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Top 3 Cool Legal Jobs This Week: Public Defenders

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 25, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Almost every lawyer works hard, but there are a few lawyers that at least appear to work harder than others: family lawyers, civil rights attorneys, and public defenders.

Over the last few weeks we've been noticing what seems to be an uptick in the number of listings for public defender jobs across the country. There's a very real need for legal representation for those persons who can't afford to pay. So if you're feeling like you could use a job that will keep you busy with a wide variety of different (and virtuous) experiences, have we got a list for you.

Tulare County, CA: Attorney, Public Defender I-IV

Tulare County in California is looking for public defenders to help them defend indigent clients. You can expect to be responsible for helping prepare numerous criminal defense cases, preparing pleadings, briefs, points and authorities (legal court brief), research and evaluating evidence, and also representing those clients in court. For this position, you will need actual courtroom experience. Attorneys will be graded at different levels: I, II, III, and IV. Each level corresponds to the amount of general practice of law you've attained. And, of course, each level corresponds to a different level of compensation.

Twin Falls County, ID: Deputy Public Defender -- Misdemeanor

Like the rest of the jobs in this list, a drive to represent the poor and indigent in court is a plus. In this Idaho deputy public defender position, you'll be asked to take on a lot of responsibility including reviewing law enforcement reports, evidence lists, witness/victim statements. You'll be working under the direction of the Public Defender, but the job description assures applicants that they will be able to exercise independent judgment and initiative and will also be able to draw on the assistance from other staff. Expect to spend time in court on this job.

State of Minnesota Board of Public Defense: Assistant Public Defender

You're going to need a good background in criminal law and procedure as well as good head on your shoulders if you want to be an assistant public defender in Minnesota. It looks like the state is looking for someone who really loved procedure back in law school. If you were the kind of person who smiled during Crim Pro while everyone else was groaning, then you should seriously consider applying to this position. Be very careful of its provision in the job description, though. If you are hired under the "Student Practice Rule" you must pass the bar on your first attempt. If you don't you could be let go.

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