Greater Colorado Fellowship

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Job location
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Colorado Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel
Street address: 
1300 N. Broadway, Suite 330
Job type: 
Position Description: 

Are you interested in living and working in a small town in Colorado? Are you interested in starting your own law firm to improve access to justice for people outside of the major metropolitan areas? Are you passionate about helping indigent people accused of criminal or delinquent acts? Do you believe that holistic, team-oriented representation is essential for all people accused of criminal or delinquent acts? If so, then the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel is offering you a unique opportunity to develop a private practice in an underserved or rural area of Colorado through the Greater Colorado Fellowship Program.

About Us:
The Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC) is the state agency responsible for providing client services and legal representation for indigent individuals (adults and youth) when the state has charged them with a criminal or delinquent act and the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender has a conflict of interest. The OADC accomplishes this by contracting with over 400 private attorneys and another 500 legal service providers (forensic social workers/clinical advocates, paralegals, investigators, legal researchers, etc.) to provide client services on an hourly basis. Our fundamental belief is that interdisciplinary legal defense teams, practicing holistic defense, produce better results for our clients.

Mission Statement:
The mission of the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC), through the practice of holistic public defense, is to help adults and children who the government has charged with criminal and delinquent offenses. The OADC’s holistic practice model fosters ethical, informed, and standard-driven best practices in public defense. The OADC allocates resources in a manner intentionally designed to rebalance the disparate power wielded by the government in the criminal legal system. OADC advocates for every client’s inherent worth and dignity by centering the client’s lived experiences and voice to achieve the best legal outcome.

The OADC is dedicated to zealous, client-centered advocacy rooted in social justice, integrity, and humility. We recognize that we are working within a broken and racist criminal legal system. Public defense advocates play an essential role in challenging bias and disparity within the courtroom, within our offices, and within ourselves. Statistical data and experiences support that there is a disparate presence of violent policing, over-charging, and harsher sentencing outcomes for Colorado’s people of color and other vulnerable populations. The OADC is unwavering in its support of decarceration, the decriminalization of youth, and equity within the criminal legal system.

About the Greater Colorado Fellowship:
The rural attorney shortage is a nationwide problem. Despite about 14 percent of Americans living in rural communities, only about two percent of law firms are located in small towns or rural areas. Further, the number of attorneys in rural communities has only continued to decline as many existing rural lawyers are approaching retirement age, with too few law school graduates moving in to replace them. Colorado is not immune to this problem.

The OADC has struggled with a chronic shortage of qualified attorneys (and other legal service providers) in rural Colorado. We are attempting to fix this problem through the Greater Colorado Fellowship program. This Fellowship will provide a lawyer, recent or soon-to-be law school graduate, with an opportunity to develop a successful law office in an area that the OADC considers to be an underserved area of legal representation. We are focusing on the areas surrounding 6 areas – Grand Junction/Montrose, Durango/Cortez, Glenwood Springs/Eagle, Salida/Canon City, Fort Morgan/Sterling, and La Junta/Lamar – but are open to other possibilities if a candidate has ties to a different Greater Colorado community.

Starting a legal practice in a Greater Colorado location provides unique opportunities for professional growth and improved work/life balance. For example, underserved areas, by definition, have less competition and upward mobility is easier. And, substantially smaller legal communities provide opportunities for collaboration and innovation. For general examples of rural communities using their strengths for innovations, see the Rural Justice Collaborative’s Innovation Sites. Plus, these communities offer a lower cost of living, access to outdoor recreational activities, and prioritization of personal fulfillment.

This Fellowship Program is the ultimate public-private partnership as it provides a full-time state employee position (FTE) with salary and benefits while the fellow develops their emerging business in a rural community.

This employee position can begin as early as December 1, 2023, or as late as October 31, 2024. The duration of the Fellowship can be up to, but cannot exceed, two years. The exact start date and duration of the Fellowship will be tailored to meet the needs of the fellow and their surrounding Colorado community. During that time, the OADC will provide “wrap-around” mentorship to the fellow as a FullTime Employee, from experienced criminal defense practitioners to assist with developing appropriate legal, case management, and professional skills. In addition, the OADC has a robust training program to further aid in professional development.

Although the Fellowship is geared toward developing an attorney who is proficient in criminal defense, we understand that the fellow will need to develop a “small-town” practice representing people in more than just criminal matters. It is anticipated that the fellow will build relationships, and develop skills allowing them to produce income through private representation, court-appointed work in dependency and neglect cases through other state agencies (e.g., the Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel or the Office of the Child’s Representative), and partnerships with civil litigation associations such as Legal Aid (Colorado Legal Services). As such, the OADC has partnered with other entities to provide further mentorship assistance in areas of law other than criminal defense to meet the needs of the individual fellow.

The OADC is a collaborative workspace designed for people who thrive in a team environment. This position reports to the Attorney Development Coordinator but will engage with all members of the OADC team and will be expected to fulfill other duties deemed necessary to help fulfill our Mission.


The ideal candidate is committed to criminal public defense, public service and dreams of starting a thriving private practice. The ideal candidate is also committed to living and serving in a rural community that the OADC recognizes as an underserved area in need of legal representation. Your role is to be an integral part of the community, not as a commuter, but as a community member who resides in this rural area, is dedicated to serving and building community, and provides excellent legal representation.

  • You are someone who passionately wants to create your own small business rather than be a government employee; you live for entrepreneurship and supporting a community that needs your vision and expertise.
  • You are passionate about team-oriented, holistic public defense and zealous in your commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and empathy.
  • You are a team member who is collaborative, possesses excellent verbal and written communication skills, and is innately creative and self-motivated.

If you are offered employment, the following are the Conditions of Employment:

  • Be a current resident of the state of Colorado or become a resident of the state of Colorado within 30 days of the hire date.
  • Be currently licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado or will be licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado within 90 days of the hire date. For graduating law students, this fellowship is contingent upon passing the Colorado Bar Exam.
  • Have a valid driver’s license and a vehicle to meet travel requirements.
  • Be willing to submit a routine background investigation, including a criminal history check.
  • If hired, the Immigration Reform and Control Act requires you to provide proof of your eligibility to work in the United States within three workdays.

You will be required to provide at least two references, complete a written application with additional questions and provide the following documents:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter

The State of Colorado is committed to providing employees with a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that supports you, your health, and your family. Click for further information about State of Colorado Employee Benefits.

To apply: 

Complete the online application at the link below by 11:59 PM on October 25, 2023. Please add [email protected] as a safe sender. Once you submit your application, you will receive an automatic email from Formsite. If you cannot find this email, please look in your spam/junk folder.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications will not be accepted. Please direct any additional inquiries or questions to [email protected].

See more information at: Job Class Code: RE9P11 Annual Salary Range: $80,000- $85,000 FLSA Status: Exempt Location: Colorado Full-Time (FTE) The Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, social class, national origin, marital or parental status, pregnancy, disability status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or political affiliation. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and an environment of representation diversity and we encourage individuals of many identities, backgrounds, and experiences to apply. To request accommodation, please contact Daniel Nunez at [email protected] or (303) 515-6924 as soon as possible. Any person with a disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), may be provided a reasonable accommodation upon request to enable the person to participate in the hiring process. The person making the request may be asked to provide additional information regarding functional limitations and the type of accommodation needed, which will be kept confidential. Preparation may be required, so timely requests for accommodation are appreciated.
Salary range: 
Submission deadline: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2023