Position Information

Position Information Message
Assistant Public Defender: Parental Defense Division (Baltimore City)
OPD’s vision is for Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All and we are committed to our core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, tenacious advocacy, and unity in achieving our mission. At OPD we use our legal education and experience to fight for justice and fairness, and we refuse to remain silent in the midst of human suffering. Our unique talents, identities, educational backgrounds, and perspectives guide us in representing our clients. We stand up against prejudice, systemic racism, and inequity in all of the spaces we occupy. OPD seeks candidates that will join us in providing compassionate, competent, zealous, and client-centered representation to all of our clients. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Overview of the Position
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Parental Defense Division (PDD), is seeking an advocate and litigator to defend parents and legal guardians in cases in which the State initiates legal action to separate a family in Child In Need of Assistance/Termination of Parental Rights (CINA/TPR) proceedings. PDD represents parents and/or legal guardians whose children have been removed or are at risk of being removed from their care and custody by the State. Attorneys represent clients in adversarial proceedings from the initial Emergency Shelter Care Hearing to the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) trial.
An Assistant Public Defender in the Parental Defense Division is a critical thinker with a demonstrated ability to apply legal analysis in an area of the law that may be unsettled. They must be willing to challenge the system with a healthy sense of outrage and be persistent in the face of ambiguity or outright resistance to their position. Assistant Public Defenders must be able to handle crises, a variety of personalities, and multitask in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. This position will be located in Baltimore City, Maryland. The selected candidates will start with OPD early 2022.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
  • Protect clients’ Constitutional rights to raise and rear their children.
  • Defend clients against allegations of neglect and/or abuse.
  • Zealously and compassionately advocate on behalf of clients at every stage of the proceeding.
  • Engage in motions practice, legal research, and writing.
  • Obtain, organize, and review voluminous records and documents to assist with preparing a defense.
  • Develop and maintain client relationships over the extended life of the case.
  • Collaborate with PDD social workers, criminal defense attorneys, parent advocates, and others as part of a multidisciplinary defense team.
  • Ensure clients are consistently heard and respected. Be non-judgmental and empathetic of clients who present with challenges and/or barriers.
  • Effectively and compassionately communicate with clients, colleagues, and service providers to ensure optimal outcomes for clients. 
  • Continuously seek professional and personal development through training, continuing legal education, and trial skills courses.
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.
  • Compassion and empathy.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with people with different backgrounds and lived experiences. 
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.
  • Strong organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload with short deadlines.
  • Prior experience in litigation including, CINA/TPR, Criminal, Civil, Juvenile, or Family Law preferred (experience may include internships, law school clinical programs, or any other relevant experience).
  • Strong communication and client advocacy skills.
  • Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state. Individuals who are members of the Bar of another State must be admitted to the Maryland Bar within 18 months of start date.  OPD will also consider applicants for this position who recently sat for the June 2021 Bar Examination. Should those applicants not successfully become members of the Bar at the time hiring decisions are made, they will no longer be considered qualified for this position.
Position: Assistant Public Defender: Parental Defense Division (Baltimore City)
Organization: Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Location: Linthicum Heights,  MD 
United States
Salary: Dependent on Experience
Posting Start Date: 12/19/2021
Date Posted: 11/19/2021
Requirements If you wish to be considered for one of these position please click here to fill out the application and please submit the following items in one email to opd-jobs.law@maryland.gov: (1) resume, (2) cover letter, (3) list of references, and (4) law school transcript (if graduated within the last three years). In the subject line of the email please indicate “APD: Parental Defense Division.” Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Closing Date: December 19, 2021
OPD is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourage people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply. Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees who serve at the pleasure of the Public Defender. Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d). They cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position.   
Status: This listing expires on: 2/17/2022
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Organization Information
Maryland Office of the Public Defender
839 Elkridge Landing Road, 4th Floor

Linthicum Heights,  MD 21090
United States
(410) 691-1530
Johanna Leshner