The Colorado State Public Defender is a statewide agency dedicated to providing quality representation to each and every client in the 21 regional trial offices. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that every applicant understands that ability and willingness to be placed in any of the 21 regional offices is a prerequisite for employment with this office. Requests for transfers to other offices can be made after 2 years of satisfactory employment with the Public Defender but all initial placements are at the sole discretion of the State Public Defender.
The majority of this office’s new hires are entry-level attorneys and placements are made as positions become available in regional offices, normally through attrition. There is no guarantee when or where a newly hired attorney will be placed once s/he has accepted a job with this office, although newly hired attorneys are typically placed in our system within a year of graduation from law school.
Newly hired attorneys are assigned to handle misdemeanor and traffic cases in county court. Caseloads will vary by regional office depending on the size of the office and whether the office covers multiple counties. Assignment to more serious cases occurs once an attorney has demonstrated the necessary skill to conduct a felony jury trial and manage a full docket of felony cases.
The Colorado Public Defender prides itself on hiring client-centered applicants who are dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of the underprivileged who are accused of crimes. This office conducts over 1,500 jury trials each year; therefore strong hiring preference is given to applicants who have participated in a law school clinical program or interned for a public defender program where they were actually able to represent clients in court. This office hires few applicants who have not participated in one or both. Additionally, since this office has an extensive and mandatory training program for newly hired attorneys (see our training page), a proven desire and ability to improve and expand an applicant’s trial skills is also given preference.
The entry-level salary is $4,773 per month upon licensure. Interviews for applicants taking the February or July Colorado bar examination are conducted in the fall, with hiring decisions announced no later than March for May graduates. Interviews may be conducted at other times depending on the needs of the system. All interviews will be conducted in person or via Skype or Facetime.
The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation or religion; nor does it discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability capable of performing the duties of his or her position.