The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) seeks a dedicated and zealous litigator to serve as an Assistant Public Defender in the Mental Health Division (MHD). The Mental Health Division protects and advances the rights of indigent persons with mental illness in administrative hearings, as well as in District and Circuit Court civil proceedings. The involuntary commitment of an indigent client to a psychiatric hospital or court-ordered involuntary outpatient psychiatric treatment is a severe curtailment of liberty that cannot be accomplished without due process of law. Mental Health attorneys are responsible for the representation of criminal defendants committed to state hospitals pursuant to a finding of not criminally responsible (NCR), at subsequent release hearings before judges and juries across the State, clients in involuntary civil commitment hearings before administrative law judges, and in appellate hearings before circuit courts. In July of 2025, attorneys in the MHD will represent indigent persons with mental illness in civil forced outpatient treatment hearings before judges and juries in circuit courts in every Maryland county.  MOPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in law practice to apply.


MOPD’s vision is for Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. We are committed to our core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, and tenacious advocacy, and we remain united as a team in achieving our mission. At MOPD we use our legal education and experience to fight for justice and fairness, no matter what, and we refuse to remain silent amid human suffering. Our unique talents, identities, educational backgrounds, and perspectives guide us in representing our clients. We stand up against prejudice, systemic racism, and inequity in all the spaces we occupy. Learn more about our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Overview of the Position  

An Assistant Public Defender in the MHD combines demonstrated dedication to the representation of indigent clients with strong leadership and litigation skills to ensure the highest standard of representation on behalf of all MHD clients.  An attorney in this position is expected to independently manage an active caseload while working in a team-oriented environment with a client-centered approach to litigation. Representation of MHD clients includes representation at involuntary commitment and release hearings before administrative law judges, appeals of administrative decisions, and representation at release and involuntary outpatient treatment hearings before judges and juries across the state. Attorneys in this position will have an office in one of the MHD’s regional offices in Western, Central, Southern, Upper Eastern Shore, or Lower Eastern Shore Maryland. We will consider candidates at all experience levels for this position.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Zealous representation of MHD clients’ stated interest at every stage of the process.
  • Ability to prepare for and manage an active, fast-paced caseload of administrative, appellate, and district and circuit court hearings competently, independently, and resourcefully.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with clients suffering from major psychiatric illnesses, family members, team members, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, social workers, and community service providers to ensure optimal outcomes and resolve challenges in an open, constructive, and professional manner.
  • Continuously seek professional development through training, continuing legal education, and advocacy courses.
  • Other duties as assigned by the State Public Defender.


Salary depends on experience, and the State of Maryland salary rules apply to any offer made. This would be a lateral transfer for MOPD attorneys.


Assistant Public Defender I: $86,762.00-$127,473.00 (Grade 20: Step 6-Step 26) 

Assistant Public Defender II: $96,227.00-$136,003.00 (Grade 21: Step 8-Step 26) 

Assistant Public Defender III- $106,620.00-$145,151.00 (Grade 22: Step 10-Step 26) 



The Maryland Office of the Public Defender offers a generous benefits package with excellent medical, dental, and vision insurance. Benefits include retirement savings, life insurance, and the option to participate in supplemental retirement options. MOPD Employees receive 6 days of personal leave, 15 days of sick leave, at least 10 days of annual leave each calendar year, paid holidays, and parental leave.


For more details and a full list of benefits as an employee with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender click here.


How To Apply

If you wish to be considered, please click here to fill out the application and submit the following items in one PDF attachment through the Maryland State Government Job Openings Page Resume Tab: (1) current resume, (2) cover letter, (3) list of four professional references, (4) writing sample, and (5) transcript (if graduated from law school within the past 3 years). Incomplete applications will not be considered. 


Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees and cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position. MD Code, Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d)(2).


As a State agency, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. MOPD is committed to fully including all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.


All applicants must be able to communicate with clients and visitors and possess the ability to complete tasks in a fast-paced work environment.  Applicants must be able to work in various positions and travel to various courtrooms and office environments throughout the state. MOPD is further committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities by modifying or adjusting the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee be considered for the position they desire; to perform the essential functions of the position in question; or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.


Applicants must be able to operate a computer and other office equipment. Applicants must have access to a motor vehicle or be able to navigate public transportation. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Tawanda Jackson, Human Resources Supervisor, at 410-767-8503 or




Training and Qualifications
  • Demonstrated commitment to zealous and comprehensive advocacy to protect and advance the rights of individuals with mental illness.
  • Strong advocacy skills (prior litigation experience -including jury trial experience-strongly preferred).
  • Strong issue-spotting, research, and writing skills.
  • Exposure to mental health issues in civil or criminal cases (knowledge of DSMV preferred).
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds and lived experiences.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a high caseload.
  • Active membership in good standing with the State of Maryland Bar or Bar of another state. MOPD will consider individuals who sat for the July 2024 bar examination. If selected, offers will be extended contingent on membership to the bar in advance of the start date. Preference in the selection process will be given to candidates who are already a member of the bar. Attorneys barred in another state must become a member of the Maryland bar within 18 months of their start date.
Job Contact
Durriyyah Hollimon