute U.S. Armed Forces military service experience as a commissioned officer in judge advocate general classification or judge advocate general specialty codes in the general attorney field of work on a year-for-year basis for the required experience and education.



To be considered for these positions please click here to fill out the application and please submit the following items in one email to (1) current resume, (2) cover letter, (3) a list of three references, and (4) an unofficial/official law school transcript. In the subject line of the email please indicate “Assistant Public Defender: 2019.” In the body of your email indicate which class/classes you wish to be considered for. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Closing Date: November 1, 2019


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourage people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.  Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees who serve at the pleasure of the Public Defender. Criminal Procedure Art. Section 16-203(d). Assistant Public Defenders cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position. 

* Individuals who are or who will become members of the Bar of another State must be admitted to the Maryland Bar within 18 months of their start date.  OPD will also consider applicants for this position who sat for the July 2019 Bar Examination and are currently awaiting results.  Should those applicants not successfully become members of the Bar at the time hiring decisions are made, they will no longer be considered qualified for this position.