Salary & Benefits
- $65,000 starting salary
- Health insurance – monthly premium between $8 and $30 (family plan). Note: rates are slightly higher for Attorney Trainees before they are admitted to The Florida Bar.
- Annual leave – 20 days per year
- Sick leave - 13 days per year
- Paid holidays – 13 days per year
- $25,000 life insurance policy - paid by the State of Florida
- Short-term disability insurance - paid by the State of Florida
- Optional employee-paid supplement insurance plans available (additional life insurance, vision, dental, cancer, hospitalization, and disability)
- State retirement benefits - vesting after 8 years in a pension plan or after 1 year for the investment plan
- Deferred compensation – option of saving a portion of monthly salary in a tax-sheltered account
- Extensive training and CLE credits
- Florida Bar dues reimbursed by the office
- Free tuition for a college course on a space-available basis
- Preparing each case efficiently and expeditiously
- Advising and counseling each client
- Establishing and maintaining a professional relationship with each client
- Effective and efficient use of investigators, mitigation and placement specialists and other support staff
- Seeking assistance from experts appropriate to the case
- Demonstrating professional demeanor
- Exercising sound judgment to achieve desired results
- Assisting the Public Defender in carrying out his responsibilities.
- It is preferred that 3L applicants have successfully completed prior to graduation a law school clinic or externship in which the applicant was authorized to provide direct representation in litigation to individuals or entities for academic credit
- Law school graduates can apply but must be licensed to practice law in the State of Florida
- Excellent verbal, computer, and communication skills
- Demonstrated ability to write clearly and concisely
- Bilingual skills: English/Spanish and/or English/Creole helpful but not required
- Participation in a law school trial advocacy course or litigation skills program preferred
- Willingness to interview clients in jails and in juvenile (jail) detention facilities
- Valid Florida Driver’s License, proof of automobile insurance, and reliable vehicle, as travel is required.
How to Apply
Advice to CLIs: Because we conduct hiring panels in late fall and early spring, CLIs who want to be considered for an attorney position are encouraged to successfully complete their Certified Legal Internship with our office during the summer and fall semesters after their second year of law school. CLIs who do their CLI internship during the 3L Spring semester may be at a disadvantage because they have not had a full semester with us to evaluate them.
If you are interested in an attorney position, complete the online application on our website and submit your resume and a writing sample in PDF format to [email protected].
Attorney candidate hiring is a three-step process.
- Screening: Qualified candidates will be screened by a hiring committee member. Those who successfully complete the screening, which consists of hypotheticals and scenarios, will be invited to participate in a hiring conference.
- Hiring Panel: The hiring panel consists of several assistant public defenders who interview and recommend the best candidates for the Public Defender to hire as members of our team.
- Final interview with the Public Defender, if recommended by the hiring panel.
Due to the high volume of applications, no telephone or email inquiries, please.
With a national reputation for excellence and one of the nation’s finest training programs, the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office is a destination for high-quality graduates from a long list of prestigious law schools, including:
- American University
- Benjamin Cardozo Law
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Brooklyn Law School
- City University of New York
- Columbia University
- Emory University
- Florida International University
- Florida State University
- Fordham University
- Georgetown University
- George Washington University
- Harvard University
- Hofstra University
- Howard University
- Loyola University
- New York University
- Northwestern University
- Nova Southeastern University
- Rutgers University
- St. Thomas University
- Stetson University
- Tulane University
- University of Chicago
- University of Florida
- University of Miami
- University of Virginia
- Yale University
Our reputation for excellence is a result of our training, case preparation, litigation, and appellate advocacy: Our trial attorneys try cases in 40 courtrooms, while our appellate division is widely respected for the quality of its lawyers.
We recruit locally and nationally with just one goal in mind: Putting together a diverse team of outstanding men and women who can do the best job possible on behalf of our clients and the residents and taxpayers of Miami-Dade County.
A Culture of Learning
We equip our attorneys with the training and tools they’ll need to fulfill their potential, starting with a two-week, hands-on experience led by experienced assistant public defenders. Each new lawyer is then partnered with a Training Attorney that provides one-on-one guidance, support and mentorship, while our Automation Training Unit instructs new lawyers on research programs and software that grant access to a to a wealth of information. The training director regularly convenes lectures, interactive workshops and demonstrations, many featuring presenters from outside the office, on a number of subjects of interest for our attorneys.
But there’s more to development than formal training: our strongest asset is our culture, where lawyers engage in daily discussions of their cases and the law. This attitude is best summarized by Mr. Martinez: "we have a common purpose - to provide high quality, client-centered representation. We rely on and respect our attorneys’ individual professional judgment to breathe life into the ideals enshrined in our constitution. We have a family atmosphere where people are mutually supportive and share materials and ideas."