Position Information

Position Information Message
Assistant Defender
We are seeking an entry-level Assistant Defender at Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office to provide legal representation to our indigent clients, who are appealing felony convictions. The position is available at SADO’s Detroit or Lansing locations.  Third-year law students and current law clerks are encouraged to apply.
SADO is Michigan’s award-winning, statewide, indigent appellate defense provider. SADO attorneys represent indigent clients for direct appeal or other post-conviction proceedings, involving challenges to convictions and sentences following guilty pleas and trials. Appellate work in Michigan is unique, as Michigan is one of the only states in the country that allows appellate attorneys to develop new evidence and hold evidentiary hearings in trial courts during the direct appeal. Assistant Defenders engage in a wide range of legal work, including research and writing, argument and presentation of evidence in the trial courts, as well as argument in various appellate courts, including the Michigan Supreme Court and occasionally in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Additionally, attorneys routinely travel to Michigan’s various prisons and jails for client meetings. Attorneys work with investigators, mitigation specialists, and experts to reduce sentences, advocate for new trials and fact-based exonerations, and shape the legal landscape. A career at SADO offers the satisfaction of impacting individual clients, protecting rights, and fighting injustice.
SADO offers intensive training and mentoring, and fosters an environment of success and support. With offices in a major revitalized city and the state capital, SADO’s fifty-plus staff members form a community advocating for clients and a fair criminal justice system. Visit www.sado.org to learn more.
Position: Assistant Defender
Organization: State Appellate Defender Office
Location: Detroit,  MI 
United States
Salary: 54k-57k
Posting Start Date: 1/16/2019
Date Posted: 1/16/2019
Requirements Qualified candidates must either be current members of the Michigan Bar, eligible to waive into the bar, or eligible to sit for the July 2019 bar exam and be admitted to the bar within six months of hire.  Applicants must have outstanding skills in legal research and writing, communication, and trial and appellate court advocacy.  Strong computer skills in MS Word and Adobe are also required. A demonstrated commitment to indigent defense, public service, and clerkship experience are preferred.
DETAILS:  The starting pay range for this entry level position is 54k-57k.  Benefits include health, dental, vision, 401k/457 plans, twelve paid holidays, three weeks of vacation during the first year, training, and a flexible work environment.

To apply:  Submit a cover letter stating your interest in the position and office location preference. Include your resume, a redacted writing sample, and a copy of your law school transcripts.
Writing Sample Special Instructions:  As part of its commitment to diversity in the workplace and goal to prevent hiring bias, SADO has adopted an objective process to evaluate applicant materials. We ask that applicants submit redacted writing samples, which will be reviewed without access to applicant information and scored based on objective criteria. Your name, address, work affiliation, and jurisdictional identifiers should be redacted from your writing sample.  Files should be named generically, and your name should not be a part of the filename.  For example, you can name the file WS1.pdf or WritingSample.pdf. 
Applications should be submitted by February 15, 2019 to:
Attn:  Wendy Dealca
State Appellate Defender Office
645 Griswold, Ste 3300
Detroit, MI  48226
Email:  wdealca@sado.org    Fax:  313-965-0372
SADO is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, LGBTQ people, veterans, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply, as are individuals with past involvement in the justice system.
Status: This listing expires on: 4/16/2019
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Organization Information
State Appellate Defender Office
645 Griswold
Ste 3300
Detroit,  MI 48226
United States
Wendy Dealca


December 15, 2018: Registration is now open for NAPD's Spring Events:
  • Executive Leadership Insitute (Frankfort, KY)
  • Train the Trainer (Frankfort, KY)
  • "We the Defenders" Investigators Conference (Biloxi, MS)
  • "We the Defenders" Social Workers/Sentencing AdvocatesConference (Biloxi, MS)
  • Team Mitigation Institute (Atlanta, GA)
Click on Events Tab for more info and to register.

October 30, 2018: NAPD releases a video about its achievements over the 5 years since forming in November in 2013. This films was coordinated by NAPD Steering Committee Member and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and debuted at the Racial Justice Training and 5 Year Celebration in Baltimore, Maryland. You can watch the video HERE

July 1, 2018: General Registration opens for the “WE THE DEFENDERS” TRAINING CONFERENCE,  November 26-29, 2018, Indianapolis, IN

You can watch a video about the event HERE 

Due to overwhelming demand, NAPD will again offer this comprehensive Investigator and Social Worker/Sentencing Advocate training experience! The program will include one track for Investigators and a separate track for Social Worker/Sentencing Advocates.  Hear from nationally recognized experts who will share their knowledge on a wide range of topics relevant to the work you do each and every day.  Network with other criminal defense practitioners from around the country and find your tribe. 

January 23, 2018: In response to US Attorney General Jeff Session's reversal of prior policy on the imposition of fines and fees for criminal defendants, NAPD submitted the following letter on behalf of the public defender community. You can read the letter HERE