Working for the Alameda County Public Defender's Office
The Public Defender’s practice consists predominantly of litigation and defense of adults and juveniles charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to capital murders. The Office also defends individuals subject to involuntary psychiatric commitments and conservatorships. All Public Defender attorneys rotate through the various assignments available in the office.
The Public Defender employs roughly 110 trial attorneys across our six branch offices in Alameda County.
The Alameda County Public Defender's Office is one of the oldest public defense offices in the United States. Our reputation for exceptional legal representation to indigent clients is due to its historically rigorous professional and ethical standards. The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity.
Alameda County is a large, geographically diverse area with a growing population of nearly 1.7 million. The patterns of crime and the community responses to criminal justice issues vary dramatically within the county, which makes Alameda County a fascinating and rewarding place to practice criminal law.
Over the past few years our office has grown to be the preeminent provider of holistic defense in California. Our client-centered practice gives a voice to those whose voices have been silenced by poverty and systems of oppression. We ensure that no one faces the government alone. We protect the wrongfully accused, the homeless, the poor, the unfortunate and the neglected. We fight for those who cannot afford to fight for themselves and we help them navigate a complex and daunting legal system. By fighting for them, we protect the constitutional rights of everyone in our community.
Current Employment Opportunities:
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You can read more about some of our legal positions below and sign up to be notified when those specific recruitments open using the links below. Also, we accept Summer Law Clerk applications on an ongoing basis. Read below for more information.
Legal Position Descriptions
Entry Level Attorney Positions
Appointments to all vacant Associate Deputy Public Defender positions are made by the Public Defender from a civil service hiring list prepared after an examination coordinated by the Alameda County Human Resources Department. The HR Department receives applications during an open period of 25 days. Applications for Associate Deputy Public Defender are generally accepted once a year, from mid-November to mid-December following the summer bar exam results.
All Associate Deputy Public Defenders initially work in a branch office where they are assigned cases of increasing difficulty. By the end of the third year most lawyers are assigned their first felony jury trial case load. After demonstrating proficiency in the trial of felony cases, Associate Deputy Public Defenders are promoted to the position of Deputy Public Defender. The Office provides ongoing in-house training for all attorneys; the Alameda County Public Defender is approved as a provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) by the State Bar of California.
Click here to view the Associate Deputy Public Defender Job Description and to sign up to be notified when the position opens.
Deputy Public Defender Positions
The Deputy Public Defender position is the general litigation attorney position in the Public Defender’s Office. By the assignment of the Public Defender, Deputy Public Defenders are the attorneys for defendants in criminal and juvenile cases, and represent litigants in certain civil proceedings, as appointed to or accepted by the Public Defender. Deputy Public Defenders must be in good standing with the State Bar of California and have a valid California motor vehicle operator’s license, and should have experience in the practice of criminal law and demonstrated competence in the handling of all phases of felony cases, including substantial felony trial experience. Substantial felony trial experience is deemed to include the trial to verdict of at least three felonies for which the possible penalty exceeds seven years.
The Office provides ongoing in-house training for all attorneys; the Alameda County Public Defender is approved as a provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) by the State Bar of California.
Appointments to all vacant Deputy Public Defender positions are made by the Public Defender from a Civil Service hiring list promulgated after an examination coordinated by the Alameda County Personnel Department.
Click here to view the Deputy Public Defender Job Description and to sign up to be notified when the position opens.
Post-Bar Legal Assistants
Post-Bar Legal Assistants perform legal research and writing, conduct client intake interviews, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial or disposition. All legal assistants are compensated and must be certified under the Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students by the State Bar of California or admitted to the State Bar. Applications for post-bar legal assistants are accepted year-round but the recruitment period generally lasts from July to November. All inquiries should be directed to the Public Defender Recruitment Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a cover letter, resume and writing sample.
Law Clerk Positions
The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office offers law students the opportunity to gain the traditional experience in research and writing, as well as practical “hands on” experience of assisting Public Defenders in court. In general, law clerks perform legal research and writing, conduct client intake interviews, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial or disposition. All law clerk work is done under the supervision of a senior Public Defender attorney. Law students who are exploring a career in criminal defense work will find their experiences with the Alameda County Public Defender an invaluable step in their career development.
We encourage 1L, 2L, and 3L students to apply and we accept interns on a year-round basis. We encourage law students seeking this position to complete courses in Criminal Procedure and Evidence. For some positions, law students must be eligible for certification under the Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students by the State Bar of California. If your school does not provide funding to you, we can provide funding to law clerks working full-time during the summer. While applications are accepted continuously, the bulk are received during On-Campus Interviews in the fall. All inquiries should be directed to the Public Defender Recruitment Officer at email@example.com. Please include a cover letter, resume and writing sample.