Assistant Appellate Defenders


Openings exist for experienced Assistant Defenders at Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office to provide legal representation to indigent criminal defendants on appeal from felony convictions. Positions are at SADO’s Detroit or Lansing locations, with a start date of April 1, 2018.

SADO is Michigan’s award-winning, statewide, indigent appellate defense provider. SADO attorneys represent indigent clients for direct appeal or other post-conviction proceedings, involving challenges to convictions and sentences following guilty pleas and trials. Assistant Defenders engage in a wide range of legal work, including research and writing, argument in the trial and appellate courts, including the Michigan Supreme Court, and travel to Michigan’s various prisons and jails for client consultation. In addition to traditional appellate advocacy, assistant defenders have the unique opportunity to develop new evidence and hold evidentiary hearings in Michigan’s trial courts on a variety of factual and legal issues. A career at SADO offers the satisfaction of impacting individual clients in life-altering ways, including fact-based exonerations and reduced sentences in felony cases, and allows for the opportunity to shape the legal landscape.

SADO offers ongoing training, and a resourced staff of investigators, social workers, and mitigation specialists. With offices in two vibrant cities, SADO’s fifty staff members form a community of experienced advocates fighting for clients and a fair criminal justice system. Visit www.sado.org to learn more.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must have at least 5 years of experience in criminal defense to apply. Must have outstanding legal research and writing, communication, and trial and appellate court advocacy skills. A demonstrated commitment to indigent defense and public service, and clerkship experience, are preferred. Qualified candidates must be admitted or eligible for transfer to the Michigan Bar and must have strong computer skills in MS Word and Adobe.

DETAILS: The starting pay range for this position is 65k-75k, depending on experience. Benefits include health, dental, 401k/457 plans, 12 paid holidays, 3 weeks of vacation during the first year, training, and a flexible work environment. In addition, SADO Assistant Defenders may be eligible for student loan repayment assistance through their law school loan forgiveness program or the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program: www.michigan.gov/jrj.

TO APPLY: Submit a cover letter stating your interest in the position and office location preference. Include your resume, writing sample, and a copy of your law school transcripts. Applications should be submitted by February 9, 2018 to:

Attn: Wendy Dealca
State Appellate Defender Office
645 Griswold, Ste 3300
Detroit, MI 48226
Email: wdealca@sado.org
Fax: 313-965-0372

SADO is an equal opportunity employer.