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The Department of Public Defense uses assigned counsel attorneys for cases where there is a conflict with all four divisions. 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 recently established new panels for all of its case areas. The Department periodically reviews its panels and seeks new members. If you're interested in being on an assigned counsel panel, check this website for information about how to become a member of the panel or email Burns Petersen, DPD's director of assigned counsel, at burns.petersen@kingcounty.gov.

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, Billing Process and DPD Contacts

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.

Helpful contacts

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.