Attorneys

Full Time
Attorneys quickly gain a substantial amount of trial experience beginning with misdemeanor cases and progressing to felonies of increasing complexity. It is not unusual for experienced attorneys to have done over 40 felony jury trials. Many senior attorneys in the Department have tried in excess of 75 felony jury trials. Several attorneys have been lead counsel in capital cases. Some attorneys are State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialists. 

Attorneys discuss their cases with more experienced attorneys during staffing meetings and, when appropriate, have mentor attorneys. Newer attorneys quickly gain a substantial amount of trial experience at both the misdemeanor and felony level. Contra Costa County consistently ranks at the top of the state's counties in terms of the number of cases tried to a jury verdict. Attorneys interested in learning the skills of trial advocacy can become able trial lawyers in a relatively short period of time. New misdemeanor attorneys average 1-2 jury trials each month along with a substantial motion practice. 

Representation of clients is vertical: attorneys in the office handle their own cases from the beginning to the end of representation. Our policy is to rotate attorneys among both office locations and geographical areas of the County so that experience can be gained practicing in all courts and in all our practice groups. 

Selection Process
Attorneys are selected from a large pool of interested candidates. The Office of Public Defender recruits attorney candidates from diverse backgrounds with a record of high academic achievement from law schools nationwide. In addition to educational prerequisites, the most highly qualified candidates may have related job experience and other characteristics that will make them successful practitioners in the highly competitive criminal justice environment in Contra Costa County. Applicants undergo a screening, interview and testing process. Applications for temporary attorneys are accepted on a continuous basis by sending a resume and cover letter to Robin Lipetzky, Department Head.

Salary and Benefits
Temporary Attorneys
Deputy Public Defender - Special Assignment

Temporary attorneys gain experience which can enhance their credentials as candidates for permanent civil service positions in our department or in other Public Defender offices. 

Benefits for temporary attorneys include:
  • Medical plan
  • 15 days personal leave
  • State Bar dues