Attorney - 3rd Year Law Student & Fellow/Clerk

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Legal
Posted on September 9, 2022
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**All wages listed in this posting are anticipated 2022 wage rates and are pending council approval.**

The Department of Public Defense (DPD) seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic advocates to join our dynamic and diverse team of public defense attorneys. DPD is actively recruiting 3rd year law students, judicial clerks, and fellows to begin employment after August 2023.
DPD provides robust legal representation to indigent clients in felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitment, and inquests. We work with the community to dismantle the systems that oppress our clients, to make the traditional systems that remain as restorative as possible, and to advocate for pathways that will allow our clients to succeed. We also advocate to reduce the harm and reach of the criminal legal system and the civil legal systems that restrict our clients’ liberty and to address systemic racism. We strive to create a flexible workplace culture that is inclusive, respectful, and supportive, premised on a shared anti-oppression framework.
DPD is looking for attorneys who want to be a part of the fight on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys work in teams with skilled investigators, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and other support staff to provide client-centered representation. We encourage attorneys to go to trial and our attorneys are supported by experienced supervisors. Expert services are regularly funded, in keeping with state court rules. Through its robust training program, DPD provides frequent in-house trainings and opportunities to participate in the best national trainings.

Successful candidates will be dedicated, hard-working advocates, with the ability to develop excellent trial, research, and writing skills. An ability to think critically and creatively in a fast-paced environment is essential in this role, as well as a passion for public defense and a demonstrated commitment to representing indigent persons. Strong candidates will also possess the ability to receive feedback constructively and to reflect on and modify performance accordingly.
The scope of representation expected of an attorney is determined by the nature of the case assignment and the Rules of Professional Conduct. Caseload standards are established in accordance with the State Supreme Court’s Standards for Indigent Defense, union bargaining agreements, and the Washington State Bar Association Guidelines. Attorneys in DPD are expected to participate in ongoing training to improve their level of practice.

Who May Apply: 

  • Attorney - 3rd-Year Law Student: This recruitment is open to 3rd year law student candidates graduating between December 2022 and June 2023 and may be used to fill current and/or future career service and term-limited temporary positions in any of the Department's four divisions and/or office locations in King County.
  • Fellow/Clerk: This recruitment is open to attorney applicants engaged in legal fellowships or clerkships and may be used to fill future career service and term-limited temporary positions in any of the department's four divisions and/or office locations in King County.
    • Fellow/Clerk candidates hired through this recruitment will be considered by DPD for initial salary placement at Steps 2 through 4 ($78,361.14-$103,617.95), dependent upon experience.
Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. All candidates selected for an interview will be interviewed using videoconference technology.
First consideration will be given to candidates who apply prior to September 1, 2022. Once all positions are filled the posting will be closed.
Work Location
DPD employees enjoy a flexible, hybrid in-office/telecommute workplace structure, and attorneys should expect to work both in the office and remotely, while being required to report to other locations, such as courts or jail facilities. DPD prioritizes frequent and robust client contact and in-person court presence. DPD maintains physical offices in the following locations:

  • Dexter Horton Building, 710 Second Avenue, Seattle
  • Jefferson Street Building, 1401 East Jefferson, Seattle
  • Meeker Street Building, 420 West Harrison Street, Kent
  • 908 Jefferson St. Seattle
If assigned to the civil commitment unit, assignments are to hospitals/treatment centers throughout the county.
Rotation of staff practice area and/or work location occurs based on the needs of our clients.  
Work Schedule The normal work schedule is Monday through Friday, with some night and weekend work. This position meets the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is not eligible for overtime.

Forms and Materials Required
  1. An online application completed at The employment history should go back long enough to include all relevant experience.
  2. A cover letter no more than two pages summarizing your experience and how you meet the required qualifications, knowledge, and skills for the position.
  3. A resume.
  4. A short self-authored writing sample (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) prepared for this selection process.
For more information, or if you have questions about this position or process, please contact:
 Falisha Forgash
 Human Resource Analyst 

Job Duties

Based on assignment, include the following:

  • Provide legal representation to and advocacy for indigent clients. 
  • Communicate effectively, including with individuals who lack English proficiency.
  • Handle all aspects of representation, from arraignment through trial and, if necessary, sentencing and post-trial.
  • Engage in a robust motions practice involving research, writing, and arguing pretrial motions.
  • Conduct plea negotiations and mitigation.
  • Locate, work with, and prepare experts in various fields.
  • Provide client-driven representation that includes frequent and detailed communication with the client, choosing the most effective medium for the client.
  • Work with clients who may be experiencing mental illness, drug addiction, or other issues.
  • Work with young adults, youth, and children.
  • Work closely with and in some instances lead a team of investigators, mitigation specialists, and paralegals to develop and implement legal strategies and properly assess and address client needs.
  • Handle on-call 24-hour coverage, which, per attorney, currently occurs approximately one week a year, or two Saturday calendars.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Attorney - 3rd-year Law Student/Clerk/Fellow:

  • JD from an accredited law school by December 2022 through June 2023. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to advocacy on behalf of marginalized communities. 
  • Excellent demonstrated analytical, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Ability to manage a caseload in a fast-paced environment.
  • Plans to take the Washington State Bar Examination in July 2023 or, for clerks and fellows, admission to the bar in another state that would enable qualification under Rule 8.
  • A valid Washington State driver's license or the ability to travel throughout King County in a timely manner.
  • Proficiency in languages other than English, particularly Spanish. 
  • Clinical training in public defense.
  • Criminal defense experience.
  • Lived experience involving the criminal legal system.
  • Other lived experience shared by DPD’s clients.
Please note: Candidates will be offered positions based upon performance in the selection process and the needs of the work unit.

Supplemental Information

Special note regarding COVID-19 
Interviews for this position will be conducted remotely. Successful candidates will be required to work both in the office and remotely; frequency will vary based on business and operational needs.

DPD Policies 
DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants, such that if you work or have worked for one of DPD's divisions, you may be ineligible to work in another division.
Outside Work Policy for Attorneys will apply to applicants, such that you must receive approval from your supervisor and Managing Attorney before being permitted to engage in outside employment for compensation or volunteer
Application Process
Interested individuals should submit an online King County application (all blanks must be filled out and may not direct the reader to reference to an attached resume or other document. Answers that say "see resume" will be considered as incomplete), cover letter (no more than two pages) summarizing how you meet the experience, qualifications, knowledge, and skills for the job, resume, and short writing sample (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format). You can find the online application at:
Applicants will be required to demonstrate their qualifications at the time of the interviews and/or skills assessments.
Selection Process
Applications will be reviewed and screened for clarity, completeness, and competitiveness. Applicants may be required to demonstrate their qualifications at the time of the interview. All materials will be evaluated for spelling, grammar, and punctuation usage. The most competitive candidates will be invited to interview.

Offer of employment is contingent on:
The successful completion of references and a conflicts check in keeping with DPD’s Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures.  
Union membership: Positions in this classification are recognized by Service Employees International Union, Local 925.
DPD will compensate successful candidates licensed in other states and qualifying for a license under the Rule 8(c) for the Washington State Bar Association new admittee and client protection fund assessment fee. Application fees associated with the NCBE (background investigation) or special licensing are the individual’s own responsibility. Bar dues for employees are paid by the department.

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter.

As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:

  • submit proof of vaccination, or
  • have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.
People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Executive Branch includes employees in the Executive branch, the Assessor's Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff's Office, and the Executive Office.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact the recruiter listed on this job announcement.

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

Do you have proficiency in a language or languages other than English?
  • Yes
  • No
If you indicated yes above, please elaborate on which languages you have a proficiency in here. If none other than English, please enter "N/A"
Do you have clinical training in public defense?
  • Yes
  • No
If you indicated yes above, please share with us where and when you received this training. If you answered no, please enter "N/A"
Do you possess criminal defense experience?
  • Yes
  • No
If you indicated yes above, please indicate when and where you obtained this experience, please include your title. If no, please enter "N/A"
In addition to this online application, this selection process requires that you submit the following items in order to be considered: Cover Letter, Resume, and Short Writing Sample. Did you make sure to attach all the required materials to your online application?
  • Yes
  • No
Are you applying to this position as an eligible current or previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant? Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff? Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County and I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. Additionally, the position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff

Required Question