Entry Level Assistant Public Defender (2024)


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) seeks dynamic, dedicated, and client-centered litigators to serve as Assistant Public Defenders in offices across Maryland. We are committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourage people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is a statewide agency that provides superior representation to indigent clients at all stages of the criminal case including trial, appeal, and eligible post-conviction proceedings. Representation is provided through offices and services at 52 locations statewide with a workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. At MOPD, we use our legal education and expertise to fight for justice and fairness, as tenacious advocates we refuse to remain silent amid human suffering. Our unique talents, identities, educational backgrounds, and perspectives guide us in providing superior representation to our clients. We stand firm against prejudice, systemic racism, and inequity in all communities and spaces.

MOPD’s mission focuses on Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. Employees are committed to the core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, tenacious advocacy, and function as a team united in achieving MOPD’s mission. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.




District 1 (Baltimore City)

District 2 (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, Worcester Counties)

District 3 (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot Counties)

District 4 (Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary's Counties)

District 5 (Prince George's County)

District 6 (Montgomery County)

District 7 (Anne Arundel County)

District 8 (Baltimore County)

District 9 (Harford County)

District 10 (Carroll and Howard Counties)

District 11 (Frederick and Washington Counties)

District 12 (Allegany and Garrett Counties)

Main Purpose of Job

Overview of the Position

Assistant Public Defenders combines their demonstrated dedication to the representation of indigent clients with their strong and zealous litigation skills to provide exceptional representation on behalf of all their clients. The attorneys in these positions are expected to independently manage an active caseload while working in a team-oriented environment with a client-centered approach to litigation. All selected candidates are required to attend orientation and MOPD’s New Hire training. Successful candidates for these positions will begin their employment with MOPD no later than August 06, 2025.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Zealous representation of indigent defendants charged with misdemeanor criminal and traffic matters.
  • Ability to prepare for and manage an active caseload; including, but not limited to the handling of bail review hearings, District Court trials, preliminary hearings, violation of probation hearings, and modification of sentence hearings competently and resourcefully.
  • Effectively and compassionately communicate with clients, colleagues, and providers for optimal client outcomes.
  • Continuously seek professional development through training, continuing legal education, and trial skills courses.
  • Ensure clients are consistently heard and respected.
  • Other duties as assigned by the State Public Defender.


Education: A Juris Doctorate degree or equivalent degree from an accredited school of law.

Experience: None


1. Candidates shall be an Attorney and admitted to practice law in the State by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, at the time of appointment.

2. The above requirements are set by the Office of the Public Defender in accordance with Criminal Procedure Article, Section 16-203 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

3. Candidates may substitute U.S. Armed Forces military service experience as a commissioned officer in general attorney classification or general attorney specialty codes in the legal and kindred group field of work on a year-for-year basis for the required experience and education.


Core Competencies and Requirements

  • Demonstrated commitment to serving communities who have been pushed to the margins.
  • Clear dedication to upending systemic racism, prejudice, and unfairness in the criminal justice system.
  • Excellent research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Compassion.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and experiences.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.
  • Exposure to the proceedings and pace of the District Court (litigation experience or judicial clerkship helpful).
  • All offers will be contingent on membership in good standing with the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state by July 2025. Individuals who are a member of the Bar of another State must be admitted to the Maryland Bar within 18 months of their start date.



Salary is dependent on experience and the State of Maryland salary rules will apply to any offer made. This would be a lateral transfer for MOPD attorneys.

Assistant Public Defender I: $86,762.00-$127,473.00/ year (Grade 20: Step 6-Step 26)


The Maryland Office of the Public Defender offers a generous benefits package that includes excellent medical, dental, and vision insurance. Benefits also include retirement savings, life insurance, and the option to participate in supplemental retirement options. MOPD Employees receive 6 days of personal leave, 15 days of sick leave, and at least 10 days of annual leave each calendar year in addition to paid holidays, and parental leave.

For more details and a full list of benefits as an employee with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender click here.


How to Apply

you wish to be considered, please click below to fill out the application and upload the following documents in one PDF attachment through the Resume Tab of the Maryland State Government Job Openings: (1) a current resume, (2) a cover letter, (3) a list of four professional references, (4) a writing sample no longer than 15 pages, and (5) your law school transcript (if graduated from within the past 3 years). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees and cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position. MD Code, Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d)(2).

As a State agency, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. MOPD is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.

All applicants must be able to communicate with clients and visitors and possess the ability to complete tasks in a fast-paced work environment. Applicants must be able to work in various positions and travel to various courtrooms and office environments throughout the state. MOPD is further committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities by modifying or adjusting the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee be considered for the position they desire; to perform the essential functions of the position in question; or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.

Applicants must be able to operate a computer and other office equipment. Applicants must have access to a motor vehicle or be able to navigate public transportation. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Tawanda Jackson, Human Resources Supervisor, at 410-767-8503 or tawandal.jackson@maryland.gov.

Entry Level Assistant Public Defender (2024)
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