Maryland Office of the Public Defender: Justice, Fairness and Dignity For All 

For questions regarding volunteer opportunities with OPD please contact the Recruitment Division.

Attorney Positions with OPD

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) recruits both entry-level and experienced trial attorneys.  For trial attorney positions newly admitted attorneys or attorneys with one to two years of experience start with OPD handling primarily District Court caseloads.  Attorneys in these positions start with OPD twice a year in classes (Fall and Spring).  During the application process you have the opportunity to let us know the offices you are interested in and which offices you are not.  Offers are typically made for a specific jurisdiction or a group of jurisdictions.  

We recruit separately for attorney positions with our specialized divisions (e.g. Post Conviction Defenders, Appellate, Juvenile), for experienced trial attorney positions, and for supervisory positions.   Please scroll down for more information regarding current recruitments for specialized divisions.


3L Recruitment: OPD recruits law students for post-graduate attorney positions in the Fall of their 3L year.  Selected candidates join OPD as trial attorneys in the January following their graduation.  Offers are extended in the winter and are conditioned upon membership in the Maryland Bar prior to the start date.  Selected attorneys will attend training with the other members of the Spring Class.

Fall Class: OPD recruits for the Fall Class in two waves.  We begin accepting applications in September with a limited amount of offers extended in the winter.  We begin accepting applications again in March with offers being extended in the summer.  Candidates must be members of a bar one month prior to the start date (end of August, or early September), but need not be a member of the bar at the time of application.  Accordingly, most current 3L students are not eligible.  

Spring Class: OPD begins accepting applications for the Spring Class in September.  Offers are extended in the winter.  Candidates must be members of the bar one month prior to the start date (end of February, or early March), but need not be a member of the bar at the time of application.

What we are looking for in members of our classes:  An Assistant Public Defender combines his/her demonstrated dedication to the representation of indigent clients with his/her strong and zealous litigation skills to provide exceptional representation on behalf of all his/her clients. The attorneys in these positions are expected to work independently in managing active caseloads while simultaneously working in team-oriented environments focused on a client-centered approach to representation. 

  • Demonstrated commitment to zealous and comprehensive public defense.
  • Exposure to the proceedings and pace of the District Court (litigation experience or judicial clerkship helpful).
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment. 
  • Ability to work independently and effectively manage an active caseload.
  • Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state one month prior to start date. Individuals who are members of the Bar of another State must be admitted to the Maryland Bar within 18 months of start date. OPD will also consider applicants for these position who are awaiting bar 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.


There are no posted positions with one of our specialized divisions at this time. 

Assistant Public Defenders are full time employees who serve at the pleasure of the Public Defender.  Criminal Procedure Article, Section 16-203(d).  Assistant Public Defender cannot simultaneously engage in the private practice of law.  The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is an equal opportunity employer.