To be considered for OPD positions, applicants must complete and
submit their application online, as well as upload any required
Materials Required of Applicants:
We provide effective professional legal services with equal
access to quality client-centered representation.
As trained legal professionals we strive to represent our
clients in an effective and efficient manner to ensure a more fair
and balanced justice system. We are dedicated and committed to
improving overall outcomes for our clients and addressing the
conditions that led to their involvement with the justice
Reasons to work for the Office of the Public Defender: Our work
changes lives! The work OPD does, makes a difference for the people
in our communities. Public Defenders work for their clients,
protect constitutional rights and ensure the system remains fair.
We are proud of the work we do, to find out more about OPD visit
our website HERE.
Benefits of working for OPD: The ability to work and play in the
beautiful state of Montana is one of the benefits you will love
about this opportunity! Other fantastic benefits include:
- Health Coverage
- Retirement plans
- Paid vacation, sick leave and Holidays
- Work/life balance
- Flexible schedules
- Opportunities and room for professional growth
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness- Employment with the State of
Montana may qualify you to receive loan forgiveness- click HERE to
About this Opportunity!
Job Overview: Public Defenders render legal services for all
cases handled by the Office of the Public Defender including:
felony and misdemeanor criminal charges; youth court proceedings;
involuntary mental health or developmental disability commitments;
representing parents and children in dependent/neglect matters; and
guardianship or conservatorship proceedings, as described in the
Montana Public Defender Act Title 47 http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0470/chapters_index.html.
Additionally, Public Defenders are expected to exercise their own
professional judgment and provide competent indigent defense
casework for clients.
Other Major Duties and Responsibilities include but are not
- Serves as defense attorney for indigent criminal defendants and
other persons in civil cases who are entitled by law to assistance
- Prepares for and appears with clients at all pretrial and trial
proceedings and hearings.
- Conducts investigations; obtains formal and informal discovery;
develops a theory of the case; researches legal issues, prepares,
files and argues appropriate motions.
- Negotiate settlements or changes of plea.
- Interviews clients to evaluate evidence and assess strength of
- Analyzes charging documents, police reports and discovery
material and evidence for assigned criminal cases.
- Prepares trial briefs and conducts all phases of trial in
court, including jury trials.
- Recommends bond and participates in bond hearings.
- Reviews petitions for probation revocations.
- Participates in sentencing hearing
- Prepares motions for a new trial.
- Develops overall defense strategies.
- Keeps current with the statutes, rules, and cases regarding
both procedural and substantive legal issues.
- Shows commitment and willingness to work with underprivileged
populations, including those facing socio-economic adversity and
mental health issues, assessing needs, making referrals and
ensuring that services are provided to clients.
Knowledge Skills and Abilities:
- Knowledge of legal and court policies, procedures, practices,
terminology and systems; state and federal laws; rules and
- Knowledge of the principles and practices of law
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Skilled in negotiation, problem-solving and decision-making
- Ability to remain flexible
- Client-oriented and customer service skills
- Capable of spotting and framing issues to advance the client's
- Ability to establish and maintain effective working
relationships with clients, the public, witnesses, judges/ court
personnel, and law enforcement/prosecution personnel
Physical and Environmental Demands:
This position works in an office and court setting and has
regular visits with clients in jail, detention centers, and mental
health facilities. Requires exposure to stressful situations and
occasional travel to attend court, trainings and provide services
Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):
The minimum requirements include a Juris Doctor (JD) from an ABA
accredited law school. Ideal candidates will include recent
graduates or experienced attorneys who have a strong desire to work
in indigent defense.
To learn more about Admissions to the State Bar of Montana check
out this web site at http://montanabar.site-ym.com/?page=AdmissionInfoWhen
is the deadline to apply? The deadline for the February exam is
October 1st and the deadline for the July exam is March 15th.