Employment at DPD
A chance to make a difference
The Department of Public Defense (DPD) recruits for open positions periodically throughout the year. The application tool is on the King County employment website. As a department within King County, we are able to offer competitive salaries and generous benefits packages. At the same time, our department is independent and aggressive, willing to fight to dismantle a system that is racist, harsh, and oppressive, working closely with community-based partners every step of the way. Attorneys are encouraged to go to trial. They're supported by experienced supervisors. We also employ skilled investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and administrative assistants, who are also committed to strong client advocacy and to the important work of public defense. For current law students, we are recruiting both rising 3Ls for full-time employment beginning in October 2024 and rising 2Ls who are interested in our 2024 summer internship program.
To be considered for any position at DPD, applications must be received through the King County employment website. Applications will not be accepted through on-campus interviewing or any other job site.
King County is a region with considerable natural beauty and many outdoor recreational opportunities.
Why work at DPD?
DPD is committed to providing high-quality legal representation to indigent clients. DPD practices in several areas, including felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitments, and contempt of court. The department also works to address racial disproportionality in the criminal legal system, the collateral consequences of system involvement, and other structural and/or systemic issues that undermine the rights of our clients and their communities. DPD 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.
Employment at DPD offers the chance to practice public defense at a very high level, while living in a vibrant urban environment surrounded by natural beauty.
Read more about DPD's work in our 2022 annual report.
Client representation at DPD is provided by four divisions, each working separately so as to ensure the department can keep as many cases in-house as possible. Each division is overseen by a Managing Attorney and employs attorneys, investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and legal administrative specialists. When feasible, those professionals work in teams, providing vertical representation to clients. The four divisions, reflecting their history as nonprofits before becoming a part of the county in 2013, are called:
- Associated Counsel for the Accused Division (ACAD)
- Northwest Defenders Division (NDD)
- Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons Division (SCRAPD)
- The Defender Association Division (TDAD)
The Director’s Office provides strategic and policy direction for the department, runs the department’s robust training program, and provides budgetary oversight, human resources support, communications support, and administrative support. Staff in the Director’s Office also interview clients to determine eligibility, assign cases to the divisions, and manage case assignments to ensure attorneys are not exceeding State Supreme Court-mandated caseload limits.