The San Bernardino County Public Defender offers excellent careers for attorneys, investigators and clerical staff wishing to handle exciting criminal defense cases. Upon joining our office, each staff member will find him or herself part of a professional litigation team with supportive formal and informal mentoring, comprehensive training and state of the art equipment.


The San Bernardino County Public Defender offers excellent opportunities for dedicated criminal defense litigators wishing to handle exciting cases. Our attorneys enjoy a supportive environment with creative, dedicated colleagues.

An accredited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) provider, our Training Department designs programs that offer ongoing specialized legal instruction and trial advocacy. The Training Department brings together in-house and community legal experts and professionals to train our lawyers. In fiscal year 2006-2007 the Training Department programs resulted in more than 2,752 hours of Certified Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for our attorneys. In addition, we provide financial assistance for legal training from outside providers.

Our department has formal mentoring programs. The Training Department assigns a mentor to assist with training and transition for new Law Clerks, Deputy Public Defenders, and for Deputies beginning a new practice area within the department. In addition, our friendly atmosphere promotes informal interaction among attorneys and staff at all levels facilitating open discussion on all aspects of work.

While caseloads are high at all public service agencies, our supervisory staff monitors their staff members’ workloads to ensure fairness, reasonableness and to facilitate training. After an initial probationary period, formal work performance evaluations are given once a year, and attorneys have the opportunity to discuss their assessments with their supervisors.

The department provides all staff with state of the art resources and equipment. Each Deputy receives up to date code, jury instruction, and trial preparation books, access to extensive web based legal research and cutting edge trial preparation graphics and software applications.

Generations of San Bernardino County Public Defenders have provided passionate advocacy and skilled legal counsel and distinctive leadership to our profession and to the communities we serve.

View job descriptions: Deputy Public Defender I, Deputy Public Defender II, Deputy Public Defender III, Deputy Public Defender IV

Law Clerks

The San Bernardino County Public Defender offers Summer and Post Bar Clerkships.

Under attorney supervision, and after a training program designed for the position, a Summer or a Post-Bar Law Clerk performs legal research and assists our attorneys. Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Researching, writing and filing appeals, petitions and motions
  2. Preparing pleadings, memoranda and other legal documents
  3. Maintaining and organizing case and legal reference files
  4. Litigating motions in the San Bernardino County Superior Court

To qualify to be a Summer Clerk, or “Law Clerk I,” a student must have completed his or her first year of study at an ABA or State Bar of California accredited school.

To qualify to be Post-Bar Clerk, or “Law Clerk II,” a student must have graduated from an ABA or State Bar of California accredited law school and meet the requirements of a Certified Law Student as defined by the State Bar of California.

The San Bernardino County Public Defender recruits Summer and Post-Bar Law Clerks each year between August and May. Offers are made to Law Clerks on a rolling basis. Our Summer Clerkships begin in late May and conclude in late August, and our Post-Bar Clerkships begin in late August and conclude in early December.

Investigators and Investigator Trainees

The Public Defender’s Bureau of Investigation offers an exciting career for professional, diligent and creative investigators dedicated to finding the truth.


Our investigators conduct field investigation, collect and evaluate evidence, consult with Public Defender attorneys, and testify in court, for cases handled by the Public Defender. Our investigators handle complex and exciting cases involving a broad scope of investigative techniques, a high degree of initiative, judgment and independence of action.

Public Defender Investigators locate and interview witnesses, make recommendations, issue and serve subpoenas. Cases range from routine to complex, sensitive, or specialized investigations often involving, juveniles, Sexually Violent Predators (SVP), Mentally Disturbed Offenders (MDO), gangs and investigations involving homicide, robbery, rape, welfare fraud, child molestation, officer involved shootings, etc. The department provides state of the art resources and equipment, and facilitates a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

The average Public Defender Investigator has 21 years of law enforcement and private investigations experience. Almost all Public Defender Investigators have testified in court as expert witnesses in a variety of disciplines including gangs, drugs, crime-scene analysis and ballistics.

All new Public Defender Investigators must complete the first level of our investigative training program (ITP-1). ITP-1 includes an unprecedented 21-day field training investigator program.

Our investigative management team provides mentoring and support to all investigative staff. After completing an initial probationary period, all investigative staff receive annual, evidence based, work performance evaluations. The investigative management team conducts a monthly quality control audit process for Bureau work product and is measuring the Bureau’s work product and procedures against industry standards.

View job description

Investigator Trainees

Investigator Trainees work under immediate supervision, receive training and acquire the knowledge and skills required for promotion to Public Defender Investigator.

Working closely with supervision, Investigator Trainees plan and independently conduct a variety of criminal investigations to support a legal defense. Among other tasks, Trainees will assist with subpoena service, interviews, crime scene investigation and report writing, and may be called to testify in court.

View job description

Social Service Practitioners

Social Service Practitioners provide support and intervention to Public Defender clients by ensuring clients have access to the available social services the county and state offer. Social Service Practitioners meet with indigent clients in their home, jail, prison, state hospitals or other settings to develop and implement treatment plans to improve social functioning, perform biopsychosocial assessments requested by attorneys, and recommend and make appropriate referrals for clients who are in the criminal justice system.

The work of a Public Defender Social Service Practitioner requires investigating and/or supporting cases involving clients who may have physical or psychological issues. Public Defender Social Service Practitioners may appear and testify in court to support client cases and appear in San Bernardino County’s Special Attendance Review Board (SARB) in efforts to end truancy.

Clerical Professionals

The San Bernardino County Public Defender offers excellent career opportunities for public-service-oriented clerical professionals. Our clerical staff serves as an integral part of the defense team on our assigned cases, and assists the department in developing procedures and processes to facilitate excellent legal representation for all of our clients.

Commitment to Diversity

View the Public Defender’s Commitment to Diversity.