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Forensic Mental Health Division

Recruitment #23-005357-0012


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) seeks an experienced, zealous, client-centered attorney to serve as a Supervising Assistant Public Defender in the Forensic Mental Health Division (FMHD). OPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.


The mission of the Forensic Mental Division is to identify standards and promote best practices necessary to provide superior legal representation of clients with complex mental health needs. OPD’s vision is for Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. Our 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 OPD’s mission. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.




6 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202

Main Purpose of Job

The Supervising Attorney for the Forensic Mental Health Division works directly with Assistant Public Defenders and panel attorneys throughout the state and in all divisions to provide specialized litigation support for the representation of clients with complex mental health issues. The FMHD Supervisor assists in clarifying relevant case strategies, developing contextual legal frameworks, and identifying appropriate psychologists, psychiatrists, or other mental/behavioral health experts to assist in the process. The FMHD Supervisor role includes advising and providing training to attorneys, directing litigation participation, developing institutional models for practice, and participating in relevant policy development. The position will be located at 6 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Maryland.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Ensure accountability, resourcefulness, and excellence through regular observation and evaluation of FMHD staff.
  • Assume a leadership role in developing and implementing internal policies and practices relevant to the representation of clients with mental health needs.
  • Handle administrative matters including but not limited to managing outside contractors and conflict case matters.
  • Support OPD and panel attorneys related to all aspects of forensic mental health evidence and expert testimony, including reviewing mental health records, identifying trial strategies and defenses, and identifying expert consultation needs.
  • Identify and retain behavioral health consultant experts necessary to provide individualized representation.
  • Directly participate in litigation as needed.
  • Collaborate with the Government Relations team to monitor legislative efforts impacting OPD clients with mental health needs.
  • Participate as an OPD representative in relevant agency, local, and state committees and organizational activities.
  • Identify, develop, and conduct informal or formal training at the district/division level and for the public, outside agencies, or other interested entities, as requested.
  • In collaboration with the Training Division, develop and conduct formal training programs to enhance the representation of clients with complex health needs.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Public Defender and the State Deputy Public Defender.


 Training and Qualifications

  • Demonstrated commitment to zealous, client-centered representation of clients.
  • Demonstrated leadership, mentorship, supervisory, and management abilities.
  • Exceptional communication, research, and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to effectively communicate legal concepts and their practical impact to a variety of audiences.
  • Criminal or parental defense litigation experience (5 years preferred) with experience utilizing forensic mental health experts.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, adversaries, and others irrespective of differences in backgrounds and lived experiences.
  • Specialized training, education, or experience in the areas of psychology or psychiatry, civil commitment litigation, or other behavioral health-related occupations.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with OPD clients, attorneys, consulting experts, and others to ensure coordination of efforts to achieve effective mental health litigation support.
  • Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or the Bar of another State. 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 with OPD. 


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

Experience: Experience as a practicing Attorney.


1. Candidates shall be an Attorney and admitted to practice law in the State by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, at 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 general attorney classification or general attorney specialty codes in the legal and kindred group field of work on a year-for-year basis for the required experience and education.   


If you wish to be considered, please click below to fill out the application and submit the following items in one PDF attachment through the Maryland State Government Job Openings Page Resume Tab: (1) a current resume, (2) a cover letter addressing the above qualifications, (3) a list of four professional references, and (4) a writing sample. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees and cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position. MD Code, Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d)(2).


As a State agency, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. MOPD is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.


All applicants must be able to communicate with clients and visitors and possess the ability to complete tasks in a fast-paced work environment. Applicants must be able to work in various positions and travel to various courtrooms and office environments throughout the state. MOPD is further committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities by modifying or adjusting the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee be considered for the position they desire; to perform the essential functions of the position in question; or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.


Applicants must be able to operate a computer and other office equipment. Applicants must have access to a motor vehicle or be able to navigate public transportation. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Tawanda Jackson, Human Resources Supervisor, at 410-767-8503 or


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