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This page provides Assigned Counsel with much of the basic operational information needed to comply with DPD's policies and meet the requirements outlined in the Department's orientation for new Panel members. Much of this information can also be found in full in DPD’s Assigned Counsel Policy

Core requirements

  • In-custody clients must be seen within one (1) business day of assignment.
  • Out-of-custody clients must be contacted within five (5) business days of assignment.
  • Assigned Counsel must maintain sufficient ongoing contact to keep clients informed and engaged in the case plan.

  • Assigned Counsel may not subcontract or reassign cases assigned by DPD.
  • No work may be performed by associates or Rule 9 interns.

  • Assigned Counsel may not “flip” assigned cases to private pay.
  • Private pay cases going to DPD may be reassigned by DPD.
  • Assigned Counsel may not bill clients for expert services or added costs.

  • Assigned Counsel may use coverage only for unavoidable or unforeseen scheduling issues.
  • Assigned Counsel may use coverage only for routine, non-controversial matters.
  • Assigned Counsel may only use coverage by another Panel member or by an attorney pre-authorized by DPD.

Assigned Counsel must inform DPD if:
  • Client retains private counsel.
  • Client goes pro se.
  • Court authorizes Assigned Counsel withdrawal.
  • Court appoints Assigned Counsel to new case(s).

  • Assigned Counsel must inform DPD of client complaints, including Bar complaints and motion(s) for new counsel/to discharge counsel.
  • It is helpful for Assigned Counsel to inform DPD in anticipation of complaints.
  • Assigned Counsel must respond timely to DPD regarding complaints or concerns, as DPD can assist with the goal of reestablishing a good working relationship between Assigned Counsel and client.

Case Assignment Process

The case assignment process for Assigned Counsel Panel members is as follows: 

  • 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 name(s), 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 Assigned Counsel attorney. 
  • After you accept 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, charge(s), and the next court date. This is now your case and it is 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 within five  business days
  • Within a week, you will receive a form from DPD finance called King County Department of Public Defense Assigned Counsel Confirmation of Assignment and Request for Payment (the "payment 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 Assigned Counsel Policy. You should bill monthly, providing the amount due is over $500.

Billing Guidelines 

  • 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. Do not block bill!
  • Submit billings via email to Do not mail or hand-deliver hard copies of payment affidavits and supporting documentation. Time sheets should be word-processed, not handwritten.
  • 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 should be appropriately prorated among the cases with reference to each case where time is apportioned.
  • Receipts are required for expenses over $10.
  • Bills should be submitted monthly and should be submitted by calendar month. Multiple calendar months can be included in a single billing, but billings should not include partial months. Do not bill on a case more than once per calendar month.
  • Monthly billing is not required if the total amount due is less than $500, although monthly billing is preferred even if the billing amount is less than $500. Billings should not be submitted if the total amount due is less than $50 unless the amount due is older than 90 days.
  • Submit final bills within 30 days of case disposition or within 30 days of resolution of restitution.
  • Noncompliance with billing procedures or timelines may result in non-payment of expenses for services rendered and/or removal from the assigned counsel panel.
  • Complete billing policies and hourly rates can be found in the Assigned Counsel Policy

Helpful Forms

Helpful Contacts

Case Assignments

 Billing and Payments

 Policies and Procedures