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Felicia_2_croppedPublic defender Felicia Wartnik talks to a client in King County Superior Court.

Public defense in King County has earned a national reputation for excellent legal representation, commitment to meaningful caseload standards, use of therapeutic courts, and other client-centered services. Thanks to a voter-approved amendment to the County Charter, the Department of Public Defense (DPD) is a permanent, independent county department overseen by a Public Defender with support and guidance from an advisory board comprised of regional leaders in criminal justice.

DPD provides legal representation to indigent clients in several practice areas, including felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile offenders, dependencies, involuntary commitment, civil commitment of sexually violent predators, and contempt of court. The Department also works to address racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system, the collateral consequences of justice involvement, and other structural and/or systemic issues that undermine the rights of the criminally accused. It employs not only attorneys, but also skilled investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and other support staff. Expert services are regularly funded, in keeping with state court rules. King County public defense has also been a leader in the development of diversion alternatives to support clients who have entered or are at risk of entering the justice system due to drug involvement, mental illness, or other issues.

The Department is often looking for highly committed and well-qualified candidates.

Interested in employment at DPD?

For information about jobs at DPD, email Mary Louis, DPD's human resource manager, at
For information about internship or externship opportunities, please see the page internships and externships at DPD.

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