Position Information

Position Information Message
Statewide Team Lead: Emerging Adult Litigation
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) seeks a dynamic, dedicated leader to centralize OPD’s efforts to ensure holistic and comprehensive defense for young adults. True holistic and comprehensive defense for emerging adults requires consistency in representation that transcends the venue in which they are being adjudicated. The purpose of this position is to provide uniformity and consistency across the State of Maryland in the representation of children and emerging adults as they transition into the adult criminal justice system. The Emerging Adult Statewide Team Lead will serve as a resource to attorneys across the state by assisting in the implementation of best practices, as well as providing professional development, hands-on training, and support. The Emerging Adult Statewide Team Lead will also be responsible for assisting attorneys implement a team representation model which involved obtaining expert psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers in preparation for transfer/waiver hearings. This position will be located in Baltimore City (6 St. Paul Street, 14th Floor) but will involve travel to jurisdictions across Maryland.

Our 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 remain united as a team in achieving our mission. At OPD we use our legal education and experience to fight for justice and fairness, no matter what 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.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
  • Develops and assists in the implementation of best practices in emerging adult cases as well as complex waiver/transfer hearings across Maryland.
  • Provides support, training, and professional development for Assistant Public Defenders and supervisors on the specific intricacies involved in the representation of emerging adults in criminal and juvenile courts. Including but limited to optimizing expert testimony, developing cohesive and effective mitigation strategies, and developing strong and productive client relationships.
  • Formalize collaborative relations with all 12 Districts to standardize the practice in complex cases involving emerging adults or children charged with the most serious offenses.
  • Advise and assist attorneys with expert psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers in preparation for the transfer/waiver hearing.
  • Consults and partners with Assistant Public Defenders to develop case strategies, tactics and motions for proceedings involving emerging adults as well as juvenile transfer/waiver hearings. 
  • Draft, litigate, and circulate comprehensive motions on issues specific to the representation of emerging adults in complex criminal proceedings.
  • Provide hands on training and professional development for attorneys by collaborating and providing tandem representation in targeted cases involving emerging adults charged with serious offenses.
  • Reviews cases, observes and provides guidance as second chair or in a consulting capacity to Assistant Public Defenders providing representation to emerging adults.
  • Conduct mock-trials in preparation for trials, waiver/transfer hearings, and other proceedings involving emerging adults.
  • Actively participates in the Legislative Affairs Team advocating for OPD’s legislative agenda as it relates to the representation of juveniles and emerging adults in the criminal justice system.
  • Advises Administration, Juvenile Division Chiefs, Deputy District Public Defenders and District Public Defenders on various policy matters and participates in various statewide committees.
  • Attends training session in compliance with OPD Continuing Legal Education Policy requirements.
 Core Competencies and Requirements:
  • Demonstrated commitment to zealous and comprehensive defense practice, including the ability to represent clients in juvenile, criminal, and administrative hearings.
  • Knowledge, training, and experience related to adolescent development, neuroscience, education, mental health treatment, and best practices for juvenile rehabilitation.
  • Criminal trial experience required including significant first chair felony jury trial experience in complex cases, representation of juveniles in delinquency matters, and experience handling transfer and waiver proceedings.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills including the ability: (1) to train and develop attorneys through collaboration on cases and structured training programs; (2) to communicate effectively with children and adolescence; (3) to simplify and explain complex ideas, and (4) to communicate effectively with a range of audiences including people with different backgrounds, ages, and lived experiences.
  • Clear dedication to upending systemic racism, prejudice, and unfairness in the criminal justice system.
  • Compassion.
  • Collaborative work style with the ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state by start date. Attorneys barred in another state must become members of the Maryland Bar within 18 months of start date. 
Position: Statewide Team Lead: Emerging Adult Litigation
Organization: Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Location: Baltimore, MD,  MD 
United States
Salary: Dependent on Experience
Posting Start Date: 12/21/2021
Date Posted: 12/21/2021
If you wish to be considered for this 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) current resume, (2) cover letter addressing the above qualifications, (3) a list of references, and (4) writing sample. In the subject line of the email please indicate “Emerging Adult Team Lead.”  Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Closing Date:  January 25, 2022
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender 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.  Team Leads are full-time employees who serve at the pleasure of the Public Defender. Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d). Team Leads cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position.
Status: This listing expires on: 3/21/2022
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Organization Information
Maryland Office of the Public Defender
6 Saint Paul Street, 14th Floor

Baltimore, MD,  MD 21202
United States
(410) 691-1530
Johanna Leshner