Assistant Public Defender
Mental Health Division
|Office of the Public Defender
|11/22/2023 11:59:00 PM
|$84,225.00 - $135,450.00/year
|Marie Figueroa Ocasio
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) seeks a dedicated and zealous litigator to serve as an Assistant Public Defender in the Mental Health Division (MHD). OPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.
The Mental Health Division protects and advances the rights of indigent persons with mental illness in civil involuntary commitment proceedings. MHD represents criminal defendants committed to state hospitals pursuant to a finding of not criminally responsible (NCR) at subsequent release hearings. MHD also represents clients before administrative law judges, and in bench trials, jury trials, and appellate hearings throughout the state. OPD strives to achieve Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. Our employees are committed to the core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, tenacious advocacy, and are united as a team in achieving the OPD’s mission. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Main Purpose of Job
The involuntary civil commitment of an indigent client to a psychiatric hospital is a severe curtailment of liberty that cannot be accomplished without due process of law. 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. An attorney in this position is expected to work independently in managing an active MHD caseload while simultaneously working in a team-oriented environment focused on a client-centered approach to litigation. 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 have an office located in Towson, Maryland but will be providing representation across the State of Maryland. We will consider candidates at all experience levels for this position.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
- Zealous representation of MHD clients at every stage of the process.
- Ability to prepare for and manage an active, fast-paced caseload of administrative, appellate and district and circuit court hearings competently, independently, and resourcefully.\
- Ability to communicate effectively with clients suffering from major psychiatric illnesses, family members, team members, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, social workers, community resources, and service providers to ensure optimal outcomes and resolve challenges in an open, constructive, and professional manner.
- Continuously seek professional development through training, continuing legal education, and advocacy courses.
- Other duties as assigned by the State Public Defender.
Training and Qualifications
- Demonstrated commitment to zealous and comprehensive advocacy to protect and advance the rights of individuals with mental illness.
- Strong advocacy skills (prior litigation experience -including jury trial experience-strongly preferred).
- Strong issue-spotting, research, and writing skills.
- Exposure to mental health issues in civil or criminal cases (knowledge of DSMV preferred).
- Ability to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds and lived experiences.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
- Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.
- Active membership in good standing with the State of Maryland Bar or Bar of another state. Attorneys barred in another state must become a member of the Maryland bar within 18 months of the start date.
Assistant Public Defender I
Assistant Public Defender II
Assistant Public Defender III
Public Defender I- $84,225.00-$107,833.00 (Grade 20: Step 6-Step 19)
Public Defender II-$93,424.00-$115,048.00 (Grade 21: Step 8-Step 19)
Public Defender III- $103,514.00-$122,774.00 (Grade 22: Step 10-Step 19)
you wish to be considered, please click below to fill out the application and
submit the following items in one PDF
attachment through the Maryland State Government Job Openings Page Resume
Tab: (1) current resume, (2) cover letter, (3) list of four professional
references, (4) writing sample, and (5) transcript (if graduated from law
school within the past 3 years). Incomplete applications will not be
Defenders are full-time employees and cannot engage in the private practice of
law while in this position. MD Code, Criminal Procedure Art., Section
As a State agency, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. MOPD is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.
All applicants must be able to communicate with clients and visitors and possess the ability to complete tasks in a fast-paced work environment. Applicants must be able to work in various positions and travel to various courtrooms and office environments throughout the state. MOPD is further committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities by modifying or adjusting the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee be considered for the position they desire; to perform the essential functions of the position in question; or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.
Applicants must be able to operate a computer and other office equipment. Applicants must have access to a motor vehicle or be able to navigate public transportation. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Tawanda Jackson, Human Resources Supervisor, at 410-767-8503 or email@example.com.
Click on a link below to apply for this position:
|Fill out the Supplemental Questionnaire and Application NOW using the Internet.
|View and print the Supplemental Questionnaire.
|This recruitment requires completion of a supplemental questionnaire. You may view and print the supplemental questionnaire here.
|Apply via Paper Application.
|You may also download and complete the Paper Application here.