The Nashville Defender staff is a mix of attorneys, investigators, paralegals, social workers, law clerks, and others, all dedicated to advocating for the ideal of equal justice for our clients a reality in Nashville. Throughout the year, we also benefit from the work of interns and students who come to us from various programs. For more information about student and internship opportunities with our Office, click here.
Legal Secretary 2
The Office is seeking to hire a Legal Secretary 2. This position performs advanced secretarial and administrative duties in direct support of Assistant Public Defenders and maintains client and office files and records in a manner consistent with policies and practices. We are seeking candidates who have a passion for social justice and specifically for the issues surrounding indigent defense and the criminal justice system. Candidates are strongly encouraged to learn more about our organization online before applying.
This position performs advanced clerical and administrative duties in direct support of Assistant Public Defenders and maintains client and office files and records in a manner consistent with policies and practices. Paralegal certification and experience are preferred, as is prior experience in a law firm or indigent legal services office and bilingual fluency in English and Spanish. Applicants should have maturity; the ability to work independently and in a team; excellent customer service skills and experience dealing with the public; and good organizational skills.
Assistant Public Defender-Experienced
The Office is seeking to hire attorneys with at least three to five years of practice experience to fill the position of Assistant Public Defender. Candidates must be licensed to practice law in Tennessee or licensed to practice law in another state AND capable of becoming licensed in the State of Tennessee within six months. Typical responsibilities include representing clients in General Sessions Court, Criminal Court, and Juvenile Court and working collaboratively with other defense team members, including investigators, social workers, and legal assistants.
Experienced Attorneys should apply at any time through the attorney application portal above. Be prepared to submit a resume and cover letter. You may also be asked to include a short writing sample, law school transcript, and/or references. If you must apply by mail, please submit your resume and cover letter to Courtney Bonner, 404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 2022, Nashville, TN 37219. If we are not hiring when you submit your application, you can expect to receive a letter notifying you that we received your application and will contact you if you are selected for an interview.
When non-attorney employment opportunities become available, we post them here and with other relevant organizations and recruiting sites. We are not currently hiring for that position if you don’t see a posting. Interested applicants are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to the Public Defender explaining what position they seek should an opening occur. We employ support staff such as paralegals, investigators, client advocates, social workers, and administrative positions.
If you are an attorney or graduating law school student interested in working for the Office, we accept applications year-round and hire as positions become available. We also hire law school graduates seeking admission to the Tennessee bar and qualify for supervised practice certification under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7.
A few words about 3L hiring: Unlike larger public defense systems that hire new “classes” of attorneys once or twice a year, we typically hire as positions become available — most often due to turnover. That means we usually are not in a position to make job offers to 3L students early in the year. Despite this challenge, we value a diverse attorney staff and have been able to hire talented students from law schools across the country. Fellowships and law school stipend programs can help bridge the gap between graduation and an open position, and we encourage students to explore those options. We also suggest students apply as early as possible in their 3L year. Please apply through this Metro Nashville Hiring portal link: Assistant Public Defender Position
Volunteer attorneys: We occasionally receive inquiries about attorney volunteer opportunities with the Office. Due to space and staffing limitations, we cannot accommodate all such requests. If you are an attorney interested in volunteering with the Office, you should explain that in your application, and we will evaluate that with the rest of your application.
Internships: For more information about student and internship opportunities with our Office, click here.