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Scammer pretending to be a public defender; read more here: Scam claiming loved one is in jail makes way around Central Texas again ( Members of Public Defender's Office will never ask for your money over the phone. If you have any questions, call our office at 512-854-5100 or email [email protected].


The office is regularly hiring attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, and legal secretaries. Please check here for openings.

Potential attorney applicants who are not presently members of the Texas Bar are welcome to apply if they are eligible for admission without examination. However, please be aware that the admission without examination process can be lengthy, up to 9 months. Such applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as practicable to increase the likelihood that they will be eligible for hire during the present recruitment period.



The Travis County Public Defender’s Office (TCPDO) is accepting applications for our Fall Internship Program. We are accepting applications for interns in the following areas:

  • Legal Interns in the Criminal defense practice
  • Legal Interns in the Padilla immigration practice
  • Investigative Interns

Officially opening our doors in January 2021, TCPDO provides high-quality holistic defense representation to indigent people accused of crimes in Travis County. Our interdisciplinary team-based model features criminal defense attorneys, Padilla immigration attorneys, social workers, civil paralegals, investigators, and legal secretaries working together to serve clients’ expressed goals and needs related to the criminal charges, and to combat the harmful collateral consequences/enmeshed penalties they trigger.

Born out of a desire to see improved outcomes for people coming through the County’s criminal legal system, all TCPDO advocates are guided by the community-shaped goals set out in our foundational documents: ( 1) promoting a client-centered culture that values and respects client dignity; (2) serving as a strong, independent, institutional voice for public defense; (3) providing a training ground that produces excellent defenders; (4) raising the quality of criminal representation for all people charged with crimes in Travis County who cannot afford an attorney; and (5) being resourceful and responsive to the evolving needs of the community.

Legal Interns (First- and second-year law students are encouraged to apply)

Criminal Defense Legal Interns

Our law student interns will take part in every stage of representation: meeting with clients, family members, and witnesses; assisting with magistration and bond advocacy; planning and executing investigation and discovery review; preparing pre-trial litigation including drafting motions; conducting in-depth legal research; and supporting TCPDO attorneys in courtroom advocacy and trial preparation on behalf of our clients. Interns can expect to gain hands-on experience in cases from appointment to disposition.

Padilla Legal Interns

In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court held that criminal defense lawyers had an obligation to inform non-citizen clients about the immigration consequences when accepting a plea. Therefore, our Padilla attorneys meet with clients and family members to collect information on a client’s immigration status in order to provide a holistic and accurate representation of how a criminal charge may have collateral consequences to any pending or future immigration application or proceeding.

Our Padilla interns will (under attorney supervision):

  • Meet with clients and family members to collect detailed information regarding a client’s immigration status
  • Determine whether a client is eligible for any form of immigration relief
  • Conduct legal research and writing to determine whether certain criminal charges have adverse immigration consequences
  • Assist in writing memos to our Criminal Defense attorneys detailing which criminal charges have immigration consequences and provide alternative plea considerations where available
  • Participate in ICE Detainer Advocacy

Investigative Interns 

PDO Investigators are a critical part of the defense team as they work in concert with public defender attorneys to investigate allegations of suspected violations of criminal statutes and possible legal defenses to and mitigation against those allegations and use their findings to provide information to help guide the course and outcome of client representation. As an investigative intern, you will work closely with PDO investigators in planning and conducting complete investigations of criminal allegations and circumstances of clients’ lived experiences. This may include but is not limited to: taking photographs and measurements; collecting and evaluating physical and testimonial evidence; serving subpoenas; present orally and in writing findings of investigation; and preparation of demonstrative evidence for use in proceedings related to the allegations. 

Preferred Qualifications for these positions include:

Legal Interns (Criminal Defense and Padilla Immigration)

  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal systems;
  • The ability to conduct legal research and writing;
  • Familiarity with enmeshed penalties and collateral consequences trigged by criminal-legal system contact;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the best practices in socially and culturally competent representation of marginalized people;
  • Skill in communicating effectively across lines of difference with others;
  • and, fluency in Spanish. 

Investigative Interns 

  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal systems
  • Skill in building rapport and communicating effectively across lines of difference with others
  • Ability to bring a trauma-informed approach to communicating with people in crisis
  • Ability to use active listening and demonstrate empathy
  • Attention to detail and attunement to surroundings
  • High level of organization; ability to take and maintain accurate records and write concisely
  • Ability to conduct fact investigations
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Ability to drive preferred
  • Ability to speak Spanish preferred

Please note in your application if you are fluent in Spanish. To apply, please send a resume, statement of interest, and writing sample (Legal intern applicants only) to [email protected].

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

TCPDO is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. The PDO strongly encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, abilities, and communities to apply. All applicants should be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In considering applicants, TCPDO values an applicant's experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with people from communities that experience marginalization.


For any questions regarding employment, contact [email protected] or call 512-854-5100.