Description:

About this Opportunity!
The Office of the Public Defender is currently accepting applications for attorney positions in our Billings OPD- Region 3 Office.

Ideal candidates for these positions are attorneys currently licensed to practice in Montana. Additional potential candidates will include both recent graduates planning to take the July 2022 Montana bar exam and attorneys presently licensed in other states and eligible for admission in Montana. (Successful candidates who are not yet sworn into the Montana State Bar will be hired at a training wage until successful admission).

Job Overview: Public Defenders render legal services for all cases handled by the Office of the Public Defender including: felony and misdemeanor criminal charges; youth court proceedings; involuntary mental health or developmental disability commitments; representing parents and children in dependent/neglect matters; and guardianship or conservatorship proceedings, as described in the Montana Public Defender Act Title 47 http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0470/chapters_index.html. Additionally, Public Defenders are expected to exercise their own professional judgment and provide competent indigent defense casework for clients.

Public Defenders must have a passion, commitment, and willingness to work collaboratively with underprivileged populations to, not only, ensure that needed services are provided, they continually advocate and strive to improve the level of services OPD provides to its clients.

Other Major Duties and Responsibilities 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, and 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;
  • Conducts all phases of trial in court, including jury trials;
  • Recommends bond and participates in bond hearings;
  • Reviews petitions for probation revocations;
  • Participates in 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;
  • Shows commitment and willingness to work with underprivileged populations, including those facing socio-economic adversity and mental health issues, assessing needs, making referrals and ensuring that services are provided to clients.

Knowledge Skills and Abilities:
  • Knowledge of legal and court policies, procedures, practices, terminology and systems, state and federal laws, and rules and regulations;
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of law enforcement;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Skilled in negotiation, problem-solving and decision-making practices;
  • Self-motivation;
  • Ability to remain flexible;
  • Client-oriented and customer service skills;
  • Capable of spotting and framing issues to advance the client’s interests;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients, the public, witnesses, judges/court personnel, and law enforcement/prosecution personnel.

Physical and Environmental Demands:
This position works in an office and court setting and has regular visits with clients in jail, detention centers, and mental health facilities. Requires exposure to stressful situations and occasional travel to attend court, trainings, and provide services to clients.

Qualifications:
Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):
The minimum requirements include:
  • Juris Doctor (JD) from an ABA accredited law school.
  • Membership in the State Bar or ability to achieve membership in the Montana state bar during a probationary period.

To learn more about Admissions to the State Bar of Montana go to http://montanabar.site-ym.com/?page=AdmissionInfo.

Applicant Pool Statement: If another department vacancy occurs in this job title within six months, the same applicant pool may be used for the selection.

Training Assignment: This agency may use a training assignment. Employees in training assignments may be paid below the base pay established by the agency pay rules. Conditions of the training assignment will be stated in writing at the time of hire.