Start Your Career in Public Defense

Why Work for DPA

Kentucky DPA has over 350 attorneys aspiring to provide the highest level of legal advocacy to each of our 148,000 clients a year. We are committed to making the Public Defender’s Office the most professional public law firm in Kentucky. The office recruits and hires candidates who are committed to quality ethical representation and improving the criminal justice system.

In order to ensure the best quality legal representation for our clients, the Department of Public Advocacy’s defense team includes: attorneys; investigators; mitigation specialists; alternative sentencing workers (social workers); administrative professionals; and interns from both undergraduate and law school programs. A description of each position can be found by clicking on the position title.

Kentucky has higher poverty levels than in most other states of the U.S. A total of 16.5% of Commonwealth residents were recorded as living under the poverty line in the 2020 census, compared to a rate of 11.6% across the country.

This is why we hire talented, highly dedicated individuals to advocate for our clients.

Positions in DPA

Alternative Sentencing Workers

Administrative Professionals

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Benefits of Working for DPA

Client-Centered Representation

A core value of the Department of Public Advocacy is to provide client-centered representation to clients in all stages of involvement in the criminal legal system. This includes client-centered advocacy, thorough investigation, and holistic approaches to meet clients needs and avoid incarceration. All of DPA’s defenders, including lawyers, investigators, and Alternative Sentencing Workers (ASWs), work together to best represent our clients.


All DPA Defenders receive extensive training at the start of and throughout their careers. This includes newly hired training for our lawyers, investigators, ASWs, and office professionals. Each job role also has yearly training, in addition to our Annual Conference.

To learn more about the amazing training offered at DPA, visit our Education Branch page.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our agency values diversity and the many voices on our teams which come to the table to protect the rights of our clients.

DEI Director Cheyla Bush leads our DEI Workgroup, whose mission is to support the agency in providing high quality legal defense for our clients by creating a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive environment at all levels.

DPA values the time of our staff and appreciates the dedication it takes to defend our clients. Within the parameters of client centered representation, DPA encourages flexibility of schedule to best support our defenders. Time worked is recorded and compensated so that we can best show appreciation for the dedication of our defenders.

State Employee Job Benefits
  • Paid holidays
  • Earned vacation & sick leave
  • Comp time earned
  • Health insurance
  • Optional dental and vision insurance
  • Retirement
  • 401K
  • Learn more here.

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How to Apply

The Department of Public Advocacy operates under the Justice and Public Safety branch of the Kentucky State Government System. As such, all current vacancies may be found on the Personnel Cabinet’s Career Opportunities Portal

For external (outside of Kentucky state government) applicants, you must first create an account with Personnel and set up your profile. Then when you apply for a job for the first time, you are taken to a state application to complete. If you apply again for another position, your state application you previously completed will now upload. You may only edit the application when you are applying for a job. All DPA positions are filled according to the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet regulations.

Current Kentucky state employees should use the MyPurpose Website to complete an application.

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About Kentucky

Student Loans

The Department of Public Advocacy is a qualifying employer for the Federal Student Aid Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. More information about the PSLF program can be found here.

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