The Public Defender represents the majority of indigent citizens facing criminal and delinquency prosecution in New Hampshire. It engages in “vertical” representation, meaning that staff attorneys represent clients from the time they are appointed to final disposition in the trial-level court. Staff attorneys do not handle their clients’ appeals to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The Program is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to insuring that New Hampshire fulfills its constitutional obligation of equal justice for all by providing client-centered representation to indigent defendants. To achieve that mission, the Program fosters a work environment that encourages creativity and teamwork.
Each of the New Hampshire Public Defender’s ten trial offices and its appellate office is staffed by a Managing Attorney, an Office Administrator, Legal Assistants, Investigators and Attorneys. The Program also has an Information Technology Department that services its technology infrastructure, including phones and computers. Legal Assistants, Investigators, and Information Technology staff are hired as positions become open.
Investigators provide essential support for staff attorneys and their clients by interviewing potential witnesses, subpoenaing witnesses, writing reports, obtaining important documents, and collecting information that may help clients in sentencing hearings. The best candidates have a bachelor’s level degree, excellent interpersonal skills, and solid writing ability. The Program’s Investigators have diverse backgrounds, but are all deeply dedicated to the representation of its clients.
To apply for an investigator position, submit a resume, cover letter, and transcript (unofficial is fine) to our Recruiting Coordinator through the Current Legal Openings portal below or click here.
Social Service Advocate
Social Service Advocates work directly with clients facing criminal charges with substance use disorders and/or mental health issues and assists them in accessing appropriate care. Social Service Advocates also work with witnesses and families of clients to prepare social histories to be used in court. Important skills for the position include the ability to communicate effectively, document information accurately, deal effectively and compassionately with a wide variety of individuals, maintain confidentiality, work independently, and manage time effectively.
To apply for an Social Service Advocate position, submit a resume, cover letter, and transcript (unofficial is fine) to our Recruiting Coordinator through the Current Legal Openings portal below or click here.
The Program employs Legal Assistants to provide support to its staff attorneys. Each Legal Assistant works for three to four staff attorneys. Legal Assistants type correspondence and motions, open and close cases, answer phones, calendar court and meeting dates for attorneys, and frequently deal directly with the Program’s clients. The best candidates have experience working in a busy law office, excellent interpersonal skills, are comfortable with Word-based programs, and are dedicated to the representation of the Program’s clients.
To view our current openings for Legal Assistant positions please apply on Indeed. For general inquiries, please submit your materials (resume, cover letter, and transcript) to NHPD-HumanResources@nhpd.org.
Staff Attorney (Lateral)
New Hampshire Public Defender is seeking experienced trial attorneys to fill several staff attorney vacancies. Applicants must have a commitment to criminal defense and practical experience that demonstrates a level of skill. Our office is committed to providing the highest quality of representation to all we serve. Applicants must be admitted to the New Hampshire Bar or be eligible for immediate admission by waiver. Full-time and Part-time positions are available. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.
Staff Attorney (New)
Every Fall, the Program recruits new Staff Attorneys to work in its ten trial offices. The number of open positions varies each year. Application Submission deadline is November 15th.
Applicants for Staff Attorney positions must be entering or in their final year of law school and anticipate graduating from an accredited law school. The Program also welcomes applicants who have graduated from law school, are pursuing a judicial clerkship or fellowship, and want to begin their public defender careers immediately afterwards. Applicants must be a member of the New Hampshire Bar, eligible to waive into the New Hampshire Bar with a qualifying Uniform Bar Examination score or qualified for, prepared to take, and pass the New Hampshire Bar Examination. The examination is given in Concord every February and July, with registration typically required by December 1 for the February exam, and May 1 for the July exam. Most applicants take the exam during the July session that precedes the start of new lawyer training in late August.
Successful candidates will have pursued and distinguished themselves in academic coursework which prepares them for a career as a public defender, such as courses in evidence, trial advocacy, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. In addition, they will have pursued opportunities to participate in criminal clinical programs offered by their law schools, or internship and externship opportunities at public defender offices.
Upon acceptance of an offer of employment, new public defenders will submit their top three choices for office placement and will be notified of their office placement by the end of spring. Each new public defender is assigned a mentor and will meet with them at least weekly. The Managing Attorney, who assigns cases, is responsible for carefully monitoring the new lawyer’s case load. New public defenders will initially be responsible for a smaller caseload consisting of misdemeanor and youth cases. Based on individual professional growth, a new public defender’s caseload will grow. They will receive felony cases and co-counseling opportunities with experienced lawyers typically within the first few months of their employment. By the end of the first year, a new lawyer will be responsible for a full caseload consisting of felonies, misdemeanors, delinquency mattes, and others (probation/parole violations and other post-conviction matters).
All Current Legal Openings can click here.
Second Year Summer Internship Program
New Hampshire Public Defender offers legal internships to law students who have completed their second year of law school. These full-time, ten-week internships usually run from the beginning of June until early to mid-August. These are unpaid positions, but many interns are able to secure grants or outside funding. Students are reimbursed for on the job mileage. All interns must have a driver’s license and insured vehicle.
Legal interns are treated like lawyers rather than “law clerks.” They handle misdemeanor and juvenile cases under attorney supervision. Interns have extensive client contact. They appear on the record and represent clients at bail hearings, scheduling conferences, review hearings, motion hearings, and trials. In addition, interns may have the opportunity to co-counsel a jury trial. By the end of the summer, interns entering their third year of law school have a firm understanding of what it is like to be a public defender.
Successful applicants for legal internship positions have excellent grades and have demonstrated their commitment to indigent criminal defense through volunteer, internship, or clinical experiences during law school. NHPD limits its intern class to insure that each intern is well-supported and supervised.
In the past few years, NHPD has hired interns from the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, Vermont Law School, Harvard, Boston College, Georgetown, George Washington, Stanford, Columbia, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Texas and the University of Georgia. NHPD only selects interns that it believes have the potential to be outstanding public defender attorneys. It interviews interested interns for staff attorney positions at the end of the summer and several current staff attorneys are former interns.
All Current Internship Openings can click here.
First Year Summer Internship Program
Law students who have completed their first year of school are also welcome to apply for internships. While these students are not eligible to appear on the record in court, they are able to have extensive client contact under supervision and work closely with staff attorneys on misdemeanor, juvenile and felony cases. First year students often conduct legal research, draft motions, and assist staff attorneys in preparing for hearings and trials. In addition, these students have the opportunity to investigate cases under the supervision of an NHPD staff investigator. Please see our investigator internship position for more information.
This is an unpaid, ten-week internship. Roughly half of the intern’s time is spent working on investigations. Job-related mileage and investigator licensing expenses are reimbursed. Interns must be licensed drivers with an insured vehicle.
All Current Internship Openings can click here.
Investigator Internship Program
College students in their junior or senior year, graduate students, and law students who have completed their first year of law school, are welcome to apply for investigator internships.
Investigator interns work closely with staff attorneys and their clients. They interview witnesses, write reports, take photographs, diagram crime scenes, deliver subpoenas to witnesses, and gather records and other documents essential to the defense. In addition, interns assist attorneys in preparing for hearings and trials, and help clients obtain treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues.
Investigator interns can work during the summer, spring or fall. Applications should be received at least two months before the proposed start date. Available positions are either full or part-time. Interns must work at least twenty hours a week for at least ten weeks.
This position is unpaid. Job-related mileage expenses are reimbursed. Interns must be licensed drivers and have an insured vehicle. Every intern must obtain a private investigator’s license through the New Hampshire Department of Safety. NHPD will assist in this process and reimburse the associated fee.
All Current Internship Openings can click here.
Equal Opportunity Statement Conditions of Employment
NHPD hires and promotes qualified persons based upon the individual merits and achievements of applicants and employees. All employment decisions, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, training, layoff or recall are made without regard to the race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, familial status or disability status of any applicant or employee. Likewise, NHPD expressly prohibits and will not tolerate unlawful harassment in any form by any employee or agent of the organization, including managers, supervisors, co-workers, clients, delivery personnel, sales representatives, contract workers, and other persons who are on NHPD premises and who come in contact with NHPD employees.