Careers and Job Postings

The Rhode Island Public Defender is an equal opportunity employer

The Office of the Rhode Island Public Defender is a mix of attorneys, investigators, secretaries, social workers, and other advocates all dedicated to holistic representation of RIPD clients. Throughout the year the Office also benefits from the work of interns and students—student opportunities with the RIPD can be accessed here.

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  • Careers
  • Job Postings
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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 (described in more detail below). Most successful candidates for attorney position have a demonstrated interest in holistic criminal defense, either through previous practice or law school clinical experience. In addition, most successful candidates have a demonstrated commitment to providing services to indigents. All staff members are unclassified state employees, subject to the state salary structure, with full benefits. Virtually all new hires are entry level.

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. Most attorneys are hired on a state-wide basis and are frequently rotated from one office or geographic area of responsibility to another.

Bar Membership

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 for the RIPD, 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.

Non-attorney staff

Non-attorney staff members are hired as vacancies occur. When non-attorney employment positions become available, we post them here and with other relevant organizations and recruiting sites.

There are currently no available job openings at The Rhode Island Public Defender. Please check back here in the future, as new openings will be posted when available. Thank you!

The Office of Public Defender is always accepting resumes and cover letters for attorney positions.