Lead Assistant Public Defender (Public Defender III):

The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is accepting applications for the position of Lead Assistant Public Defender (PD III) in the 29th Judicial District Public Defender Office in Kansas City, Kansas.

The position of Lead Assistant Public Defender is for attorneys with a preferred minimum of 5 years of experience. Attorneys at this level have demonstrated the ability to independently handle all severity level of cases and the most complex matters with supervision.

The Mission

The Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS), through its regional public defender offices like the 29th Judicial District Public Defender Office, represents adults charged with felonies who cannot hire an attorney. By supporting and elevating public defense in the State of Kansas, BIDS empowers its team to provide relentless representation and collaborative, holistic advocacy in service of client-centered outcomes.

The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is in the process of remaking its public defense model with a renewed emphasis on building public defense offices with an interdisciplinary team-based collaborative defense system that uses community connections and resources to better represent not just an individual’s case, but the client as a whole.

The office of the 29th Judicial District Public Defender is entirely new in Wyandotte County. We are looking for dynamic, client-centered advocates who are passionate about the importance of public defense and are interested in aiding our efforts to fundamentally rebuild our system and transform the new public defender office in the 29th Judicial District into a model of collaborative public defense practice.


Lead Assistant Public Defenders possess a fully advanced litigation skill set, and are proficient at comprehensive motions practice. Attorneys at this level are capable of litigating all severity level cases and regularly are involved in complex statutory, procedural, and constitutional issues within their office.

Lead Assistant Public Defenders exhibit an outstanding dedication to the Public Defender system and its clients. Lead Assistant Public Defenders are capable of assuming informal leadership roles within their office in any areas of practice, including acting as a support for their office management team, and/or assisting with the professional development of less experienced attorneys and staff.

When called upon by their Chief Public Defender, Lead Assistant Public Defenders must assume additional responsibilities in assisting with the development, guidance of others, and/or filling agency-wide, Administrative Office-defined needs. These attorneys maintain the highest standards of professionalism, inspire others, and take active steps to create a positive, safe, and supportive office culture.


Minimum requirements for this position include:

Education and Experience:  Must be a graduate from an ABA accredited law school and licensed attorney who is active and in good standing in the State of Kansas at the time of employment. Have a preferred minimum of 5 years of experience in criminal defense or other comparable legal practice.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Must have exceptional communication skills.
  • Ability to effectively communicate in written and oral form.
  • Ability to use all necessary electronic devices including computers, e-filing systems, as well as case management systems.
  • Ability to coordinate with supporting personnel to provide client-centered, holistic representation.
  • Must have appropriate time management skills and organizational skills and demonstrate proficiency of avoiding unnecessary delays in client’s cases through appropriate preparation and planning.
  • Must be able to process, organize and manage complex litigation.
  • Must be able to handle emergency or crisis situations.
  • Must be able to handle frequent interruptions and multiple calls and inquiries.
  • Must be able to effectively interact with clients, co-workers and other colleagues in a respectful and appropriate manner.
  • Must be academically curious about criminal law and procedure.
  • Must be able to treat every client, witness and colleague with dignity and respect without exception.
  • Must demonstrate an on-going commitment to a client-centered practice.
  • Must be able to maintain confidentiality and manage confidential information.
  • Must have a keenly developed and uncompromising set of personal and professional ethics.
  • Occasional travel to other work locations including courts and jail.

Conditions of Employment:

  • Maintain licensure as an active attorney in good standing in the State of Kansas.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license where courts and jails are not located within walking distance of the office.
  • All Employment is subject to the Governor’s salary approval.

Salary and Benefits:

Compensation for this position (Public Defender III) ranges from $72,500.00 – $107,625.00. Salary may vary depending upon experience or qualifications. We are happy to discuss salary expectations with interested applicants.

The State of Kansas Employment Benefits Package includes:

  • First day of employment comprehensive coverage under the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) for medical, prescription drug coverage, dental, and vision Tax advantage accounts are available and include options such as a Health Savings Account, Health Reimbursement Account, and Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Additional voluntary benefits including Hospital Indemnity Insurance, Accident Insurance, and Critical Illness Insurance
  • SEHP members and their covered family members have access to the HealthQuest Health Center at 9th and Kansas Avenue in Topeka for in person and virtual health care services
  • Sick & Vacation leave
  • Work-Life Balance programs: paid parental leave, military leave, jury leave, and funeral leave
  • Paid State Holidays
  • Fitness Centers in select locations
  • Employee discounts with the STAR Program
  • Retirement and deferred compensation programs

Application Materials Needed:

Cover letter
Writing sample
List of three professional references
If you are claiming Veteran’s Preference, please also include your DD214

Send resume, cover letter, writing sample, list of references, and DD214 (if applicable) by email to Tiffany Reed:

Tiffany Reed

Human Resources Director, Administration Office

State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services


When emailing application materials, please include “Lead Assistant Public Defender Application” in your email subject line.

Application deadline: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, open until filled.

Please be aware that if an offer of employment is made, actual employment is subject to two pre-employment conditions which include:

  • Confirmation of licensure as an active attorney in good standing the State of Kansas, or successful admission to the Kansas Bar, prior to start date.
  • Governor’s salary approval.

Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate required:

Each applicant (even non-residents) applying for a State of Kansas job vacancy must obtain and submit a valid Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate within 10 days from the date of the offer letter to the hiring agency by accessing the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website at https://www.kdor.ks.gov/apps/taxclearance/default.aspx. A Tax Clearance Certificate is a comprehensive tax account review to determine and ensure that an individual’s account is compliant with all primary Kansas Tax Laws. A Tax Clearance expires every 90 days.  This is in accordance with Executive Order 2004-03.  If you need assistance with the tax clearance, please contact 785-296-3199 or by email at kdor_specialprojects@ks.gov.

How to Claim Veterans Preference:

Former military personnel or their spouse that have been verified as a “veteran”; under K.S.A. 73-201 will receive an interview if they meet the minimum competency factors of the position.  The veterans’ preference laws do not guarantee the veteran a job. Positions are filled with the best qualified candidate as determined by the hiring manager.

Learn more about claiming Veteran’s Preference

Equal Employment Opportunity:

The State of Kansas is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential elements that create and foster a welcoming workplace. All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, political affiliation, disability or any other factor unrelated to the essential functions of the job.

If you wish to identify yourself as a qualified person with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and would like to request an accommodation, please address the request to the agency recruiter.

Advertised by Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services.