Who We Are: The Washington Defender Association (WDA) is the voice of the public defense community in Washington State. We provide support for zealous and high-quality legal representation by advocating for change, educating defenders, and collaborating with other justice system stakeholders and the broader community. We aspire to participate in movements for durable transformational change within ourselves, our organization, our communities and the criminal and civil legal systems within which we live and work. Our core values reflect our goals towards becoming an organization that meaningfully and tangibly integrates an anti-racist, anti-oppression framework into all aspects of our work. Although we contend daily with the realities that impede our progress, we remain dedicated to building a collaborative, learning-based culture of resilience, inclusion, transparency, and accountability.
Our Work: In 1983, WDA was created to support public defenders across Washington State through training and technical assistance. Our initial focus was on training and the development of standards for public defense. Over time, WDA has expanded to include our Immigration Project, Incarcerated Parents Project, the Redemption Project, misdemeanor case support, and felony case support. We also advocate at the local, state, and national levels on policy issues that relate to public defense. We serve over 1600+ members who are public defenders, investigators and other legal workers representing people facing the consequences of criminal legal system involvement. We are a small but mighty team guided by the belief that everyone belongs in the circle of human concern. We are dedicated to dismantling the barriers to belonging that burden all who are entangled in Washington State’s public defense system.
Who You Are: WDA seeks an experienced attorney to join our team as a Misdemeanor Resource Attorney. Our resource attorneys provide technical assistance and training to public defenders and criminal defense attorneys across Washington State. We seek someone with the following qualifications:
• Minimum of 3 to 5 years of criminal defense experience, preferably with experience as a public defense attorney or in a position with some public defense case work experience.
• A law degree and license to practice law in Washington and qualified to practice public defense in Washington pursuant to CrRLJ 3.1, Standard for Indigent Defense 14.1.
• Demonstrated understanding of misdemeanor criminal law practice in Washington State including familiarity and experience with defending DUIs, fourth degree assaults and other misdemeanors before and during trial and with sentencing. Experience with writs, misdemeanor appeals, and/or representing clients at probation hearings preferred.
• Excellent written and oral communication, research, negotiation, and analytical skills.
• Commitment to continuous learning and openness to new ideas.
• Ability to work well on a team, prioritize responsibilities, and meet time-sensitive deadlines.
• Ability to travel occasionally around the state to engage with the public defense community, including at trainings and meetings.
• Competency with Microsoft Office and online meeting formats such as Zoom and Teams.
• Although not required, familiarity or experience with amicus advocacy, court rules advocacy, and/or delivering CLEs is preferred.
The Job: WDA staff currently work remotely and/or in our in our downtown Seattle office, with the expectation that specified work meeting and events are attended in person.
• Technical Assistance: Provide individual case consultation to public defenders, criminal defense attorneys, investigators, and social workers. This includes issue spotting at all stages of a criminal case, identifying and shaping arguments for pre-trial motions, providing research and analysis of possible evidentiary, procedural or ethics issues that may arise at or prior to trial, and brainstorming sentencing issues and advocacy.
• Resource Development: Draft resources for WDA, including sample briefs and practice advisories related to general criminal and misdemeanor specific criminal defense practice.
• Outreach: Engage the public defense community across the state through training, meetings, and listserv moderation.
• Collaboration: Participate in taskforces and meetings with stakeholders regarding issues affecting public defense.
• Training: Design and present continuing legal education (CLE) programming for public defenders, our partners and other justice system stakeholders.
• Relationship Development: Develop and sustain relationships with attorneys and other legal professionals, expert witnesses, and justice system partners to build a network of interested candidates to provide training to the defender community.
• Intern Supervision: Meet with and provide meaningful opportunities to law students or college students interested in working as an intern/extern or learning about careers in public defense.
• Race Equity: Participate in WDA’s race equity work. This may include learning about and using race equity tools, adopting WDAs race equity practices, and serving on WDA’s Race Equity Team
Compensation: The salary range is $75,000 – $100,000 a year, depending on experience.
Benefits: Excellent health insurance coverage, FSA program for medical, child care and transportation, SIMPLE IRA plan, and generous vacation policy. This position qualifies for public loan service forgiveness.
How to Apply: Send a cover letter, resume, 3 references, and a 5-10 page writing sample in PDF format to Erin Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make “Misdemeanor Resource Attorney” your subject line. We will accept applications on a rolling basis, but plan to start offering interviews the last week of February. If you need a reasonable accommodation for the application process, please contact the above email or call (206) 623-4321.
WDA is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment. We do not discriminate based upon race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, social class, indigenous group membership, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a differently abled person or other applicable characteristics.