The Office of the Public Defender retains private attorneys to handle cases when a conflict of interest arises. These attorneys are selected by the local District and Division Public Defenders. The Office of the Public Defender utilizes Panel Attorneys who are experienced trial attorneys who can represent persons in cases independently.

When a conflict arises the District Public Defender (DPD) or Division Chief (DC) selects an attorney from the Panel list and refers the case to that attorney. The Panel Attorney may accept or reject the case.  Once a Panel Attorney accepts a case, the case file along with the necessary paperwork will be forwarded to the attorney. The client is contacted and a meeting between the Panel Attorney and the client is arranged.


After a matter is concluded ,the DPD or DC verifies the accuracy of the work done on the case and Office of the Public Defender Senior Administration reviews the documents prior to final approval for payment.

An Attorney wishing to serve as an OPD Panel Attorney must fill out an application (below).  If accepted to a panel list, the attorney is required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that describes billing requirements and procedures. 


OPD currently pays the following rates:

  • $50/hour for most cases

  • $75/hour for cases in which a life sentence is a possible penalty.  This includes appellate and post conviction cases.


BECOME A panel attorney



Completed applications should be submitted to



for current panel attorneys