Position Information

Position Information Message
Chief Public Defender of the Western Regional Public Defender (Garden City, Kansas)

ATTORNEY- the Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is accepting applications for the Chief Public Defender of the Western Regional Public Defender Office in Garden City, Kansas.
The Chief Public Defender is the lead supervising attorney of the Western Regional Public Defender Office. The Western Regional Public Defender is located in Garden City, Kansas and covers indigent felony appointments in Finny County and occasionally surrounding communities as needed. The Chief Public Defenders of the Kansas public defense system are each leaders within our agency who consistently demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the zealous and dignified representation of the poor.
The Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, through its regional public defender offices like the Western Regional Public Defender represent adults charged with felonies who cannot hire an attorney. Our mission is to provide a high quality, zealous defense for our clients in every case.

The Mission

The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is in the process of recreating its public defense model with a renewed emphasis on building public defense offices with an interdisciplinary team-based holistic defense system that uses community connections and resources to better represent not just an individual’s case, but the client as a whole.

We are looking for a dynamic, client-centered leader who is passionate about the importance of public defense and is interested in aiding our efforts to fundamentally rebuild our system and transform our offices, including the Western Regional Public Defender Office, into a model of holistic public defense practice. This position presents a tremendous opportunity to become a founding leader in our efforts to fundamentally remake the face of public defense not just in Garden City, but in the entire Kansas Public Defense System.

We are interested in candidates who believe in the importance of training defenders in client-centered holistic defense practices, who appreciate the importance of developing connections with local community leaders as part of the establishment of a participatory defense hub, and who believe that every client and every employee is entitled to dignity and respect. Garden City is a remarkably diverse community with stark economic differences across the region, therefore this position requires an applicant who has experience working with economically and racially diverse populations.


The Chief Public Defender is responsible for the overall management of the Western Regional Public Defender office. Specific responsibilities include personnel supervision, general office administration, hiring and discipline of personnel, coordination of periodic in-house trainings, ethical training and oversight, caseload management, case assignments, and all other areas necessary for the best representation possible for our clients. In order to effectively administer the office, Chief Public Defenders are expected to carry a reduced caseload.
Position: Chief Public Defender of the Western Regional Public Defender (Garden City, Kansas)
Organization: Kansas State Board of Indigent Defense Services
Location: Topeka,  KS 
United States
Salary: $79,875 - $85,000
Posting Start Date: 2/18/2021
Date Posted: 2/18/2021
Requirements Minimum requirements for this position include:
  • Graduation from an ABA accredited law school.
  • At least 5 years of criminal defense experience handling major felonies.
  • Applicants must also either be currently licensed to practice law in the State of Kansas or their license in another state must be in good standing and they must be willing and able to seek admission to the Kansas bar immediately upon hire.
  • Must also have demonstrated experience leading others.
  • Must have exceptional communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to effectively communicate in both oral and written form.
  • Ability to use all necessary electronic systems, including all required E-filing systems and records management systems, as well as case tracking databases.
  • Must be able to effectively handle emergency or crisis situations in a calm and effective manner.
  • Must be able to process, organize, and manage complex litigation.
  • Must be able to handle frequent interruptions and multiple calls and inquiries.
  • Must have demonstrated ability to effectively interact with clients, employees, and colleagues in a respectful and appropriate manner.
  • Must be able to maintain confidentiality and able to manage confidential information.
  • Must be willing and able to treat every client, witness, employee, and colleague with dignity and respect.
  • Must be able to demonstrate a commitment to a client-centered practice.
  • Must possess exceptional organizational and time management skills.
  • Must have a keenly developed and uncompromising set of personal and professional ethics.

Highly preferred qualifications include:
  • Prior or current service as a trial public defender.
  • Prior administrative or supervisory experience.
  • Prior service as a Chief Defender.
  • Prior experience handling personnel issues, including hiring and termination of employees and employee disciplinary issues.
  • Experience developing or leading training programs.
  • Ability to demonstrate a continuing commitment to the provision of quality criminal defense services to poor clients. 
  • Experience and/or familiarity with holistic, client-centered public defense practices.
  • Experience in community organizing and the development of local community connections and resources.
  • Experience and/or familiarity with participatory defense models.
  • Experience working with economically and racially diverse populations.
A Public Defender V is the highest experienced defender position in our agency. Annual salary for this Chief Public Defender position is between  $79,875 – $85,000, dependent upon experience.

Application Materials Needed  
Send resume, cover letter, list of references, and Kansas Tax Clearance form to:
Heather Cessna,
Executive Director,
Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services
by email to hcessna@sbids.org
When emailing application materials, please include “Western Reg PD Chief Application” in your email subject line.
Application deadline: Open Until Filled, priority given to applications received by February 25, 2021. 
Please be aware that if an offer of employment is made, actual employment is subject to two pre-employment conditions which include:
  • Successful admission to the Kansas Bar or confirmation of an active Kansas license.
  • Governor’s salary approval.
Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate Required: Each applicant (even non-residents) applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain a valid Kansas Certificate of Tax Clearance by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue's website. A Tax Clearance is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual's account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws. A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days. All applicants, including current state employees, are responsible for submitting a valid certificate with all other application materials to the hiring agency. This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03. If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199.
Veterans' Preference Eligible (VPE): Former military personnel or their spouse that have been verified as a "veteran"; under K.S.A. 73-201 will receive an interview if they meet the minimum competency factors of the position. The veterans' preference laws do not guarantee the veteran a job. Positions are filled with the best qualified candidate as determine by the hiring manager.
Equal Employment Opportunity:  The State of Kansas is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential elements that create and foster a welcoming workplace. All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, political affiliation, disability or any other factor unrelated to the essential functions of the job.
If you wish to identify yourself as a qualified person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and would like to request an accommodation, please address the request to the agency recruiter.
Advertised by Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services

Status: This listing expires on: 5/19/2021
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Organization Information
Kansas State Board of Indigent Defense Services
700 SW Jackson Street, Suite 500

Topeka,  KS 66603
United States
(785) 296-6631
Heather Cessna