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 on the links on the right, you may view the official job bulletins for each of these positions, which contain pertinent information such as:
How to apply
Essential Job Functions
Minimum or Selection Requirements
If you are interested in applying for any of these positions, you must complete a standard Los Angeles County employment application. The application is available online and may be downloaded by clicking here.
You may also 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.
NOTE – The County employment application is a portable document format (PDF) file. To view the employment application, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. Acrobat Reader is available free from Adobe’s Website. To download the software, click on Adobe Acrobat Reader above and follow the instructions provided.