To be considered for OPD positions, applicantsmust complete and submit their application online, as well as upload anyrequired application materials.
No additional materials arerequired during the application submission process, however, selectedapplicants may be required to produce a writing sample at the time of aninterview.
We provide effectiveprofessional legal services with equalaccess to quality client-centeredrepresentation.
As trained legal professionals we strive to represent our clients in aneffectiveand efficient manner to ensure a more fair and balanced justicesystem. We are dedicated and committed to improving overall outcomes for ourclientsand addressing the conditions that led to their involvement withthe justice system.
Reasons to work for the Office ofthe Public Defender:Our work changes lives! The work OPD does, makesa difference for the people in our communities.Public Defenders work fortheir clients, protect constitutional rights and ensure the system remainsfair. We are proud of the work we do,to find out more about OPD visit our website HERE.
Benefits of working for OPD:Theability to work and play in the beautiful state of Montanais one of the benefits you will love about this opportunity! Other fantastic benefits include:
- Health Coverage
- Retirement plans
- Paid vacation, sick leave and Holidays
- Work/life balance
- Flexible schedules
- Opportunities and room for professional growth
Public Service Loan Forgiveness- Employment with the State of Montana may qualify you to receive loanforgiveness- click HERE to learn more!
PositionLocation Announcement:Theprimary location of this position will depend on the location of the successfulapplicant, however, this position is required to commute to Billings (2-3 daysper week), depending on court assignments.
Job Overview: Public Defenders render legalservices for all cases handled by the Office of the Public Defender including:felony and misdemeanor criminal charges; youth court proceedings; involuntarymental health or developmental disability commitments; representing parents andchildren in dependent/neglect matters; and guardianship orconservatorship proceedings, as described in the Montana Public Defender ActTitle 47http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0470/chapters_index.html.Additionally,Public Defenders are expected to exercise their ownprofessional judgment and provide competent indigent defense casework forclients.
Other Major Duties andResponsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Serves as defense attorney for indigent criminal defendants and other persons in civil cases who are entitled by law to assistance of counsel.
- Prepares for and appears with clients at all pretrial and trial proceedings and hearings.
- Conducts investigations; obtains formal and informal discovery; develops a theory of the case; researches legal issues, prepares, files and argues appropriate motions.
- Negotiate settlements or changes of plea.
- Interviews clients to evaluate evidence and assess strength of case.
- Analyzes charging documents, police reports and discovery material and evidence for assigned criminal cases.
- Prepares trial briefs and conducts all phases of trial in court, including jury trials.
- Recommends bond and participates in bond hearings.
Reviewspetitions for probation revocations.
Participatesin sentencing hearing
- Prepares motions for a new trial.
- Develops overall defense strategies.
Keeps current with the statutes,rules, and cases regarding both procedural and substantive legal issues.
Showscommitment and willingness to work with underprivileged populations, includingthose facing socio-economic adversity and mental health issues, assessingneeds, making referrals and ensuring that services are provided to clients.
Knowledge Skills andAbilities:
Knowledgeof legal and court policies, procedures, practices, terminology and systems;state and federal laws; rules and regulations.
Knowledgeof the principles and practices of law enforcement
Excellentverbal and written communication skills
Skilledin negotiation, problem-solving and decision-making practices
Abilityto remain flexible
Client-orientedand customer service skills
Capableof spotting and framing issues to advance the client’s interests.
Abilityto establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients, thepublic, witnesses, judges/ court personnel, and law enforcement/prosecutionpersonnel
Physical andEnvironmental Demands:This position worksin an office and court setting and has regular visits with clients in jail,detention centers, and mental health facilities. Requires exposure to stressful situations andoccasional travel to attend court, trainings and provide services to clients.
Qualifications (Educationand Experience):
The minimum requirements include a Juris Doctor (JD) from an ABA accredited lawschool. Ideal candidates will include recent graduates or experienced attorneyswho have a strong desire to work in indigent defense. Admission to the StateBar of Montana is required upon date of hire.
To learn more about Admissions to the State Bar of Montana check out this website at http://montanabar.site-ym.com/?page=AdmissionInfoWhenis the deadline to apply? The deadline for the February exam is October 1st andthe deadline for the July exam is March 15th.
If another department vacancy occurs in this job title within six months, the same applicant pool may be used for the selection.