Travis County (TX)

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Director of Holistic Practice (Public Defender)

at Travis County (TX)

Pay: $117037 to $127899/year
$117037 - $127899
Posted: 6/12/2020
Job Status: Full Time
Job Reference #: 2794558

Job Description

Overall Job Objective

Job Summary

The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally recognized best practices, the PDO provides high-quality holistic defense representation and other support to people accused of criminal offenses in Travis County. The PDO has an exciting opportunity for an experienced attorney to help develop the office's strategic vision and usher in a new era of indigent defense in the County.

Reporting to the Chief Public Defender, the Director of Holistic Practice is a key member of the PDO leadership with primary responsibility for ensuring PDO staff are able to identify and seamlessly coordinate representation and services for clients to address their legal and social support needs related to contact with the criminal legal system. The Director of Holistic Practice is expected to be generally familiar with the enmeshed penalties and collateral consequences of criminal legal system involvement across a broad range of issue areas including, but not limited to, immigration, family law, housing, public benefits, employment/occupational licensure, and healthcare access, with subject-matter expertise and practice experience in one or more areas.

Distinguishing Characteristics
This is a director-level job in the Public Defender's Office. Incumbent has management and administrative responsibilities in addition to functioning as a high-level attorney. 

Applications will be reviewed and selected candidates will be contacted on a rolling basis; the position may be filled before the closing date.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Train, supervise, and support PDO staff to be able to identify and seamlessly coordinate representation and services for clients to address their legal and social support needs related to criminal-legal system involvement. The Director of Holistic Practice ensures that the PDO has effective systems and protocols for communicating and collaborating with County/external agencies/practitioners providing representation or services to PDO clients in concurrent or collateral legal/administrative proceedings, social services settings, and community-based programs to inform client-centered decision-making by PDO staff.
  • Prepare regular, up-to-date, and relevant materials and presentations related to best practices in holistic defense representation; deliver and supervise others in delivering presentations on best practices for relevant audiences including PDO staff, Capital Area Private Defender Service attorneys, and other practitioners; consult and collaborate with the PDO Director of Trials & Training and, where appropriate, the PDO Legal Director on trainings.
  • Along with other PDO Directors, assist the Chief Public Defender in ensuring that the PDO fulfills its objectives by advising on organizational priorities for staff support and training, creating or amending internal office policies and standards of practice, providing stewardship of PDO resources, and supporting the office's operational functions. Represent the PDO at meetings or events relevant to PDO's clients or client-community.
  • Directly supervise PDO staff engaged in client representation and case handling, including formal performance reviews and evaluations.
  • Provide high-quality, client-centered representation and counsel to individual clients on their legal matters.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirements

Education and Experience:
Juris Doctor and five (5) to seven (7) years of relevant experience. Three (3) years of supervisory experience required.


Any combination of education and experience that has been achieved and is equivalent to the stated education and experience and required knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of this job.

Licenses, Registrations, Certifications, or Special Requirements:

Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas or immediately eligible to obtain licensure through the Texas Board of Law Examiners Application Without Examination process (applicants must review the TBLE AWOX requirements thoroughly).


  • Applications with a cover letter detailing interest in the position.
  • Recent legal writing sample.
  • At least 7 years of experience practicing law.
  • Experience developing training/CLE materials related to relevant area of practice.
  • Experience in administrative hearings and/or courtroom advocacy.
  • Prior legal practice in a public defender/indigent legal services office or small to mid-sized law firm practice management.
  • Substantial experience working with criminal defense lawyers representing common clients.
  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal systems.
  • Spanish-language proficiency if area of specialization is immigration law.

Knowledge of:
  • Enmeshed penalties and collateral consequences triggered by criminal-legal system contact related to housing access, employment/occupational license access, public benefits access, healthcare access or immigration.
  • Best practices in client centered holistic representation for the indigent accused, including bail, trial, sentencing and mitigation practices/procedures.
  • Best practices in socially and culturally competent representation of people from marginalized communities.

Skill in:
  • Legal analysis.
  • Legal research.
  • Clear and persuasive written and oral advocacy (legal and non-legal).
  • Basic data analysis.
  • Workflow management.
  • Transparent, fair and equitable leadership and decision-making in order to foster a healthy, sustainable organizational culture;
  • General computing, word processing, and data entry;
  • Organization and time management.

Ability to:
    • Engage in systems-thinking.
    • Create engaging presentations/materials designed to aid others' understanding of complex legal topics.
    • Work independently and as part of team.
    • Lead, motivate and support others to do their best work.
    • Exercise sound judgment.
    • Communicate effectively across lines of difference with others.

    Work Environment & Other Information

    The PDO is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. The PDO strongly encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, abilities and communities to apply. All applicants should be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In considering applicants, the PDO values an applicant's experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with people from communities that experience marginalization.

    Physical requirements include the ability to lift/carry up to 25 pounds occasionally, visual acuity, speech and hearing, hand and eye coordination and manual dexterity necessary to operate a computer and office equipment.  Subject to standing, walking, sitting, repetitive motion, reaching, climbing stairs, driving, bending, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, pushing, pulling, balancing, client/customer contact, squatting to perform the essential functions.

    Travis County employees play an important role in business continuity. As such, employees can be assigned to business continuity efforts outside of normal job functions.

    This job description is intended to be generic in nature.  It is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities.  The essential duties, functions and responsibilities and overtime eligibility may vary based on the specific tasks assigned to the position.

    Work Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Monday through Friday
    Works some nights holidays and weekends
    4 year grant; renewed each fiscal year

    Department: Public Defender

    Location: 1010 Lavaca St., Austin

    Criminal, Education and Employment Background Check Required.