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Background 

The Department of Public Defense (DPD) uses assigned counsel attorneys for cases where there is a conflict with all four divisions. Assigned counsel attorneys operate as independent contractors where cases are assigned on an individual basis. Approximately 10 percent of the total King County public defense caseload goes to the assigned counsel panel. The department assigns attorneys to represent clients in felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile offenses, civil commitments and dependencies.

DPD Seeks Applications for New Assigned Counsel Panel Members

DPD is currently seeking new attorneys for all assigned counsel panels. The individual panels include: Superior Court Adult Felonies, District Court Misdemeanors, Dependency, Civil Commitments, Contempt of Court for failure to pay support obligations and Juvenile Court practice, including all criminal offenses and status offenses such as Becca, At Risk Youth, and Truancy.

Applicants should possess strong litigation skills, and technical and other resources to support representation. Compensation and requirements for panel members can be found in the DPD Assigned Counsel Policy section below. Applications should be received by July 23, 2017 for consideration to current panels.

The application, including complete instructions is found here.

Assigned Counsel Applications or any questions concerning the application process should be emailed to: DPD.AssignedCounsel@kingcounty.gov.

DPD Assigned Counsel Policy

The Department has established an updated set of policies and guidelines to foster consistent practices among its assigned counsel, clarify the department's billing processes, and lay out other expectations and requirements for legal representation. Click here to read the Department's Assigned Counsel Policy.

More information

Case Assignment Process

If you're a member of the assigned counsel panel, here's how the case assignment process works: 

  • You will be contacted by email or phone by a DPD case assignment staff person when an assignment is available. They will provide basic case information, such as client name, charge(s), witness names, and court date. You should consider this information to check conflicts and availability. Please respond the same day regardless of whether you can take the case so assignment staff can plan accordingly. If you fail to timely respond assignment staff will seek a new attorney. 
  • After accepting the case DPD case assignment staff will email you a case assignment sheet. This provides case information, such as client name and contact information, case number, charges, and next court date. This is now your case and it’s your responsibility to contact your client, obtain discovery, and begin case preparation. Remember: In-custody clients should be seen within one business day of assignment and out-of-custody clients should be contacted with five business days.
  • Within a couple of days you will receive a form from DPD finance called “King County Department of Public Defense Assigned Counsel Confirmation of Assignment and Request for Payment," aka the financial affidavit. This is important because it is the form used for submitting your billing. This form functions as a summary cover sheet to which you attach your time sheets for billing. This is outlined in more detail in the DPD Policy and Procedures. You should bill monthly provided the amount due is over $500.

Billing Process

  1. Submit time sheets with each request for payment. Time sheets should include a very brief description of each case activity by date, along with the amount of time for each activity. Activity descriptions of 1-2 words are preferred to help protect client confidences. Time should be reported in tenth of an hour increments. Time sheets should be word processed, not hand written.

  2. Time spent on multiple cases that require overlapping services (e.g. travel, attendance in court, meeting with prosecutor) should not be billed in full to each case, but be appropriately allocated among the cases with reference to each case where time is apportioned.

  3. Bills should be submitted monthly, and should be submitted by calendar months. Multiple calendar months can be included in a single billing, but should not include partial months.

  4. Monthly billing is not required if the total amount due is less than $500.00, though monthly billing is preferred even if the billing amount is less than $500.00. Billings should not be submitted if total amount due is less than $50.00, unless the amount due is older than 90 days.  

  5. Submit final bills with 30 days of disposition, or within 30 days of resolution of restitution.

  6. Noncompliance within billing procedures or timelines may result in non-payment of expenses for services rendered, and/or removal from the panel.

  7. Complete billing policies are in the DPD Assigned Counsel Policy which can be found at the DPD Assigned Counsel web site: http://kingcounty.gov/courts/public-defense/assigned-counsel.aspx.

Helpful Contacts

Below are four documents that describe DPD's expert services processes and that could be helpful to assigned counsel.

Please use the forms below to request an expert on your case.

Superior Court Cases

District Court Cases

Sealing expert services requests in Superior Court

For information on how to seal an expert services request in Superior Court, please click on the Superior Court Criminal Department Manual link (below) and go to 10.2 (page 21).

Lorinda Youngcourt

King County Public Defender
Lorinda Youngcourt

Read her biography.

If you'd like to invite Lorinda or someone else from the Department of Public Defense to speak to your organization, please send your request to DPD at dpd@kingcounty.gov.