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United States
Organization information
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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, Chief, Major Trial Unit
Direct Reports: Rotating Supervisor, Attorneys, Investigators, Administrative Support Staff

Job Summary
The Assistant Chief of the Major Trial Unit is responsible for managing the Major Trial Unit. The Assistant Chief will implement the Major Trial Unit’s vision of best practices for legal representation for Major Trials, SMART rooms, At-Large attorney pool and Jury Demand Program. The Assistant Chief will implement goals and objectives set by the Chief and the executive leadership team, identifying priorities, and planning and evaluating department functionality to ensure that the vision, goals and objectives are effective and align with the Defender Association’s mission.

The Assistant Chief will effectively manage the day-to-day operations of the unit, working with attorneys and support staff and ensure that quality representation is provided to our clients. The Assistant Chief will foster a work environment that is conducive to the team work approach that will enhance the Association’s value.

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

Major Areas of Responsibility
• Manage the day-to-day functions of the Major Trial Unit
• Implement strategies and procedures developed by the Chief that will achieve the strategic vision and produce creative solutions that will benefit the Association’s clients
• Provide active, hands on supervision, engaging in Prep sessions, second-chair as (co-counsel) and observe attorneys in court to identify, assess strengths and weaknesses
• Implement case management practices for managing attorney schedules to attain vertical representation
• Supervise the Rotating Supervisor and oversee court observations and file review processes
• Communicate performance goals through work assignments and resource allocation
• Conduct annual performance evaluations in accordance with the Association’s policies
• Provide consultation, coaching and feedback to staff
• Conduct attorney and staff needs assessments to identify gaps in service and communicate staffing concerns to Chief

Training and Development
• Implement procedures and protocols to drive the operational efficiency of the unit and to enhance the professional development of the unit’s staff
• Implement training modalities to introduce and prepare attorneys for conducting Jury trials, (i.e. Majors orientation program, Voir Dire, Opening Statements, Cross-Examination, Motions, Prosecutorial Misconduct, etc.)
• Conduct departmental programs (case discussions, etc.) to identify areas of concern that may require additional training to ensure continuous growth and development
• Participate in relevant new attorney training for direct reports and Association employees


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
• 5 years of public defender experience, preferred
• Jury trial experience required
• Considerable knowledge of legal and policy issues
• Considerable knowledge of management of public defense programs and service-delivery strategies is preferred
• Experience managing attorneys, establishing teams 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 ability to establish working relationships with court personnel is required

To apply: 

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume addressed to Sherri Darden, via e-mail at [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: 
Wednesday, February 14, 2018