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Assistant Public Defender

Youthful Defendant Division, Baltimore City

Recruitment #24-005799-0011


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) seeks an experienced client-centered litigator to serve as an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City’s (District I) Youthful Defendant Unit. The attorney should have the skills and desire to provide holistic and comprehensive representation within a highly specialized division for young people charged with serious offenses in Baltimore City, Maryland. MOPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply. 

MOPD’s Baltimore City office is a large urban public defender’s office with 200+ employees providing client-centered representation to juveniles and adults charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Baltimore City.  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, tenacious advocacy, and are united as a team in achieving the MOPD’s mission.




Baltimore City, Maryland

Main Purpose of Job

The Baltimore City Defenders utilizes a vertical representation model to represent clients throughout the life of their case. This includes pretrial motions to transfer cases to juvenile court and all post-disposition representation. The position requires exceptional trial skills, innovative thinking, investigative skills, and the ability to work independently in managing an active caseload. Representation includes utilizing experts and social workers in a team-oriented environment. Attorneys in the Youthful Defendant Unit (YDU) will have the skills necessary to litigate a case in juvenile and adult court. The projected start date for this position is flexible but candidates must be able to start no later than June 2024. This position will be located in Baltimore City, Maryland.


Duties and responsibilities

  • Tenacious representation of young people at arraignment, transfer hearings, trials, sentencing hearings, and adjudications.
  • Works as part of a holistic representation team, including social workers, core staff, and medical and forensic experts.
  • Ensures clients are consistently heard and respected. 
  • Prepares for litigation through review of legal documents and case information, analysis of evidence, witness interviews, and preparation of witnesses for litigation.
  • Conducts legal research and analysis including changes in laws, legislation, procedural rules, court decisions, and case precedents in preparation for trial and to determine/ anticipate legal problems and propose resolutions.
  • Drafts and prepares reports, memoranda in opposition, briefs, legal documents, motions, and client correspondence.
  • Effectively, proactively, and compassionately communicate with clients, family members, team members, colleagues, community resources, and service providers to ensure optimal outcomes and resolve challenges openly, constructively, and professionally.
  • Counsels and advises clients on changes in law, court decisions, and legal issues.
  • Negotiates with prosecutors and other parties to establish agreements to resolve cases favorably for the client.
  • Provides post-representation follow-up with the client regarding matters such as client release, and other appropriate collateral issues.
  • Competently, independently, and resourcefully manage a full caseload.
  • Continuously seek professional and personal development through training, CLEs, and trial skills courses.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Public Defender. 


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.



Core competencies and requirements:

  • Demonstrated commitment to tenacious and comprehensive defense practice, including the ability to represent clients in juvenile, criminal, and administrative hearings.
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Knowledge, training, and experience related to adolescent development, neuroscience, education, mental health treatment, and best practices for youth rehabilitation.
  • Clear dedication to upending systemic racism, prejudice, and unfairness in the criminal justice system.
  • Compassion.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and lived experiences. Proven expertise in communicating with children and adolescents is preferred.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.
  • Experience with the use of experts to include preparation for all stages of a transfer case.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.
  • Criminal trial and/or experience representing young people preferred. 
  • Active membership in good standing with the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state by the start date. Attorneys barred in another state must become members of the Maryland Bar within 18 months of their start date.  


Salary and benefits:

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-$126,912.00 (Grade 21, Step 8-24)

Assistant Public Defender III- $103,514.00-$135,450.00 (Grade 22, Step 10-24)

Please visit the State of Maryland Employee’s page to review benefit information.


How to apply:

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 Resume Tab on the Maryland State Government Job Openings Page: (1) a current resume, (2) a cover letter, (3) a list of four profession references, and (4) writing sample no longer than 15 pages. 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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