Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities

The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender was established in 1930 and defends indigent clients in one of the largest unified court systems in the United States. We have close to 700 employees including more than 500 attorneys who represent tens of thousands of clients a year, accused of offenses ranging from traffic violations and misdemeanors to felonies such as murder.

Our mission is to protect the rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation.

Our office has multiple divisions and our offices are located throughout Cook County.

Application procedures

Vacancies in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office are listed in the Cook County Employment ListingsOn the Employment Listings page, use the "Organizations" filter to choose "Offices Under the President" and then browse those listings that are identified as opportunities at the Public Defender's Office.

Please carefully complete and submit all applications and required supporting documents, following the instructions on the job listing. Failure to do so may disqualify an applicant from employment consideration.

Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.

Attorneys

Applications for Assistant Public Defender I positions may be submitted when postings are listed in the Cook County Employment Listings. On the Employment Listings page, use the “Organizations” filter to choose “Offices Under the President” and then browse those listings that are identified as opportunities at the Public Defender’s Office.

Applicants for attorney positions must be a member of the Illinois State Bar Association at the time they submit their application.

Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in working with indigent clients, a capacity to work long hours and the ability to develop excellent litigation and writing skills.

Attorneys with legal experience outside our office are encouraged to apply for attorney supervisor roles when such postings are listed in the Cook County Employment Listings.

Law students may consider applying for our Law Student Volunteer Internship Program For more information on this program click here.

Recent law school graduates who are not yet admitted to the Illinois Bar may consider applying for pre-licensed positions as explained below.

Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defender Program

Recent law school graduates who have not yet been admitted to practice law in Illinois, have the opportunity to work as a Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defender. Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defenders have one calendar year after their start date to get sworn-in to the Illinois bar. Upon being sworn-in, Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defenders automatically get promoted to Assistant Public Defender I.  

Pre-licensed opportunities can be found in the Cook County Employment Listings. On the Employment Listings page, use the “Organizations” filter to choose “Offices Under the President” and then browse those listings that are identified as opportunities at the Public Defender’s Office.

 Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be currently enrolled in an accredited school of law having completed at least 54 credit hours required. (Must provide original law school transcript at time of interview) OR
  • have graduated from an accredited school of law with a Juris Doctorate degree preparing to take the Illinois bar or awaiting Illinois bar results, but not yet licensed as an Illinois attorney. (Must provide law school transcript).

Support staff, investigators, mitigation specialists, case workers, social workers,  interpreters and other non-attorney positions

Our office’s work to provide the finest legal representation for all of our clients would not be possible without skilled support staff, investigators, mitigation specialists, case workers, social workers, language interpreters and other important roles.

All persons interested in applying for these roles should apply online at Cook County Employment Listings. On the Employment Listings page, use the “Organizations” filter to choose “Offices Under the President” and then browse those listings that are identified as opportunities at the Public Defender’s Office.

Important notes for applicants

Documents uploaded for previous applications will not be considered. Applicants must upload documents separately for each application.

Failure to provide required documents prior to the closing date will result in disqualification from further consideration.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a request for reasonable accommodation must be provided prior to starting work at our office.