You are here

Job location
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Street address: 
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: Deputy Defender
Direct Reports: Assistant Chief, Major Trials Unit, Rotating Supervisor, Attorneys, Investigators, Administrative Support Staff

Job Summary
The Chief of the Major Trial Unit Chief will be responsible for setting the vision of the Unit. The Chief’s focus will be on leading people, leading change, and communicating and building relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The Chief will manage resources, establish goals and provide direction to the Major Trial Unit; developing strategies that aim to promote the organization’s mission and voice and improve the delivery of service. The Chief will provide direct supervision and support to the Assistant Chief and Rotating supervisor and will oversee the day-to-day functions of the Unit and to ensure that all strategies, policies and procedures are implemented, The Chief is responsible for the supervision of Major Trial Unit staff, and must understand the roles and responsibilities of all staff and have the ability to identify staffing needs and manage resources, particularly when addressing staff shortages and developing plans for long term staff needs.

In addition, as a member of the Executive leadership team, the Chief’s primary responsibility will be to interface with external stakeholders communicating the Association’s mission and vying for best representation practices.

This position has a term of five years, with an option to extend leadership responsibilities an additional two years after successful evaluation of supervisory practices, procedures and protocols.

Major Areas of Responsibility
• Interface with external stakeholders to influence policy and best practices
• Communicate the Defender Association mission and values, articulating the goals and objectives in a manner that encourages and fosters positive morale and a productive work environment
• Collaborate with Deputy and Adult Practice Chiefs to identify emerging trends and patterns and develop strategies and resolutions
• Collaborate with Social Services Department and Investigations to encourage intervention
• Develop a second chair program to broaden attorney trial skills in preparation for jury demand and independent management of jury trials
• Collaborate with other Adult Practice Chiefs to develop an evaluation process to identify successful completion of attorney rotation and facilitate transition through the trial units
• Ability to assess departmental needs, develop short term plans for staff shortages and long-term (succession) plans for permanent staffing needs
• Develop departmental procedures that align with the Defender mission and values and will establish the Major Trial Unit’s infrastructure to provide vertical representation
• Supervise the Assistant Chief and Rotating Supervisor ensure that the Assistant Chief effectively implements all departmental strategies, practices and procedures
• Oversee day-to-day functions of the Major Trial Unit, stay informed of resources, particularly relating to staffing needs, court scheduling concerns and staff changes due to implementation of strategies and plans

Training and Development
• Develop new procedures and protocols that will establish departmental efficiency and enhance the professional development of the unit’s staff
• Develop and implement training modalities to introduce and prepare attorneys for handling Jury trials, (i.e. Majors orientation program, Voir Dire, Opening Statements, Cross-Examination, Motions, Prosecutorial Misconduct, etc.)
• Participate in relevant new attorney training for direct reports and Association employees
• Work with the Training Department to develop best practices for prepping and managing Major Trials


The Defender Association has an immediate opening for a Chief and Assistant Chief of the Municipal Court Unit. Job descriptions are attached for your review. When applying, please indicate on your resume and cover letter, the position you are applying for.

Managerial Levels
These positions are mid-level management. Mid-level managers are responsible for carrying out the goals set by the Executive Leadership Team, as well as supervising and managing all members of staff. This is accomplished by setting department goals and motivating supervisors and employees to achieve the goals of the Defender Association. At this level, managers are expected to offer suggestions and feedback to the Executive Leadership Team. Since mid-level managers are more involved in the day-to-day practices of attorneys and staff, they should provide valuable information to the Executive Leadership Team to help improve the delivery of services.

Candidates who would like to apply and be considered for either of these positions should possess the following demonstrated skills and abilities:

Technical skills: The ability to understand our service delivery practice and protocols and direct and evaluate employees
Interpersonal skills: The ability to interact effectively with organizational members and communicate effectively with the Executive Management Team, departmental employees and external stakeholders
Conceptual skills: The ability to see the organization as a whole, understanding the “big picture” so as to assist in the development of team structures and organizational development
Diagnostic skills: The ability to investigate problems, identify remedies and implement effective solutions

Education: 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, criminal defense matters that affect public defenders and their clients on a local, state and national level is preferred
• Demonstrated knowledge of management of public defense programs and service-delivery strategies is preferred
• Extensive Jury Trial experience
• 7+ years Defender Association experience, preferred
• Experience managing attorneys, working in a teamwork environment and facilitating goals and accomplishments 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

To apply: 

Send cover letter and resume to: Sherri Darden, Defender Association of Philadelphia, 1441 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Pa, 19102; or email to [email protected].

Equal Opportunity Employer 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: 
Tuesday, February 13, 2018