Chief Public Defender (Public Defender V):

The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services is accepting applications for the Chief Public Defender position (PD V) in the 11th Judicial District Public Defender Office, based in Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Chief Public Defender will be the lead supervising attorney of the 11th Judicial District Public Defender Office, which will provide representation for indigent adult felony clients in Crawford, Cherokee, and Labette counties. The Chief Public Defenders of the Kansas public defense system are each leaders within the agency who consistently demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the zealous and dignified representation of indigent defendants.

The Mission

The Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, through its regional public defender offices like the 11th 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 (BIDS) 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 11th Judicial District Public Defender Office is an entirely new office, and the Chief Public Defender will have a role in shaping the office’s foundational culture and practices. We are looking for a dynamic, client-centered leader who is passionate about the importance of public defense and is interested in aiding our efforts to fundamentally rebuild our system into a model of collaborative public defense practice. This position presents a tremendous opportunity to establish the first public defender office in the 11th Judicial District, which is a part of our agency-wide efforts to fundamentally transform public defense across the entire state-wide system.

We are interested in candidates who believe in the importance of mentoring defenders in client-centered holistic defense practices, who appreciate the importance of developing connections with local community leaders, and who believe that every client and every employee is entitled to dignity and respect. The 11th Judicial District is a diverse community with stark economic differences, and this position requires an applicant who has experience working with economically and racially diverse populations.


The Chief of the 11th Judicial District Public Defender Office is responsible for the overall management of the main area Public Defender office in partnership with the Deputy Public Defender. Specific responsibilities include direct personnel mentorship and supervision, general office administration, hiring and discipline of personnel, coordination of periodic in-house trainings, ethical training and oversight, caseload management, case assignments, and all other areas necessary for the best representation possible for our clients.

Additionally, this role will involve creating policies for the office in collaboration with the BIDS Administration Office, building training programs for the office in collaboration with the BIDS Training Division and Administration Office, and an emphasis on building relationships with stakeholders in the 11th Judicial District as the new office is established. In order to effectively administer the office, Chief Public Defenders are expected to carry a reduced caseload.


Minimum requirements for this position include:

  • At least 5 years of criminal defense experience handling major felonies preferred.
  • 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. Attorneys licensed in another state must be willing and able to seek admission to the Kansas bar immediately upon hire.
  • Must have demonstrated experience leading others.
  • Must have exceptional communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to effectively communicate in both oral and written form.
  • Ability to use all necessary electronic systems, including all required E-filing systems and records management systems, as well as case tracking databases.
  • Must be able to effectively handle emergency or crisis situations in a calm and effective manner.
  • Must be able to process, organize, and manage complex litigation.
  • Must possess exceptional organizational and time management skills.
  • Must be able to handle frequent interruptions and multiple calls and inquiries.
  • Must have demonstrated ability to effectively interact with clients, employees, and colleagues in a respectful and appropriate manner.
  • Must be able to maintain confidentiality and able to manage confidential information.
  • Must be willing and able to treat every client, witness, employee, and colleague with dignity and respect.
  • Must be able to demonstrate a commitment to a client-centered practice.
  • Must have a keenly developed and uncompromising set of personal and professional ethics.
  • Must be open to receiving training and the providing training to others.

Highly preferred qualifications include:

  • Prior or current service as a trial-level public defender.
  • Prior administrative or supervisory experience.
  • Prior service as a Chief or Deputy Defender.
  • Prior experience handling personnel issues, including hiring and termination of employees and employee disciplinary issues.
  • Experience developing or leading training programs.
  • Experience creating and implementing new office policies.
  • Ability to demonstrate a continuing commitment to the provision of quality criminal defense services to indigent clients.
  • Experience and/or familiarity with holistic, client-centered public defense practices.
  • Experience in community organizing and the development of local community connections and resources.
  • Experience working with economically and racially diverse populations.

Salary and Benefits

Public Defender V is the highest experienced defender position in our agency. Compensation for this position (Public Defender V) ranges from $92,500.00 – $131,250.00. 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
  • Employee discounts with the STAR Programs
  • Retirement and deferred compensation programs

Application Materials Needed


Cover letter

Writing sample

List of three 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
Human Resources Director
Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services

When emailing application materials, please include “11th Judicial District Chief Application” in your email subject line.

Application deadline: Open until filled, priority given to applications received by January 19, 2024.

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 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

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.

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.