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.

TRIAL ATTORNEY RECRUITMENT

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.

RECRUITMENTS FOR OUR SPECIALIZED DIVISIONS 

Assistant Public Defender: Mental Health Litigation Support Attorney: The Maryland Office of the Public Defender seeks a zealous, client-centered attorney to serve as a Mental Health Litigation Support Attorney.  The Litigation Support Group of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) is a state-wide specialized division that provides support services and training to OPD and panel attorneys in the areas of mental health, forensic services, social work, continuing legal education, investigations and related ancillary services that are necessary for an effective defense.  An Assistant Public Defender serving as a Mental Health Support Litigation Attorney assists criminal defense attorneys, Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) attorneys, and Juvenile Defenders with the development of legal strategies as well as the identification of appropriate clinical experts in the areas of mental and behavioral health issues including competency, criminal responsibility, voluntariness, treatment, and mitigation.  The projected start date for this position is in the early fall of 2016.  The position will be located at 6 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Maryland.  Click here to learn more about this opportunity.    

      • If you wish to be considered for this position please submit a: (1) current resume, (2) cover letter addressing the above qualifications, (3) list of references, (4) completed Applicant Essay, and (5) law school transcript (unofficial or official).  Cover letters should be addressed to:  Johanna Cohen Leshner, Director of Recruitment, 6 St. Paul Street, 14th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.  Please email all items in one email to attorneyjobs@opd.state.md.us.  In the subject line of the email please indicate “APD: Mental Health Litigation Support Attorney.”  Incomplete applications will not be considered. CLOSING DATE: JUNE 26, 2016.

Assistant Public Defender: Mental Health Division (Western Maryland): The Maryland Office of the Public Defender seeks a dedicated and zealous litigator to serve as an Assistant Public Defender in the Mental Health Division (MHD) in Western Maryland (Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Garrett, and Allegany counties).  MHD protects and advances the rights of indigent persons with mental illness in civil involuntary commitment proceedings.  An Assistant Public Defender in the MHD combines demonstrated dedication to the representation of indigent clients with strong leadership and litigation skills to ensure the highest standard of representation on behalf of all MHD clients.  Representation of MHD clients includes: representation at involuntary commitment and release hearings before administrative law judges; appeals of administrative decisions; and representation at release hearings before judges and juries across the state.  The attorney in this position will likely have an office located in Cumberland, Maryland but will be advocating primarily in Carroll, Frederick, Washington and Allegany Counties (with possible emergency coverage in other counties).  Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

      • If you wish to be considered for this position please submit a: (1) current resume, (2) cover letter addressing the above qualifications, (3) list of references, (4) completed Applicant Essay, and (5) if out of law school less than 3 years, law school transcript.  Cover letters should be addressed to Johanna Cohen Leshner, Director of Recruitment, 6 St. Paul Street, 14th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.  Items (1) – (5) outlined above must be submitted electronically in one email to attorneyjobs@opd.state.md.us.  In the subject line of the email please indicate “APDI, MHD Western Maryland.”  Incomplete applications will not be considered.  CLOSING DATE: JUNE 26, 2016.

               

        

 

 

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.