Human Resources

Job Announcement Description

Job Title:   Defender Attorney 
Department:   Office of the Public Defender
Salary:   $3,281.06 per month maximum
How to Apply:   
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled and/or the posting is closed. After reviewing this job announcement, please click on the link at the bottom of the page to apply online. A resume is required with the application. Further instructions on submission of documents are available in the online application.

At the time of application you must submit the following:
  1. A resume with the application. A resume may not be substituted for an application. 
  2. A legal writing sample, which demonstrates your legal research and writing skills; and
  3. An official academic law school transcript.

Minimum Requirements: 

  1. J.D. or L.L.B. degree from an accredited law school;  
  2. Existing license to practice law in PA; AND  
  3. Applicants must also show six (6) months of experience as one of the following:  a public defender, criminal defense attorney, attorney for a public interest advocacy organization involved with the criminal justice, juvenile delinquency or mental health systems, a judicial law clerk, or an attorney with 50+ hours or 6 months of experience in an indigent pro bono project sponsored by a bar association or 501 (c)(3) organization OR as a law student, must show participation in a clinic, internship or clerkship (paid or unpaid) with any of the aforementioned entities or court of record, membership of law review, graduation in the top half of their law school class or other indication of academic excellence.  A demonstrated commitment to working with diverse communities and a challenging population is preferred.

Must present a current, valid driver's license at time of appointment.

All positions are full-time. Candidates must relinquish private or other law practice within reasonable time period.

It is the policy of Allegheny County that in order to receive a final offer of employment, candidates must successfully pass background checks as required for the position.


  • Meets with the client prior to all critical stages of the prosecution.
  • Assures that the client's case proceeds in a timely manner.
  • Keeps the client informed about the case and promptly responds to the client's requests for information.
  • Timely prepares and files all papers necessary to effectively represent the client.
  • Devotes an appropriate amount of time to maintaining a current knowledge of applicable law.
  • Abides by all applicable codes of ethics and professional responsibility; seeks guidance on ethical issues.
  • Performs other related duties as required or requested.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Knowledge of:

  • PA Rules of Criminal and Appellate Procedure, PA Rules of Evidence, and other applicable law

Ability to:

  • Assess client situations and communicate, both orally and in writing
  • Work with a diverse, challenging client population
  • Maintain the confidentiality of client information
  • Maintain civility in relationships with all clients, co-workers, judges, court personnel, opposing counsel, law enforcement officers, witnesses and the general public, while zealously advocating on behalf of the client
  • Operate a personal computer for word processing, computerized legal research, and related functions

Residency: Must become a resident of Allegheny County within one (1) year of appointment

Veteran's Preference: Will be awarded to eligible candidates.



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