Texas RioGrande Public Defender (TRGPD) serves seven (7) rural Texas counties and indigent defendants charged under Operation Lone Star. Currently, TRGPD has public defender offices in Beeville, Eagle Pass, and Harlingen. Each of these offices provides indigent defense for one or more of the counties near the office locations. TRGPD offices are located near various natural and cultural attractions. They are also within reasonable driving distance from metro areas with international airports. TRGPD Defenders are frontline advocates who have engaged in the movement to transform the criminal justice system and challenge the injustices faced by indigent defendants in rural south Texas for over a decade. TRGPD Defenders provide complete, vertical representation from intake to resolution. Except for cases involving a conflict of interest or the death penalty, TRGPD Defenders represent persons accused of crimes from initial arrest to final appeal. TRGPD delivers client-centered services to address unique needs and limited resources available to clients residing in rural and border communities. Special initiatives within the program include advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, trauma-informed and mental health advocacy, assistance with applying for government aid and/or housing, and assistance with substance abuse as alternative solutions to incarceration. With caseload controls, staff investigators, mental health and substance abuse caseworkers, and a litigation budget, TRGPD is deeply committed to zealous, high-quality representation in rural South Texas. We offer the advantage of having robust staff support with a 2-1 attorney-to-support staff ratio, and the flexibility and willingness to support employee growth.   

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:  Salary is commensurate with experience ($79,000 – $100,000+) and includes an excellent fringe benefits package, including law school loan repayment, generous paid leave, healthcare insurance, a retirement plan, and training & travel stipends. TRGPD defenders train with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense, and other associations that are committed to the transformation of indigent defense and criminal justice reform. Spring graduates from law school typically start being paid the first week of July but will only report to work after the July bar exam. TRGPD provides reimbursement for the bar application fee and bar preparation course to new employees who haven’t taken the bar exam yet. 


·         Provide zealous and holistic defense for indigent persons accused of criminal charges ranging from serious level felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile cases;   

·         Review case facts, examine videos and physical case evidence for legal sufficiency,  

·         Prepare, draft, and review motions and other legal documents that conform to current statutes, legislation, and case law;   

·         Confer with prosecutors, law enforcement, and witnesses regarding any necessary case investigation and trial preparation;  

·         Litigate appointed cases from intake to final resolution, including pretrial, trial, appeals, and additional motion practice, as needed; 

·         Manage confidential legal information and documents;  

·         Participate in the agency, division, and program meetings and training; 

·         Maintain case files and documentation in accordance with agency and division policies;   

·         Follow current trends and innovations in indigent defense;  

·         Provide client-centered, trauma-informed advocacy; and  

·         Collaborate with colleagues in their team, program, and division to contribute to a supportive work environment.  

TRGPD is also looking for attorneys who aspire to become leaders both within the division and in the larger public defender community. Must be licensed to practice law in Texas, able to waive into the Texas bar, or willing to take the next available bar exam. Proficiency in Office 365, legal research software, and other case management systems. Preferred applicants will demonstrate a commitment to indigent defense and criminal justice reform; have worked or interned in a public defender office; have strong academic credentials; are solution-oriented and creative; are able to work efficiently independently and in a team environment; can assess and prioritize multiple tasks and work effectively in high-stress situations; and want to live and work in communities where TRGPD clients have the greatest needs.
Job Contact
Kimberly Simmons
(210) 321-9865 info@trgpd.org