The New Hanover County Office of the Public Defender represents indigent clients in all criminal and juvenile delinquency matters, and parents in abuse, neglect, and dependency matters, and in civil contempt matters. Attorneys will represent indigent criminal clients in district and superior court, as well as parents in abuse, neglect and dependency cases, and any and all other related matters. Lawyers must be cross-trained and capable of handling all casework required to provide quality legal services for indigent clients. Additionally, the applicant will be required to represent clients in treatment court, mental health court, and first appearances.
All applicants must have a strong desire and commitment to client advocacy and indigent defense. Attorney must be attentive to detail, organized, possess an ability to effectively communicate and litigate cases in the courtroom and have exceptional legal research and writing skills. A high level of technology and computer knowledge is essential.
All Assistant Public Defenders must be capable of handling difficult cases and clients, while maintaining positive professional relationships with co-workers, clients, and the public. Attorneys are expected to visit clients at the jail and in prison facilities, and to travel outside the office to conduct other investigative procedures.
As public service employees, it is expected that all Assistant Public Defenders will engage in community service and participate in outreach programs relevant to the services we are providing, including volunteer programs which occur during evening and weekends.
The New Hanover County Office of the Public Defender strives to create a diverse staff with expertise and interest in serving our indent clients who come to use with diverse needs, backgrounds, ethnicities, and disabilities.
Although attorneys are specifically assigned to the New Hanover office, there may be occasions when attorneys are required to report to the Pender office for training, meetings, and other work obligations.
The ability to fluently speak Spanish is preferred but not required.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities / Competencies Knowledge of: Federal, State, common and constitutional law; judicial procedures and rules of evidence; case, statutory, regulatory and common law; NC General Statutes to defend criminal cases, juvenile cases, child support contempt cases and parent representation cases; and legal research methods.
Applicants must be familiar with and prepared to represent parents in abuse/neglect and dependency matters.
Applicants will likely be assigned DWI cases and need to be prepared to represent clients with complicated impaired driving cases.
Applicant will likely be assigned to cover treatment court, teen court and other initiatives that may arise to better serve our community.
Applicant will be expected to cover all areas of indigent representation.
Skills required: Applicant must have persuasive communicate, writing, interviewing, and organizational skills.
Applicant must be able to analyze facts, laws, rules, regulations, interpretations, and related written documents and apply applicable law to those facts; conduct legal research; plan, develop and execute an effective litigation strategy to achieve desired results; prepare, organize and conduct witness examinations; deliver opening statements, closing arguments, and evidentiary objections; and express complex legal concepts and related facts in a clear and concise manner; and maintain a high volume caseload in a professional and efficient manner.
Minimum Education and Experience Requirements Juris Doctor degree from an ABA accredited law school and an active license to practice law in North Carolina. Applicants awaiting NC Bar licensure will be considered.
Applicants with experience in criminal district and/or criminal superior court trials is helpful but not required. Spanish language fluency is preferred but not required.
Attach a résumé and a persuasive cover letter describing your personal and professional credentials for employment and identify the location where you prefer to be assigned.
**Applications without a résumé and cover letter will not be considered.**
You may email your résumé and cover letter to Jennifer.Harjo@nccourts.org or attach to your application.