Managing Attorney - Associated Counsel for the Accused Divison

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time
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The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides robust legal representation to indigent clients in felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitment, and inquests. We work with the community to dismantle the systems that oppress our clients, to make the traditional systems that remain as restorative as possible, and to advocate for pathways that will allow our clients to succeed. We also advocate to reduce the harm and reach of the criminal and civil legal system and address systemic racism. We strive to create a flexible workplace culture that is inclusive, respectful, and supportive, premised on a shared anti-oppression framework.
To learn more about DPD, please visit our website at: 
About the Position 
DPD seeks a Managing Attorney to lead its Associated Counsel for the Accused Division (ACAD). As a division director, the Managing Attorney is responsible for ensuring that the division provides high-quality representation in each case assigned to the division. The Managing Attorney is a part of DPD's leadership team responsible for providing guidance, oversight, and support to a highly skilled public defense office.

Who May Apply
This recruitment is INTERNAL ONLY and open to current King County, Department of Public Defense (DPD) employees. DPD is currently accepting applications to fill one Managing Attorney position in the ACAD Division. DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants.
Work Location and Schedule 
This position will be located at various ACAD offices in Seattle and Kent. The position is exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is not eligible for overtime pay. The position's base work schedule is Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; work outside of the normal workday will be required

DPD employees enjoy a flexible, hybrid in-office/telecommute workplace structure, and this role should expect to work primarily in the office (with one day remote) while being required to report to other locations, such as court or jail facilities. DPD maintains physical offices in the following locations:

  • Dexter Horton Building, 710 Second Avenue, Seattle;
  • Jefferson Street Building, 1401 East Jefferson, Seattle; 
  • Meeker Street Building, 420 West Harrison Street, Kent.
Forms and Materials Required 
An online employment application, completed at, with employment history going back at least ten years if you have ten years of employment (or more to include all relevant experience), a resume, a cover letter summarizing why you are interested in this position and why you believe you will be a strong fit for the position.

For more information regarding this recruitment, please contact:  
Falisha Forgash
Human Resource Analyst

Job Duties

The Managing Attorney will supervise day-to-day activities within the division in multiple King County locations; manage workloads, schedules, and case assignments for all staff within the division; ensure strong communication between the division and other parts of the Department; and handle myriad facility and operational needs within the division. The Managing Attorney will lead and direct the work of the division's supervisors in each of the practice areas.

Specifically, the Managing attorney will:

  • Model DPD's expectations of leadership by:
    • Implementing a best practices approach to client representation in accord with DPD’s policies and practice standards.
    • Working with the Director's Office to:
      • Set policy priorities and strategic planning.
      • Support public defense goals and values.
      • Support the broader public defense policy goals, culture, and values.
      • Support Equity and Social Justice Goals.
  • Coordinate with supervising attorneys to:
    • Proactively ensure attorneys are at or below caseload standards.
    • Ensure equitable distribution of cases among attorneys.
    • Ensure compliance with the WSBA and DPD Standards for Indigent Defense.
  • Coordinate with supervisors to ensure equitable distribution of work among non-attorneys.
  • Ensure accurate and timely entry of time and contemporaneous notes into DPD's case management system.
  • Communicate with the Director's Office regarding staffing needs in a timely manner.
  • Manage staff transfers to enable professional development goals of staff members, meet the division's business needs, and ensure such transfers are not unnecessarily disruptive to clients.
  • Monitor use of supplemental credits to ensure compliance with DPD’s supplemental credit policies.
  • Assist division staff with ethics issues, case strategy, and other guidance as needed.
  • Verify the division is in compliance with all King County and DPD policies.
  • Effectively manage staff by:
    • Ensuring employees are recognized for positive contributions.
    • Ensuring timely completion of performance appraisals for division employees, including ongoing performance management and support throughout the year.
    • Ensure all employees have regular check-ins with their supervisor to increase two-way communication and feedback.
    • Partner with supervisors to ensure a positive culture of mutual respect and open communication in the division.
    • When necessary, work to recognize and remedy morale issues in partnership with employees.
    • Support employees in their development and career paths.
    • Recommend and/or approve staff trainings as appropriate.
    • Support Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) work in the division and ensure staff behave consistently with ESJ values.
    • Actively participate in DPD recruitment and selection processes as needed.
  • Liaise with the Director's Office by:
    • Attending and participating in meetings as assigned.
    • Communicating office space, technological, or other logistic or resource needs.
    • Ensuring information from the Director's Office flows through the division in a timely, clear manner, and that communication from the division reaches the Director's Office in the same manner.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

The ideal candidate for this role will bring a strong background in directing and providing strategic leadership to a division dedicated to providing quality legal representation and advocacy to people in need of legal help. The Managing Attorney is an exceptional leader, manager, relationship builder, and educator who is familiar with issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with public defense issues.
 In addition, well-qualified candidates will possess:

  • Demonstrated progressively responsible managerial experience, with proficiency in team building, and the ability to foster and provide a supportive work environment where staff can work independently while being accountable for their areas of responsibility.
  • Juris Doctor from an accredited law school and an active Washington state law license in good standing, as well as an extensive and diverse background in the public defense environment.
  • Ability to run an office, handle diverse personalities, and build morale, collaboration, and trust, establishing an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation within the division
  • A strong commitment to supporting staff and providing professional development.
  • Strong writing and research skills.

Supplemental Information

Special note regarding COVID-19 
DPD is following Public Health and CDC guidance in regard to social distancing. Interviews for this position will be conducted remotely. Successful candidates may be required to telecommute and come into the office on a periodic basis; frequency will vary based on business and operational needs.
DPD Policies 
DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants, such that if you work or have worked for one of DPD's divisions, you may be ineligible to work in another division.
Outside Work Policy for Attorneys will apply to applicants, such that you must receive approval from your supervisor and Managing Attorney before being permitted to engage in outside employment for compensation or volunteer.

Application Process
Interested individuals should submit a complete online King County application (all blanks must be filled out and may not direct the reader to reference an attached resume or other document. Answers that say "see resume" will be considered as incomplete), a resume, a cover letter summarizing why you are interested in this position and why you believe you will be a strong fit for the position, and a response to the essay questions are required.

Selection Process  
Applications will be reviewed and screened for clarity, completeness, and competitiveness. Applicants may be required to demonstrate their qualifications at the time of the interview and/or complete a skills assessment. All materials will be evaluated for spelling, grammar, and punctuation usage. The most competitive candidates will be invited to interview. Final selection and appointment to this position is at the discretion of the Department Director.

Offer of employment is contingent on:
The successful completion of references and personnel file review in keeping with DPD’s Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures.
Union Membership
This position is an appointed position and not represented by a collective bargaining agreement

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter.

As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:

  • submit proof of vaccination, or
  • have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.
People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Executive Branch includes employees in the Executive branch, the Assessor's Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff's Office, and the Executive Office.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact the recruiter listed on this job announcement.

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

This job is no longer available.

King County

Seattle, WA