News & Updates

September 21, 2021 | Alison Pagan

The City of Burlington, Washington and the City of Mount Vernon, Washington (“Cities”) request statements of qualifications from attorneys experienced in providing Public Defender services for indigent criminal defendants. The Cities currently contract for Public Defender services from Mountain Law, LLC. Mountain Law, LLC provides defense services for more than 1,200 misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor defendants per year. The Cities are seeking to contract with additional attorneys to provide legal representation to defendants that are not able to be represented by Mountain Law, LLC due to a conflict. Defendants will be represented at arraignment, pretrial hearings, trials or pleas and appeals from the municipal court of limited jurisdiction to superior court. It is anticipated that there will be between one hundred and one hundred and fifty cases per year that are represented by “conflict” counsel. The Cities anticipate that multiple attorneys may serve as conflict counsel.

The Cities have an immediate need to recruit additional attorneys and/or firms that will provide misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor defense services. As such, Statements of Qualifications will be accepted on a continual basis until the cities achieve sufficient capacity to provide said services. Interviews of selected candidates will, if required, be scheduled as soon as possible. Following interview, one or more candidates will be selected to negotiate contracts for provision of services. Although the duration of contract may vary, the Cities prefer to sign two year contracts.

Pursuant to Chapter 10.101 RCW, all indigent criminal defendants must be provided with vigorous and effective legal representation, including but not limited to, the representative duties listed below in (A) through (E). Mount Vernon and Burlington have adopted standards for the provision of public defense services as required by state law. The Cities have adopted an un-weighted case load standard of 400 cases annually per full time Public Defense Attorney. This standard, and those adopted by the Washington State Supreme Court, will apply to conflict counsel. Copies of public defense standards adopted by the City are available upon request and are incorporated in the draft contract for services included in the Request for Qualifications.

Public Defense attorneys are expected to:
(A) attend all court hearings required by the Washington Court or Local Court Rules now or hereafter adopted;
(B) appear and represent clients/defendants at all hearings and trials involving defendants on whose behalf the Public Defender has been appointed;
(C) be available to talk with and meet, in person, eligible indigent defendants at the Skagit County jail, and an office location in either the City of Burlington or the City of Mount Vernon. Confidential meeting space that is ADA compliant is required;
(D) research the law and investigate facts in a manner appropriate to each case; and
(E) document and report selected data to the Cities regarding represented cases on forms prepared by the Cities (monthly and quarterly reports as required).

Interested applicants should provide a resume, cover letter, solely authored writing sample, a list of the past two years CLE’s of other trainings that relate to criminal defense, names of judges and opposing counsel in the last three cases that went to trial and any other information the applicant feels demonstrates his/her ability to provide vigorous and effective representation to clients.
Responses must be marked “Burlington and Mount Vernon Indigent Defense Qualifications” and be sent to the City of Burlington, 833 South Spruce Street, Burlington, WA 98233. Questions regarding this RFQ may be sent to or