Wayne County's Public Defense Services Unit is developing a staff of dedicated professionals who are committed to excellence in criminal defense representation at the trial court level, and equal access to justice. The PDS Unit launched in August of 2020 with the hiring of its Director of Public Defense Services. Reporting to the Director, the Assigned Counsel Administrator will oversee an Assignment Coordinator, Attorney Roster Coordinator, and Defense Investigator/Expert Administrators. The PDSU is state funded through a grant from the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC).
The PDSU will manage the entire indigent defense system in Wayne County's Third Circuit Court, Michigan's largest trial court handling more than 15,000 assignments of counsel in felony cases that originate in the county's numerous district courts. In 2020, approximately 75% of the assignments were handled by about 200 private assigned counsel who were qualified by the Court to handle cases in four Tiers, or categories, of cases. The remaining 25% of assignments went to the Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit (NDSD), Wayne County's new public defender unit.
- Juris Doctor (JD) from an accredited law school.
- At least five years of experience practicing law.
- Preferred Experience: Experience as a lawyer within the criminal justice system; management of budgets, personnel and data; and proficiency in public policy advocacy and communication with criminal justice system stakeholders.
- Licensed Attorney in State of Michigan.
Please include a cover letter and resume with your application
DESCRIPTION OF MAJOR JOB DUTIES
The Assigned Counsel Administrator will play a key role in managing the private assigned counsel segment of the system and coordinating services with the Court and NDSD. A principal goal of the PDS Unit is to equalize available resources and quality of representation for all clients receiving assigned counsel, whether a private roster attorney or NDSD staff attorney. Support of the private bar will include access to investigators and experts, litigation support, training (coordinated through the NDSD), and reasonable fees. Policy and budget advocacy on behalf of the system will be key roles of both the PDSU Director and Assigned Counsel Administrator. The Assigned Counsel Administrator will work closely with the Third Circuit Court through the role-transition period, and beyond, building on the work done by Court leadership and staff. The Administrator also will collaborate with assigned counsel, including the Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association, and other defense organizations.
Responsibilities of the Assigned Counsel Administrator include:
- Providing assistance to the Director in the development and coordination of compliance plans and cost analysis for MIDC standards and best practices;
- Directly supervising four staff members in performing case assignment and attorney qualification and performance review functions (number expected to grow in future years);
- Working with the Third Circuit Court to transition assignment, invoicing, attorney qualification and performance review functions;
- Developing and supervising a cost-effective, automated and fair case assignment process;
- Developing and supervising an attorney qualification and performance review process;
- Developing and supervising an attorney payment system;
- Checking the accuracy of attorney requests for payment and supervising staff that performs such validation;
- Identifying and working to solve issues concerning private assigned counsel;
- Developing and advocating for reasonable fees;
- Developing resources for private assigned counsel that are comparable to those provided by Wayne County's Public Defender Unit, based on national best practices;
- Responding to client inquiries and complaints; Reporting on assigned counsel activities to stakeholders, including the MIDC, Wayne County Commission, and Third Circuit Court; and
- Other duties as assigned.