Human Resource Services
Alameda Skyline

Assistant Public Defender

Recruitment #23-3126-01


THIS IS A NEW ASSEMBLED EXAMINATION. The eligible list resulting from this examination will cancel any existing list and may last approximately one year, but can be extended. The application and supplemental questionnaire must be in the possession of the Human Resource Services Department by 5:00 p.m. on the Last Day for Filing. 

Supplemental Questionnaire: A properly completed Supplemental Questionnaire must be submitted with each application. Failure to submit the Application or Supplemental Questionnaire will result in disqualification.

Applications and Supplemental Questionnaires will only be accepted on-line.



The Alameda County Public Defender's Office provides the highest quality of indigent criminal defense by vigorously advocating for the rights of individuals facing criminal charges in adult and juvenile court. Our mission is to zealously protect and defend the rights of clients through compassionate and inspired legal representation of the highest quality, in pursuit of a fair and unbiased system of justice for all. The Alameda County Office is one of the oldest Public Defender offices in the nation, chartered in 1927 by Earl Warren who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Today, our team of more than 100 attorneys, 18 investigators and 40 support staff handle approximately 30,000 cases per year providing innovative, holistic defense services for Alameda County residents. In 2012, the office was named the "Best Law Firm" in the East Bay by the Alameda County Bar Association.

For additional info, please visit:


Assistant Public Defender is the unrestricted litigation and/or primary administrative class. Under general direction of the Public Defender, Chief Assistant Public Defender or Senior Assistant Public Defender, an Assistant Public Defender acts as a supervising attorney for other Assistant Public Defenders, and/or for Associate and Deputy Public Defenders, and may review and evaluate their work and performance as required; an Assistant Public Defender performs specialized legal tasks in connection with controversial and complex legal cases, does related legal work as required, and may conduct and supervise attorney training.

For additional information on the position, please visit: Assistant Public Defender (#3126)


In addition to meeting the minimum qualifications stated below, the ideal candidate will have demonstrated a track record of success in the following areas:

  • Demonstrated expertise and knowledge of the philosophy and practice of public defense, laws, ethics and polices of the Public Defender’s Office and scope and character of California Statutory and constitutional law;
  • Demonstrated expertise in the preparation and arguing of difficult and complex cases where the Death Penalty will be sought;
  • Dedicated team member that works cooperatively with others and strives to accomplish established work goals;
  • Outstanding organizational skills with the demonstrated ability to prioritize and manage multiple on-going cases for staff and self; 
  • Exceptional communication skills, with the ability to communicate with diverse individuals and proven experience in delivering legal arguments that are effective in both written and oral form;
  • Proven ability to defend complex felony cases including homicides during pre-trial and jury trial level, utilizing advanced litigation techniques; effectively make appropriate trial objections and motions; and knowledge in addressing difficult sentencing issues;
  • The ability to remain flexible, open, and positive while handling needs of clients and demands of the Court; and
  • A proven supervisory experience with the responsibility for training, guiding and evaluating the work of Assistant Public Defenders, Deputy Public Defenders and Associate Public Defenders.


1. Current active membership and good standing with the State Bar of California.

2. Valid California motor vehicle operator's license.

The equivalent of three years of full-time experience in the class of Deputy Public Defender in the Alameda County classified service. (Non-classified includes District Attorney's Office, Hospital Authority, and the Consolidated Courts.)

The equivalent of seven years of increasingly responsible experience as a trial attorney in the field of criminal law, with a caseload and duties comparable to attorneys working in a metropolitan public defender agency; the equivalent of at least one year in a supervisory or administrative capacity in a public defender office or law firm with similar cases and responsibilities.

NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


The most suitably qualified candidates will possess the following competencies:

Knowledge of:
  • Philosophy and practice of public defense in the United States.
  • Law, ethics, and policies governing the Public Defender's office.
  • Principles of training and supervision.
  • Legal principles and procedures followed in the processing of criminal cases.
  • Scope and character of California statutory and constitutional law.
  • Principles of public administration and personnel management.
  • Legal source materials.

  • Assist in the training and supervision of personnel in the Public Defender's Office.
  • Legal preparation in difficult and complex matters.
  • Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.
  • Gather, analyze and apply legal data and evidence.
  • Present legal arguments effectively in oral and written form.
  • Inspire confidence in clients and work effectively with colleagues and representatives of other agencies.
  • Decision making.
  • Interpersonal sensitivity.
  • Flexibility.
  • Performance in a stressful environment.
  • Defend felony cases at the pretrial and jury trial level, including advanced litigation techniques and preservation of the trial record by making timely and appropriate trial objections and motions, and demonstrated knowledge of and facility in addressing difficult sentencing issues.
  • Assist in the planning, organization, and supervision of the Public Defender's Office.
  • Represent the department in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Understand the problems of court administration and work with the courts so clients do not suffer through poor administration in represented cases.
  • Supervise and/or conduct the evaluation of the performance of professional staff, including Assistant Public Defenders, Deputy Public Defenders, and Associate Public Defenders.
  • Assume management of the Office of the Public Defender in emergency situations.
  • Represent the Public Defender's Department in meetings with other County departments and agencies, outside agencies, and the County Board of Supervisors.



1) A review of applicants' applications to verify possession of minimum requirements. Those candidates who possess the minimum requirements for the class will move on to the next step in the examination process.

2) A review of the supplemental questionnaire to determine best qualified. Those candidates considered the best qualified will move on to the next step in the examination process.

3) An oral interview which will be weighted as 100% of the candidate's final examination score. The oral interview may contain situational exercises.


We reserve the right to make changes to the announced examination components. 

Alameda County utilizes a Civil Service Selection System founded on merit. Such a system is competitive and based on broad recruitment efforts and equal opportunity for qualified applicants to test in an examination process designed to determine the qualifications, fitness and ability of competitors to perform duties of the vacant position. Many of our recruitments are targeted and specific to the needs of a current vacant position, in which case, the eligible list may be exclusively used for that current vacant position. Other recruitments may be more broadly used for both current and future vacancies, or for other alternate jobs with comparable scopes of work.

To learn more about our recruitment and selection process, please visit the “What You Need to Know” section of our website,

Selection Plan

Applicants will be informed via email with reasonable notice in advance of any examination process which will require their attendance. The following dates are tentative and subject to change based on the needs of the Agency.


Deadline for Filing:    

5:00 PM Friday, September 1, 2023

Review of Minimum Qualifications:

Monday, September 18, 2023

Screening for Best Qualified:    

Week of October 2, 2023

Oral Examination:

Week of October 23, 2023

Departmental Hiring Interviews:


**updated 9/28/23, TG


Alameda County and the Human Resource Services Department will make reasonable efforts in the examination and/or selection process to accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions in accordance/compliance with the State Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Alameda County’s Reasonable Accommodation Policy and applicable statutes. To request an accommodation due to a disability/medical condition during this or other phases of the examination/selection process, please contact the assigned Human Resources Representative listed on the job announcement before the last date of filing. Alameda County requires applicants to provide supporting documentation to substantiate a request for reasonable accommodation. In order to qualify for a reasonable accommodation, applicants must have a disability/medical condition pursuant to the ADA, FEHA and applicable statutes. 

For more information regarding our Reasonable Accommodation procedures, please visit our website:


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Management Paid Leave**
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.

** Non-exempt management employees are entitled to up to three days of management paid leave. Exempt management employees are entitled to up to seven days of management paid leave.


All notices related to County recruitments for which you have applied will be sent/delivered via email.  Please add,, and as accepted addresses to any email blocking or spam filtering program you may use. If you do not do this, your email blocking or spam filtering program may block receipt of the notices regarding your application for recruitments. You are also strongly advised to regularly log into your County of Alameda online application account to check for notices that may have been sent to you. All email notices that will be sent to you will also be kept in your personal online application account. You will be able to view all of your notices in your online application account by clicking on the 'My applications' button on the Current Job Openings page.

Please take the steps recommended above to ensure you do not miss any notices about a recruitment for which you have applied. The County of Alameda is not responsible for notices that are not read, received or accessed by any applicant for a County recruitment.

NOTE: All notices are generated through an automated email notification system. Replies to the email box and are routed to an unmonitored mailbox. If you have questions please go to our website at You may also contact the Human Resources Analyst listed on the bulletin for the recruitment for which you have applied.

Tracy Gonzalez, Human Resources Analyst
Human Resource Services, County of Alameda
510-272-5085; Email:

Disaster Service Worker

All Alameda County employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law.  Employment with the County requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect.  Employees are required to report to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.

Equal Employment Opportunity 

Alameda County has a diverse workforce, that is representative of the communities we serve, and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All aspects of employment are based on merit, competence, performance and business need. Alameda County does not discriminate in employment on the basis of, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors protected under federal, state and local law. Alameda County celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive, and welcoming workplace environment.