Palm Beach County

Office of the Public Defender - Palm Beach County

LAW CAREER

Our office hires from law schools throughout the state and nation. We are always looking for motivated attorneys from all backgrounds who are dedicated to representing indigent clients.

Most lawyers join our office in August and participate in a two-month-long orientation. During this period, they learn the ropes of local practice through a series of presentations and trainings, eventually shadowing practicing attorneys in the misdemeanor division. At the same time, they learn substantive law by working with an Appellate Division mentor drafting appellate briefs.

Once admitted to the Bar, attorneys are assigned a case load in one of the misdemeanor divisions. They represent defendants accused of crimes punishable by up to one year in jail. The breadth of charges is astounding, including crimes such as driving under the influence, battery, marijuana possession, theft, stalking, prostitution, and criminal mischief. Our attorneys handle each of their cases from start to finish, gaining experience at every step of the legal process. They quickly learn to draft and argue motions, litigate strategically, and negotiate favorable pleas. Most important, they learn to try cases to juries. Typically, our lawyers spend one to two years in misdemeanor court. During this time they face more juries than some lawyers do over the course of a career.

After misdemeanor court, our attorneys extend their practice in other divisions. Attorneys interested in representing children charged with crimes may join the juvenile division.

In preparation for their shift into the felony division, lawyers receive a handful of felony clients after a year of experience. Most of our attorneys are assigned to a courtroom in the felony division within two years of beginning their practice.

Our attorneys will move through several divisions over the course of their career. Depending on interest, experienced attorneys may spend time in the Forensics, Mental Health, Serious Crimes, Major Crimes, or Appellate Divisions.

Our assistant Public Defenders have come from a variety of law schools including:

American University Washington College of Law
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Brooklyn Law School
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Columbia Law School
CUNY School of Law
DePaul College of Law
Duke Law
FIU Law
Florida Coastal School of Law
Florida State University College of Law
Fordham University School of Law
Georgetown Law
Gonzaga University School of Law
GW Law
Harvard Law School
Howard University School of Law
Illinois College of Law
Loyola Law School
Michigan Law, University of Michigan
Michigan State University College of Law
NYU Law
Penn State Law
Regent University Law
Rutgers Law
Samford University Cumberland School of Law
South Texas College of Law
St. Thomas University School of Law
Stetson University College of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
Temple University Beasley School of Law
Texas Law
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Tulane University Law School
UCLA Law
UF Law
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
University of Dayton School of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
University of Miami School of Law
University of Mississippi School of Law
University of New Hampshire School of Law
University of Note Dame Law School
University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
University of Tulsa College of Law
University of Virginia School of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
Washington and Lee School of Law
Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
HOW TO APPLY

Spring graduates should apply by November of their final year of law school. Fall graduates should apply by September of their final year. Applicants should e-mail a resume, writing sample, and references to Jennifer Loyless: jloyless@pd15.org. Interviews are conducted by a panel including the division chiefs and Public Defender Carey Haughwout.

Please note that applications are accepted year round but our traditional hiring cycle is for Spring graduates to start in August, shortly after sitting for the July Florida Bar examination.

STAFF POSITIONS

Investigators, Social Workers and Secretaries are all part of the team working to support our clients! We are interested in hiring hard working, dedicated problem solvers to assist in our rewarding work. If you are interested in or have experience in one of these aspects of our work and would like to apply, please submit a resume and a completed State of Florida job application to:

Scott Mcwebb
Office of the Public Defender, 15th Judicial Circuit
421 3rd Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Those interested in staff positions can email questions to SMcwebb@pd15.org.
Please follow the link below to find the State of Florida job application. http://www.floridajobs.org/forms/personnel/stateemploymentapp.pdf.