Hiring of attorney
staff occurs throughout the year as openings need to be filled. All persons
hired must be admitted to the Rhode Island Bar at the time employment
commences, or must be eligible for a limited two-year waiver. Rhode Island
has no full reciprocity with any other jurisdiction. The Bar does permit
limited reciprocity – a member of the highest Bar of another state
may practice with us for a period of up to two years, but s/he must be
admitted via examination prior to the expiration of the two-year period.
Therefore, to be considered an active candidate, an applicant must either
be admitted to the Rhode Island Bar or be a member in good standing of
the Bar of another state; occasionally, a candidate will be considered
who is not yet registered but intends to sit for the next Bar Examination.
All staff members
are unclassified state employees, subject to the state salary structure,
with full benefits. Virtually all new hires are entry level.
Most successful candidates
for attorney position have a demonstrated interest in criminal defense,
either through previous practice or law school clinical experience. In
addition, most successful candidates have a demonstrated commitment to
services to indigents.
New hires in the criminal
division are generally assigned to the misdemeanor unit regardless of
their prior experience. There is no formal period of rotation, however,
and criminal trial attorneys are re-assigned to the felony division anywhere
from six months to two years following hiring. With the exception of the
criminal trial felony and misdemeanor units, there is rarely regular rotation
among divisions and attorneys are presumptively hired for a specific vacancy
in a particular division.
The Public Defender
operates an extensive in-house continuing legal education program
is hired as vacancies occur, and all hiring is centralized. Employees
for staff positions (Attorneys) are hired on a state-wide basis and are
frequently rotated from one office or geographic area of responsibility
Administrative Support Specialist (Case Intake Coordinator)