Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist (Public Defender III)

The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) is accepting applications for the position of Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist (Public Defender III) in the BIDS Administrative Office in Topeka, Kansas.

The Mission
The Kansas State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, through its regional public defender offices and assigned counsel program, 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 BIDS Administration Office supports the work of all BIDS employees and assigned and contract counsel. We are looking for a dynamic, client-centered Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist who is passionate about the importance of public defense and zealous representation, and is interested in aiding our efforts to fundamentally rebuild our system into a model of collaborative public defense practice.

Responsibilities and qualifications

The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist position is located in the BIDS Administrative Office in Topeka and is supervised by the Executive Director. The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist serves an important role in the agency, communicating, providing information to, meeting with, and appearing before the legislature and other stakeholders on statutes and regulations of interest to the agency, fostering and managing stakeholder involvement and collaborations, as well as assisting the Executive Director with planning, organizing, and executing internal and external communication activities for the agency. Specifically, the Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist will:

  • Serve as a liaison with Kansas Legislators on behalf of the Kansas Board of Indigents Defense Services and relay pertinent information to the Executive Director on legislative
  • Assist in preparation of proposed legislative changes to criminal law, procedures, and regulations.
  • Track legislation of interest to the agency and provide information relative thereto to the Executive Director.
  • Attend and monitor legislative hearings as needed or directed.
  • Assist the Executive Director with BIDS budget-related legislative advocacy.
  • Serve as the Co-Chair of the BIDS Legislative Committee.
  • Draft and provide legislative testimony as necessary.
  • Appear before and provide information to the Legislature regarding statutory/regulation issues affecting the agency or public defense in general.
  • Prepare presentations and materials for various audiences, including justice system stakeholders and legislative bodies.
  • Serve as a resource and provide support to staff on agency related issues and legislation.
  • Create positive relationships and maintain clear and consistent communication with lawmakers, the public, members of the media, community leaders, agency partners, and a variety of system stakeholders.
  • Lead and coordinate collaborations and coalitions involving members of the agency and other stakeholders on programs, projects, and topics that are a priority to the agency.
  • Assist in the ongoing development and expansion of agency related education and outreach efforts.
  • Support the Executive Director in proactively planning, organizing, and executing internal and external communication projects that align with, articulate, support, and reinforce agency legislative priorities, initiatives, goals, and values.
  • Develop communications plans for proactive responses to breaking news, as appropriate, ensuring the agency’s voice is heard with respect to the agency’s priorities, goals, and values.
  • Write articles, newsletters, speeches, reports, and other publications in support of legislative initiatives.
  • Conduct or coordinate interviews, media appearances and public appearances.
  • Participate in editing of agency newsletter.
  • Perform such other tasks and duties as may be assigned by the Executive Director related to the agency’s primary mission to fulfill the constitutional promise of a zealous defense.

The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist consistently advances the ideal of a client-centered, holistic public defender system, both internally within the agency and in their interactions with outside legal system stakeholders, and exhibits an outstanding dedication to the public defender system and its clients. The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist must inspire others and take active steps to ensure that high-quality, high-impact communications are created for both internal and external audiences that advance the agency’s values. The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist must maintain the highest standard of professionalism and demonstrate an ability to respectfully and successfully work with colleagues, legislators, clients, courts, the public, and other stakeholders.

The attorney in this position must know and comply with the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA’s Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense Function (2017), and all Board of Indigents’ Defense Services statutes, administrative regulations, and internal policies.

The Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist must demonstrate a willingness to collaborate across teams and an ability to positively receive feedback and to integrate that feedback into their work. In addition to successfully completing all required trainings, the Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist must continue to actively advance the state-wide level of public defense practice by seeking additional learning opportunities, both for themselves and others.

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 as an attorney, significant knowledge and understanding of public defense work, and significant experience in public policy, advocacy, and legislative affairs.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills are essential.
  • Knowledge of the agency’s practices, values, policies, and procedures.
  • Ability to establish and guide the direction of teams in developing solutions to identified problems.
  • Must have the skills and abilities to foster teamwork and positively and effectively resolve disputes.
  • Must be able to think creatively, to problem-solve, and to adapt to changing priorities.
  • Must have the ability to synthesize information and express complex concepts in a clear and compelling manner, including the ability to translate legal and legislative language so that it can be easily understood by the media and members of the public.
  • Must be able to prepare credible testimony for legislative purposes.
  • Must have strong attention to detail and appropriate time management and organizational skills, with the ability to prioritize various tasks effectively.
  • Must have the ability to be discreet, to maintain confidentiality, and manage confidential information.
  • Must demonstrate an on-going commitment to a client-centered practice, and a keenly developed and uncompromising set of personal and professional ethics.
  • Ability to use all necessary electronic devices including computers, e-filing systems, case management systems, and Microsoft Office programs.
  • Ability to travel both statewide and out-of-state.

Conditions of Employment:

  • Maintain licensure as an active attorney in good standing in the State of Kansas.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • All Employment is subject to the Governor’s salary approval.

Salary and Benefits
Compensation for this position (Legislative Staff Attorney & Communications Specialist) ranges from $72,500- $107,625. 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: https://oitsapps.ks.gov/da/ops/star/
  • Retirement and deferred compensation programs

Application Materials Needed

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

Send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and list of references, and DD214 (if applicable) by email to Bryan Crouch at bidsrecruiter@sbids.org:

Bryan Crouch
Human Resources Professional, Administration Office
State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services

When emailing application materials, please include “Legislative Staff Attorney” in your email subject line.

Position is 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 in the State of Kansas.
  • 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: https://admin.ks.gov/offices/personnel-services/jobs/veterans-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.