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Job location
1441 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Street address: 
1441 Sansom Street
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

Job Code:
FLSA Status: Exempt
EEO-1 Code: 1.1 Executive/Sr. Officer and Managers
Salary Grade:
Division/Department: Legal/Administration
Reports to: First Assistant
Direct Reports: Homicide/Special Defense Unit (SDU), Attorneys, Investigators, Mitigation Specialists, Support Staff

Job Summary
The Chief of Homicide/Special Defense Unit (SDU) Attorney directs and manages the attorneys and staff assigned to the Homicide/SDU and is responsible for ensuring the provision of outstanding legal representation for indigent clients charged with capital and non-capital homicide. This position is also responsible for leading efforts to improve the quality of homicide representation in Philadelphia.

Major Areas of Responsibility

•Establishes the vision and strategies for the Homicide/SDU Unit to achieve high quality legal representation and optimal outcomes for clients charged with capital and non-capital homicide
•Develops and leads the implementation of a legal services delivery model to achieve the strategic vision of holistic client-centered representation; working to produce new solutions to create value for the Association’s clients
•Develops and communicates the long-term direction of the unit and ensures that the short-term goals, objectives and tasks are aligned and adjusted in anticipation of and in response to outside forces and internal changes that impact the achievement of the Association’s and unit’s vision and strategies
•Researches and analyzes trends in criminal defense including new areas of the law that are increasingly becoming integrated into traditional criminal defense practice, and integrating into the unit’s practice, as appropriate
•Ensures that indigent defendants receive thorough and effective legal representation through the effective use of management practices including the management of staff (i.e., assignments), and facilitating training opportunities
•Develops new procedures and protocols within the unit to drive the development, operational efficiency of the unit and to enhance the professional development of the unit’s staff
•Enhances the Association’s reputation by representing the Association in the external marketplace or community at-large as a thought leader, ambassador and figure-head

•Provides focus and guides staff in accomplishing the goals of the Association and the Homicide/SDU by establishing processes, and the clear assignment of work and decision-making authority
•Establishes performance goals for the Homicide/SDU measures and evaluates results
•Actively assists and supports the development of attorneys’ skills and abilities at both the unit and individual levels
•Provides continuous consultation, coaching and feedback on both legal matters and professional development opportunities; assists with the identification and development of appropriate legal training to address current and future skill gaps

Financial Management
•Assists in the development of financial controls and provides oversight of the unit’s budgets
•Reviews and approves the unit’s financial transactions and expenditures to identify opportunities to cut costs, and add value to the unit (i.e., employing tactics to standardize procedures across unit; standardizes communications; tracks and analyzes data)
•Develops and maintains systems of internal controls and manages the resources allocated to the unit to safeguard the financial assets of the unit including headcount costs

Key Relationships:
Internal: First Assistant, Executive Leadership Team; Legal department heads and Zone leaders
External: Clients; Court personnel; Community Stakeholders; Vendors, as necessary


Education: Bachelor degree required; Law Degree required; Must be admitted to practice law in the State of Pennsylvania, and be in good standing with the ABA

•Must have significant experience in criminal defense litigation; demonstrated skill in representation of indigent adult defendants.
•Considerable knowledge of legal and policy issues particularly capital offenses affecting public defenders and their clients on a local, state and national level is preferred
•Considerable knowledge of management of public defense programs and service-delivery strategies is preferred
•5-7+ years of experience managing attorneys, establishing teams and facilitating goal accomplishment utilizing a collaborative and inclusive approach is preferred
•Ability to measure and evaluate work processes to achieve the Association’s mission; experience redesigning processes as needed using the best methods and technology to meet and exceed the Association’s needs; using appropriate methods to identify opportunities, implement solutions, and measure impact is a plus
•Demonstrated ability to establish working relationships with court personnel is required
•Considerable cultural competence as demonstrated by strong ability to work well with people from diverse racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds is preferred
•3-5+ years of direct experience managing budgets is a plus

To apply: 

Sherri Darden, Defender Association of Philadelphia, 1441 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Pa, 19102; or email to [email protected].

The Defender Association provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, The Defender Association complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
Submission deadline: 
Wednesday, May 18, 2016