Job Openings

ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER

Far West Texas Regional Public Defender
Salary: $60,000 plus benefits

The Far West Texas Regional Public Defender is seeking an entry-level Assistant Public Defender, to represent those too poor to hire legal counsel in Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Hudspeth and Presidio counties, Texas. The office is in Alpine, the gateway to Big Bend Country. Applicants must be willing to relocate to reside within the region. Compensation includes salary of $60,000 per year, plus benefits including health care.

This position provides a full range of legal services to indigent defendants in the assigned courts. Primary responsibility to handle the misdemeanor case load and some felonies. Additional responsibilities will be assisting in felony trial preparation and trials and consulting with felony complainants and witnesses.

Law grads, those studying for the bar exam, and those awaiting bar results will be considered. Applications to be considered on a rolling basis.

All applications may be sent by email to:

James Gerard McDermott II
Chief Public Defender
james@farwesttxrpd.org

James Gerard McDermott II
Chief Public Defender
Far West Texas Regional Public Defender
205 N. 7th Street
Alpine TX 79830
432.837.4120

PUBLIC DEFENDER—TRIAL ATTORNEY

Salary: $60,963.99 annually
Location: El Paso, TX
Job Type: Full Time Regular
Department: Public Defender
Job Number: 2018-00477

Minimum Qualifications
Acceptable Experience and Education
Doctor of Jurisprudence.

Certificates and Licenses Required
Must have and maintain a license to practice law in the State of Texas and be in good standing with the State Bar of Texas.

Depending on area assigned: Must have or obtain by date of hire a valid driver's license applicable to job responsibilities, with a driving record acceptable to the County of El Paso.

Typical Duties
Essential Duties

Performs legal research, and keeps abreast of changes in the law;
Searches resources and studies legal records and documents to obtain information applicable to case or issue under consideration;
Examines video, file and physical case evidence;
Drafts briefs, motions, orders, subpoenas, contracts, notices, and other legal documents, as well as correspondence and reports;
Takes depositions and responds to discovery requests;
Responds to phone calls from the general public; provides general information;
Oversees the creation and issuance of legal documents, including subpoenas, motions, orders, writs, warrants, contracts, official policies and other related documents;
Represents the department at docket calls;
Prepares cases for trial;
Collects, organizes and prepares evidence, information and other legal materials;
Attends and participates in meetings, training and information sessions;
Stays abreast of new trends and innovations in the field;
Commits self to providing excellent customer service and demonstrate commitment through cooperative team and individual efforts; and
Creates a high quality work culture through participation in and emphasis on training and mentoring to develop leadership, management, and technical skills in self and all employees, including safety related training and skills.

Depending on area assigned:
Public Defender's Office:
May include appellate work in any or all of these areas;
Establishes and maintains close contact with defendants by regular visits to the Correctional facilities or by constant correspondence via personal visits to the Public Defender's Office, phone contact, or by letters to defendants not in custody;
Prepares litigation on family law cases covers this potential area of practice more inclusively;
Represents all indigent persons charged with crimes in the County whose cases are appointed to the Public Defender's Office;
Defends individual adults and juveniles charged with felonies, misdemeanors and traffic cases for which a sentence of incarceration may be imposed;
Provides representation at all stages of the court process, including before the filing of formal charges, at the trial court level, and any related appeals;
Provides effective representation to clients while managing a large caseload;
Represents as assigned to handle specific types of cases such as family, juvenile, indigent, mental health, appellate, etc.;
Works closely with Public Defender staff, investigators, social workers, and mitigation specialists, as well as community agencies to match needs of clients with resources, programs, and assistance providing holistic, client-centered representation;
Handles all court hearings for clients, including seeking bond reductions in the Jail Magistrate Court, arraignment court and bond court;
Interviews clients (both detained and on bond) supporting preparation for and argues motions for release on personal bond and/or bond reduction, development and investigation of defenses to pending charges, and development of potential mitigation of punishment;
Meets with clients when arrested and obtains their history to make bond arguments to the court;
Maintains strong, ongoing working relationship with clients in person, including visits in detention facilities, by phone and by mail contact;
As required may be called to represent individuals at investigative proceedings, related civil matters, and other ancillary issues; may be assigned to handle cases involving post-conviction writs of habeas corpus and/or appellate relief;
Interviews and counsels respondents in mental health proceedings in Local or State treatment units where they may be confined and works closely with psychiatrists and other medical or treatment personnel;
Investigates and directs investigation by staff investigators into alleged crime(s) or offense, including by meeting with witnesses, police officers and reviewing the facts;
Meets with the client to discuss the appropriate action to be taken and whether pre-trial motions should be filed, discuss any plea offers from the State, and the consequences, including collateral legal consequences thereto, and, ultimately prepare client and case for trial;
Reviews case, results of investigation, applicable laws and codes, and professional obligations to identify, prepare, direct filing, and litigate appropriate pretrial motions;
Performs as trial counsel by representing defendant's clients during courtroom proceedings;
Researches case law, communicates with defendant clients to determine on an on-going basis, including to advise and consult in client's decision whether to accept a plea offer, to go to trial with a judge or a jury for guilt/not guilt, to have punishment assessed by a judge or judge, whether to testify at the guilt phase, whether to testify at the punishment phase, and whether to appeal;
Prepares trial strategy, including mitigation case for punishment, such as prepares for direct and cross-examination of witness's procedures, witness selection, jury selection, testimony decisions and opening and closing arguments;
Acts as negotiator between the defendant clients and the State's Attorney's Office prosecutors to secure acquittals or reach agreement concerning sentence time plea agreements which would be the most beneficial for the defendant client, and the State's Attorney's Office;
Researches case law and witness testimony, conducts investigations and negotiates with the Prosecutor State's Attorney's Office. Analyzes facts, evidence and the strength of case, determines client's wishes and meets with prosecutor to resolve the matter short of trial;
Represents defendant's clients during other court proceedings. Prepares pre-trial motions such as Answer to Discovery, Motions to Suppress Evidence, Requests for Notice, Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Additional Discovery, which are required to be filed in accordance with the Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure, Texas Penal Code, Texas Family Code, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, and other relevant statutes, as well as and a obtaining a hearing set to ensure that they are carried out properly litigate the motions as necessary;
Prepares, files, and litigates post-trial matters including Motions for New Trial, as necessary, such as motions to withdraw pleas, motions to reconsider sentence and post-conviction petitions.

Other Important Duties
Performs such other related duties as may be assigned;
May work extended hours and weekends;
Regular out of town travel for professional conferences and meetings;
Maintains a safe and healthy work place environment;
As members of the County of El Paso Emergency Response System, all El Paso County employees are designated as Disaster Service Workers during a proclaimed emergency and may be required to train on emergency response and/or perform certain emergency services at the direction of their supervisor.

Job Summary
The Attorney/Trial Attorney under close supervision, and depending on area of assignment: provides general counsel for various County Offices and staff; prosecutes criminal, civil and family law cases; represents, defends, and advocates for clients accused of a crime; reviews family case law for legal sufficiency and litigates family law enforcement cases. May include appellate work in any or all of these areas.
This is the first in a series of three non-supervisory attorney-related job classifications within the Attorneys job family.

Additional Information
Minimum Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Knowledge of: County, state, and federal legal principles, practices, procedures regarding the court system; state and local statutes and codes; case law; rules of evidence; contract terminology and requirements; legal practices and procedures; legal terminology; department policies, procedures and regulations covering specific areas of assignment; County organization, operations, policies and procedures; English usage, grammar, punctuation and spelling; techniques for effective interpersonal communications; modern office procedures, methods and computer equipment to include Windows and Microsoft based products.
Skill/Ability to: operate a personal computer and various software applications; conduct research, develop appropriate documentation, assess and prioritize multiple tasks, projects and demands to meet scheduled requirements; conduct legal research; establish and maintain effective working relations with co-workers and customers to promote and support a productive work environment; defining problems, collecting data, establishing facts and drawing valid conclusions; work efficiently independently and in a team environment to meet established goals and objectives; communicate effectively in verbal and written forms to respond effectively to customers and staff; exercise initiative and independent judgment within established procedural guidelines in performance of daily duties; use initiative and independent judgment within established procedural guidelines; prepare clear, concise and comprehensive written reports; and establish and maintain cooperative and effective relationships with those contacted during the course of work. Pass a background investigation.

Each and every county position requires the following professional skills and abilities as key and necessary elements of performance:

  • Demonstrate regular and reliable attendance;
  • Work well with others and participate fully in a team oriented environment;
  • Interface with other employees and customers in a courteous and respectful manner;
  • Maintain strict confidentiality;
  • Project positive support of their department and all organizations receiving El Paso County service at all times; and,
  • Maintain and enhance the County's commitment to customer service excellence

Agency: County of El Paso
Address: 500 E. Overland, El Paso, Texas, 79901
Phone: 915-546-2218
Website: http://www.epcounty.com

RESEARCH AND WRITING SPECIALIST

Office of the Federal Public Defender
Western District of Texas (El Paso)

THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER for the Western District of Texas is accepting applications for the position of research and writing specialist to be stationed in the El Paso office. The Federal Public Defender operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide defense services in federal criminal cases and related matters by appointment from the court to individuals unable to afford counsel.

Requirements:
The research and writing specialist position is an attorney position. Applicants must be: (1) a graduate of an accredited law school; and (2) admitted to practice in good standing before the highest court of a state. Spanish-language fluency is preferred for this position. Appointment is subject to a satisfactory background investigation, including but not limited to an FBI name and fingerprint check.

Duties:
The primary duties of a research and writing specialist include: (1) drafting motions, memoranda, briefs, and petitions to be filed in the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States; and (2) consulting with attorneys on legal issues arising in discovery, motion practice, trial, sentencing, and appeal. A research and writing specialist may be required to perform general paralegal duties, as well as other duties as assigned. The research and writing specialist is not an assistant federal public defender and does not ordinarily sign pleadings or make court appearances. The position requires occasional travel.

Selection Criteria:
The successful applicant for research and writing specialist will have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellence in criminal defense practice, a commitment to the representation of indigent accused persons, and a reputation for integrity. Applicants must also possess the ability to communicate effectively with clients, witnesses, colleagues, and court and agency personnel. The successful applicant will have strong legal research and word processing skills, will be able to analyze legal issues from complex records, and will write clearly and concisely. Appellate writing experience or experience in handling federal criminal cases is preferred.

Salary and Benefits:
The starting salary for a research and writing specialist falls within a range of $51,440 (JSP-9, Step 1) to $123,298 (JSP-15, Step 1). The salary of the successful applicant will be commensurate with the person’s qualifications and experience. The position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service. The position offers federal government employment benefits, including participation in health and life insurance, retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit).

Application Information:
Qualified persons may apply by forwarding a letter of interest (mentioning announcement number 19-09), résumé, and representative writing sample. Legal experience should be described in detail. Send completed application to: Maureen Scott Franco, Federal Public Defender, Western District of Texas, 700 E. San Antonio Ave., D-401, El Paso, Texas 79901-7020. No electronic submissions will be considered, this includes emails to the Defender. For applicants with disabilities, this organization provides reasonable accommodations, which are determined on a case-by-case basis. To request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or interview process, contact Victoria B. Longoria, Personnel Administrator, at (210) 472-6700. More than one position may be filled from this announcement. Position announced April 23, 2019 subject to the availability of funds; open until filled.

The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas is an equal opportunity employer.


ASSISTANT FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER

Eastern District of Texas
The Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Texas is now accepting applications for one full-time Assistant Federal Public Defender to be stationed in Sherman, Texas. The Office of the Federal Defender operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide representation in federal criminal matters in the federal courts.

Requirements and Qualifications:
An Assistant Federal Defender must be a graduate of an accredited law school, a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas, and licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Appointment is subject to a satisfactory background investigation, including but not limited to FBI name and fingerprint check and an IRS tax check.

Duties:
An Assistant Federal Defender represents clients charged with federal criminal offenses and clients involved in other matters covered under the Criminal Justice Act. The positions may require travel for investigation, litigation and training. Federal Public Defender employees may not engage in the private practice of law.

Selection Criteria:
Successful applicants will have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellence in criminal defense practice, a commitment to the representation of indigent accused persons, and a reputation for integrity. Applicants must also possess the ability to communicate effectively with clients, witnesses, staff, colleagues, and other individuals that they will come in contact with as part of their employment. Experience in handling federal criminal cases is preferred, but not required.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary dependent upon qualifications and experience, but comparable to that of Assistant United States Attorneys. This position is excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive civil service. Benefits include health and life insurance, retirement and the Thrift Savings Plan. This position is subject to mandatory Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit) participation for payment of net pay.

Application Information:
Qualified persons are invited to apply by sending a letter of interest and resume listing at least three professional references no later than April 19, 2019 to: G. Patrick Black, Federal Public Defender, 110 North College, Suite 1122, Tyler, Texas 75702. Legal experience should be described in detail. The start date of this position is contingent upon availability of funds. Please, no telephone inquiries. Position open until filled.

The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Texas is an equal opportunity employer.


Public Defenders

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid seeks public defenders for its Beeville office who have a passion to aggressively represent low-income clients in criminal cases. The TRLA Beeville office provides legal services to the following counties in the coastal bend area of Texas: Live Oak, McMullen, Bee, Goliad, and Refugio. We have positions open for a lawyer with a Texas law license and experience in criminal trial practice, state courts. We also have open positions for attorneys newly licensed in Texas or law school graduates taking the July 2019 Texas Bar Exam.

TRLA operates one of the largest legal services programs in the country and is nationally recognized for high-quality, zealous advocacy for its clients. The public defender division handles 100% of the criminal court appointments docket in its service area, apart from conflicts that arise. We handle Class B and A misdemeanor charges, felonies, juvenile cases, and appeals. TRLA’s public defender program organizes its case assignment vertically. We assign an attorney [or attorneys] to a case at intake. That assignment continues until resolution.

Compensation, benefits, and training:

Salary is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent fringe benefits package including law school loan repayment. Graduates from law school typically start being paid the first week of June, but report to work after the bar exam in July. TRLA provides reimbursement for the bar application fee and bar preparation course.

TRLA Public Defenders utilize trial lawyer training programs at the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Gideon’s Promise. TRLA provides trainings customized for specific needs of our team. As a member of TRLA Public Defenders, you will receive opportunities to train and learn from criminal defense trial lawyers throughout the country on various areas of expertise at no to low cost.

Qualifications and preferences:

Must be licensed to practice law in Texas, able to waive into the Texas bar, or willing to take the next available bar exam.

Preferred applicants have demonstrated an interest in providing justice to those who need it most, have strong academic credentials, are functionally fluent in Spanish, and want to live and work where the greatest need is in the TRLA service area.

TRLA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to an equitable workplace.

Application process:

Step One—Apply online: https://trla.wufoo.com/forms/r18n7vw20gxf1kp/.

Step Two—Selected applicants will be contacted for a telephone interview.

Step Three—Typically, selected applicants will be invited to visit TRLA offices, meet with staff, and tour the service area. TRLA will provide travel, accommodations, and food throughout the visit.

Step Four—Selected applicants will be offered a position which if made in the winter often remains open until mid-April (near the deadline to apply to take the bar exam).

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  • Send job listings to mschank@tcdla.com, free for TCDLA members, $50 for non-members