Trial Attorney - Mental Health Lead
Public Defender Services of Lane County, Inc., is looking for a felony-qualified attorney to lead our mental health advocacy in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley. The ideal candidate will have education and experience in mental health, mental health treatment systems and other social service agencies involved in supporting individuals with mental health and cognitive disabilities.
Individuals with mental illness are overrepresented in every stage of the criminal justice system in Lane County. Due to a lack of state and county funding, seriously ill defendants wait in jail substantially longer to resolve their case or are at risk of re-incarceration due to a lack of available treatment resources. The caseload for this position will include individuals who have been identified as having a mental health diagnosis or intellectual disabilities in both criminal and civil commitment cases. The attorney will be responsible for organizing timely and effective evaluations for competency, GEI, diminished capacity, or mitigation. The attorney will advocate for meaningful and appropriate treatment as part of the resolution of the case. The ideal candidate will be able to continue existing relationships with community partners and establish new connections to further the goals of client-centered representation for this population.
This position is for an experienced attorney who will look for creative solutions to complex problems while prioritizing the client’s interest. The attorney will help mentor or supervise newer attorneys on the mental health team. The mental health team will develop recommendations for best practices for representing individuals with mental illness and assist in policy recommendations to make our system work better for those with mental illness. The attorney will also be responsible for adult criminal cases without mental health concerns, including those charged with property crimes, drugs, and allegations of violence.
The job puts you in contact with people from every walk of life, and we are seeking a candidate who can defend the people that society has cast aside, craft thoughtful legal arguments and wade through mountains of discovery to find that one key piece of evidence that everyone else overlooked. The best candidate will triage a heavy caseload, fearlessly take cases to trial when it is in the client's best interest to do so, and craft thoughtful resolutions for clients who want to resolve their case without litigation.
Full time trial attorneys are generally responsible for a caseload of 20 to 30 new cases a month. Attorneys in our office are the first person a client sees in the jail, and they are responsible for the case from the day the Court appoints us to whenever the case is finally resolved, including referring cases for appeal and fixing sentencing issues. Attorneys are tireless advocates in and out of the courtroom, with strong client skills, professional in their dealings with everyone in the criminal justice system, and able to interact successfully in an office of 43 other legal professionals.