Attorney (Civil/Criminal)

Managing Attorney, Research Unit

Recruitment #PEX-8177-107642


In line with the Official Public Health Order to slow the spread of COVID-19, “shelter-in-place” has been issued for all San Francisco residents that is expected to be in effect until further notice.  As a result, Department of Human Resources (DHR)’s office (located at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103) is currently closed to the general public. If you have any questions, please feel free to email the Human Resources Analyst listed on this announcement.

Appointment Type: Permanent-Exempt (PEX) Appointment.  Pursuant to the City & County of San Francisco Charter, Section 10.104.13. Any person occupying a position under exempt appointment shall not be subject to civil service selection, appointment and removal procedures. Exempt employees shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer.  

The Public Defender’s office provides legal representation to persons charged with a crime in San Francisco who do not have the financial means to retain their own counsel. Each year, the office serves approximately 20,000 people. The San Francisco Public Defender’s office is a nationally recognized model of public defense. The Public Defender provides legal staffing for each of the misdemeanor and felony preliminary hearing and trial courts, the mental health and juvenile divisions, the Community Justice Center, Domestic Violence Court, Behavioral Health Court, Veterans’ Justice Court, Drug Court, Intensive Supervision court, Parole Court, Young Adult Court, and Extradition.  

Position Description:

Deputy Public Defenders provide legal representation for indigent defendants charged with criminal offenses in the San Francisco Superior Court. The qualified candidate must have the ability to argue legal positions successfully and persuasively, master subject matter and prepare cases thoroughly. The qualified applicant should have the ability to communicate effectively as well as the ability to multi-task, prioritize assignments and remain organized. The position also requires: excellent writing skills; experience/knowledge of criminal law and procedure; and computer proficiency. Requires ability to: plan, organize and conduct court hearings and jury trials; interpret and apply legal principles and precedents to a wide variety of fact situations and make sound decisions and judgments; prepare written statements of law, fact and argument clearly and logically; issue decisions within legally mandated deadlines; compile monthly workload statistics; and establish and maintain effective communication with all clients, staff and the public.

The current vacancy is a Managing Attorney in the Research Unit.  Additional duties include but are not limited to: responds to inquiries from trial attorneys and other staff on legal research and trial strategy questions; responds to requests from felony trial attorneys for written motions, legal memos and appellate writs; advise and defend on contempt and sanctions; advise and assist with public record requests; reviews and assigns projects (motions, writ petitions, legal memos) for a permanent and rotating trial attorneys; procures online research access (Westlaw, CEB) and publication (penal and evidence codes for attorneys);  provides advice on conflicts and ethics issues; informs staff of case law updates and new legislation;  provides presentations on new case law seminars and on various legal topics (search, discovery, sentencing); manages a team of research attorneys;  and assists in the training of new attorneys (appeals, legal writing, motions, felony sentencing, and PX law).

Please note that attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office may be reassigned to different units as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

These minimum qualifications establish the education, training, experience, special skills and/or license(s) which are required for employment in the classification. Please note, additional qualifications (i.e., special conditions) may apply to a particular position and will be stated on the exam/job announcement.

License and Certification:
Active membership in good standing with the State Bar of California.


The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify job finalists at the end of the selection process when candidates are referred for hiring.

  • Previous experience working or interning in a public defender's office
  • Previous felony jury trial experience, as lead counsel
  • Previous experience litigating writs and appeals
  • Strong legal research, and writing skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills with the ability to influence and build trusting relationships
  • High emotional intelligence and exceptional leadership competencies
  • Highly organized, analytical, collaborative, and responsive professional
  • Exceptional work ethic, professional transparency, interpersonal skills, and sound customer service acumen 
  • Proven ability to work with all levels of management as a tactical and strategic partner, coach, and advisor
  • Excellent consulting, collaboration, organizational, and change management skills
  • Creative legal thinker with the ability to plan long term office strategy and to give practical strategic legal advice  


Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point in the application, hiring, and/or departmental selection process.  Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Applicants must meet the minimum qualification requirement by the final filing date unless otherwise noted.  

How To Apply

Interested individuals must complete and submit the following:

  1. An online Application form; AND
  2. A resume and cover letter (must be uploaded to the application form at the time of filing); AND
  3. A list of four professional references (supervisors and a colleague) with names, organization, titles, email address and phone numbers (must be uploaded to the application form at the time of filing); AND
  4. A legal motion writing sample not exceeding 10 pages (must be uploaded to the application form at the time of filing).

Applicants are required to submit all the documents listed above by the filing deadline.  All required documents should be attached to the online application.  Please use the “Upload Resume” link to attach all the documents to your application. If you are having issues with uploading, please check your browser.  If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact us via email at PUBDEF.HR@SFGOV.ORG

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs are only accepted through an online process. Visit to register an account (if you have not already done so) and begin the application process.

  • Select the desired job announcement
  • Select “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information
  • Select either “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or “I have Registered Previously”
  • Follow instructions on the screen

Computers are available for the public (from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Dept. of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date.  Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter.  To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses (,,,,,,,,,,,,

Applicants will receive a confirmation email that their online application has been received in response to every announcement for which they file.  Applicants should retain this confirmation email for their records.  Failure to receive this email means that the online application was not submitted or received.

All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline.  Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

Applications completed improperly may be cause for ineligibility, disqualification or may lead to lower scores.

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact us via email at PUBDEF.HR@SFGOV.ORG

Selection Plan

Applications will be screened for relevant qualifying experience.  Additional screening mechanisms may be implemented in order to determine candidates’ qualifications.  Only those applicants who most closely meet the needs of the department will be invited to participate in the selection process.  APPLICANTS MEETING THE MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS ARE NOT GUARANTEED ADVANCEMENT TO THE SELECTION PROCESS.

Conviction History

As a selected candidate for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a selected candidate. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Candidates for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.
  • Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are a selected candidate, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures: Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at or hard copy at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor.  

Information About the Hiring Process:

Copies of Application Documents: Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned.  

Right to Work: All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States.  

Terms of Announcement: Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations.  Clerical errors may be corrected by the posting the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at 

Requests: Applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for this job announcement can find information on requesting a reasonable ADA Accommodation at:

Clerical Errors: May be corrected by the posting of the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at:

Ensure your application and any attachments to the application submitted at the time of filing are complete and accurate and include details on all experience, education, training and other information that qualifies you for this recruitment.  Failure to submit a complete and accurate application at the time of filing may result in your ineligibility for this recruitment. Any new information concerning work experience, education, training and other information that is submitted after the filing deadline may not be considered to determine whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: At the City and County of San Francisco, we share a commitment to a diverse, inclusive and equitable community. Each member of our organization is responsible and accountable for what they say and do to make San Francisco an inclusive and equitable place to live and work by employing fair and just practices to and for all.



Issued: 10/08/2020

Carol Isen -  Acting Human Resources Director

Department of Human Resources

Recruitment ID Number: 107642

PDR/ ACL / 415.734.3321


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.


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