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Baltimore City (District I)

Recruitment #24-005431-0003


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) seeks a dedicated and zealous litigator to serve as an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City (District I) to assist in Mental Health Court (MHC). The Assistant Public Defender will be responsible for protecting and advocating for the rights of indigent individuals with mental illness who have been criminally charged and agree to a mental health court probation, as well as those clients for whom the issues of competency to stand trial and/or not criminally responsible are raised. MOPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.


The Baltimore City office is a large urban Public Defenders office with 200+ employees providing client-centered representation. MOPD strives to achieve Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. Our employees are committed to the core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, and tenacious advocacy, and are united as a team in achieving the MOPD’s mission. We stand up against prejudice, systemic racism, and inequity in all of the spaces we occupy. MOPD seeks candidates who will join us in providing compassionate, competent, zealous, and client-centered representation to all of our clients. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.




Baltimore City

Main Purpose of Job

The criminal commitment of an indigent client to mental health treatment is a curtailment of liberty that cannot be accomplished without due process of law and necessitates clear advising by counsel. The attorney in this position demonstrates dedication to the representation of indigent clients through compassion, active listening, strong leadership, and litigation skills to ensure the highest standard of representation on behalf of all mental health (MH) clients. Representation of MH clients includes counseling them prior to and upon entering a plea into MHC, as well as while they are on supervised probation or pre-trial release in MHC; competency to stand trial hearings; and not criminally responsible hearings. An attorney in this position is expected to work independently in managing an active MH caseload, prioritizing their role as an advocate for the MH client while working in the team-oriented environment of MHC. The attorney in this position will have an office located in Baltimore City, Maryland but will be required to travel throughout the city of Baltimore as well.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Zealous representation of MH clients at every stage of the process.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with clients suffering from major psychiatric illnesses, family members, team members, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, social workers, community resources, and service providers to ensure optimal outcomes and resolve challenges in an open, constructive, and professional manner.
  • Ability to prepare for and manage an active fast-paced caseload independently, and resourcefully.
  • Conducts legal research and analysis including changes in laws, legislation, procedural rules, court decisions, and case precedents in preparation for hearings and to determine/anticipate legal problems and propose resolutions.
  • Continuously seek professional development through training, continuing legal education, and advocacy courses.
  • Other duties as assigned by the State Public Defender.


Training and Qualifications

  • Demonstrated commitment to zealous and comprehensive advocacy to protect and advance the rights of individuals with mental illness.
  • Strong advocacy skills (prior litigation experience preferred).
  • Strong issue-spotting, research, and writing skills.
  • Exposure to mental health issues in civil or criminal cases (knowledge of DSMV preferred).
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds and lived experiences.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.
  • Active membership in good standing with the State of Maryland Bar or Bar of another state. Attorneys barred in another state must become a member of the Maryland Bar within 18 months of their start date.


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 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 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.


Salary is dependent on experience and salary rules will apply to State of Maryland employees. This would be a lateral transfer for any internal candidates applying.


Assistant Public Defender II-$93,424.00-$115,048.00 (Grade 21: Step 8-Step 19)


Please click here to review the benefit information.


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) current resume, (2) cover letter, (3) list of four professional references, and (4) 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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