Employment Opportunities

The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office offers a variety of opportunities for both established professionals and law students seeking to enter the fast-paced and rewarding field of criminal defense practice.

Our trial attorneys handle cases spanning the breadth of the criminal law. Interns and law clerks get plenty of courtroom experience. Training for all staff is highly emphasized and developed. Our resources include a full-time investigations unit staffed by professional investigators, computer networking at every desk, with access to the latest legal research and Internet tools, and a highly qualified clerical and support staff.

The Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office also has many specialized units, which offer our trial lawyers and clients the support of highly experienced and skilled staff who are able to provide immediate assistance. As a result, the Public Defender provides not only outstanding trial court representation, but is also at the forefront of cutting-edge appellate litigation in criminal law and some of the leading authority on issues such as prosecutorial discovery, conflicts of interest, and speedy trial rights.

Currently, the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office employs 1,118 employees in a variety of professional, legal support, and administrative capacities. Over 700 attorneys (Deputy Public Defender I – IV) and 38 managing attorneys carry out the Public Defender’s mission of providing a high-quality legal defense to indigent clients, including adult and juvenile felony and misdemeanor representation, mental health representation, information technology, and administration. The Public Defender employs approximately 360 key support staff, such as paralegals, investigators, psychiatric social workers, secretarial/clerical staff, and, administrative and information technology staff.

The attorney’s role is identical to that of a privately retained attorney. Attorneys are all members of the State Bar and are governed by the same regulations and ethical obligations which pertain to a privately retained attorney.

The attorneys employed by the Public Defender’s Office are full-time employees who by law cannot maintain private legal practices in addition to their employment by the county government. Our attorneys’ experience levels range from having been newly admitted to the State Bar, to those with over 35 years of specialized criminal law practice. Cases are assigned to attorneys in accordance with their experience and expertise in specialized areas of the law. Thus, complex and serious cases are assigned only to those attorneys with considerable experience, and Capital cases (those in which the State might seek the death penalty) are assigned only to our most senior trial attorneys.

All of the Public Defender’s classified positions are subject to an applicant’s participation in a Civil Service examination process. By clicking this link: http://hr.lacounty.gov you may view the official job bulletins for each of these positions, which contain pertinent information such as:

How to apply
Filing Dates
Salary Information
Essential Job Functions
Minimum or Selection Requirements
Examination Information

You may view the entire list of job bulletins for which all Los Angeles County Departments are accepting applications by visiting the Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources homepage at http://hr.lacounty.gov.

Law Clerk Program

Click here for bulletin

Application Materials: (1) Resume & (2) Cover Letter. Qualified candidates will be contacted for interviews. Please submit all materials to:

Jean Burke
Law Clerk Coordinator
(213) 893-6997
jburke@pubdef.lacounty.gov

Volunteer Internship

Click here for Application

Volunteer Interns assist the office in many ways, such as collecting information from clients, organizing files, assisting with technology, and numerous other tasks. The program enables the Volunteer to become exposed to the inner-workings of the largest Public Defender’s Office in the country. Volunteers must complete the Volunteer Application and submit it to HR at volunteer@pubdef.lacounty.gov. The Volunteer must be interviewed and complete and clear live-scan prior to beginning the Volunteer assignment. All Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.