Employment, Internships and Volunteers


Office of the Public DefenderProfessional and Effective Criminal Defense

Abernethy 2014


How do I apply for a position as a Deputy Public Defender?

The Napa County Public Defender offers excellent careers for attorneys, investigators, and clerical staff in the criminal defense field. 
We conduct job interviews only when we have a position available. For a list of current openings in Napa County see Napa County Human Resources.

For a description of Deputy Public Defender positions, see below or the description page at our Human Resources Department.

  • Experience - how many years of experience are required depends on which Level (I-IV) the applicant is seeking.
  • United States citizenship (resident alien status does not qualify).
  • Graduation from an accredited law school.
  • Active membership in the California State Bar Association.
  • Possession of a valid California Driver’s License.

Examples of Job Duties:

  • Interview applicants for public defense and determine eligibility.
  • Advise clients on legal rights.
  • Appear with and for defendant at all court hearings.
  • Decide on and make appropriate legal motions and pleas, and other legal action on behalf of client.
  • Represent alleged mentally ill, drug addicted, and other applicants for public defense before and during hearing for commitment.
  • Order investigations and subpoenas.
  • May defend indigent defendants in civil litigation as legally required.
  • Dictate correspondence and prepare reports.
  • Perform other related duties as required.
  • Additionally, an attorney may be responsible for “specialty areas”; such as, paternity and child support, consumer fraud, planning and zoning violations, environmental cases, and violations of the Fair Political Practices Act. These are areas which can be consolidated for countywide prosecution and which demand a uniform and consistent approach.

Compensation information - click the following links to review the compensation for attorney positions:

Applications should be submitted to the Napa County Human Resources Department.

At least the top six applicants will be given oral interviews which last approximately 40 minutes. The interviews usually involve discussion of hypothetical situations that a Deputy Public Defender might encounter. The hypos usually involve, but are not limited to, ethics, evidence and general legal concepts.



Investigators are vital members of the Napa County Office of the Public Defender team working to provide professional and efficient service to our clients who have been accused of crimes. This includes civil and minor criminal investigations (Investigator I) up to the full range of investigative duties for the more difficult and complex investigations.

Willing to work nights, weekends, holidays and/or outside normal business hours
Valid California Driver's License
Experience and education required varies depending on job class (trainee, I, II) 

Internship and Volunter Programs

Our office offers interships and volunteer positions for law students, college students and high school students during the school year or summer. This is an excellent opportunity to observe and participate in Napa's active legal system. Currently we do not offer paid interships; however, grants and scholarships for public interest positions like this are widely available.

For more information contact Terry Davis at:
(707) 253-4442
Please be prepared to provide a resume, writing sample and references.