Contact Us

PO Box 27010, 7782 Crittenden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(267) 277-3404 (phone)

Email Us

Staff Public Defender (Felony Qualified)


Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) seeks felony-qualified, public defender attorneys with demonstrated commitment to rural, indigent defense and exceptional advocacy skills to serve in rural, southwest Texas.

We serve 14 rural Texas counties, all south of San Antonio. Currently, we have four public defender offices in Beeville, Rio Grande City, Hallettsville, and Harlingen. We opened a fifth office to serve Atascosa, Karnes, Frio, and Wilson Counties. Our offices are located near various natural and cultural attractions. They are also within reasonable driving distances from metro areas with international airports.

For over a decade, TRLA indigent defense services has provided clients with complete, vertical representation from intake to resolution. Except for cases involving a conflict of interest or the death penalty, TRLA represents persons charged with crimes from initial arrest to final appeal. We deliver holistic services, both civil and criminal, including advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction and trauma-informed, mental health advocacy.

With caseload controls, staff investigators, and a litigation budget, our program is deeply committed to zealous, high-quality representation in rural South Texas. Attorney benefits include law school loan repayment assistance, paid vacation, healthcare insurance, retirement plan, and training & travel stipends. Our defenders train with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense and other defender-minded associations.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Serve as lead counsel of record in felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile cases;

  • Manage cases from intake to final resolution, including pretrial, trial, appeals, and additional motion practice, as it arises; and

  • Provide mentorship to newly licensed attorneys as they join the division.



  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam;

  • At least three years of criminal litigation experience as a licensed attorney;

  • Have served as lead counsel in at least 3 felony trials before a jury;

  • Experience with appeals;

  • Proficiency in Office365 and legal research software; and

  • Professional fluency in Spanish (highly preferred).

Preferred applicants will demonstrate an interest in providing justice to those who need it most; have worked in a public defender office; have strong academic credentials; and want to live and work in communities where our clients have the greatest needs. TRLA is also looking for attorneys that aspire to become leaders both within our division and in the larger public defender community.

TRLA, a poverty law firm with a national reputation for effective advocacy, is one of the largest legal services programs in the nation, employing over 200 civil attorneys across a 68-county service area in Southwest Texas.


At TRLA, we are committed to offering fair and equal employment opportunities to all job applicants and employees. We strictly prohibit any form of discrimination and harassment of any type based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

This position requires, consistent with TRLA’s policy and subject to applicable law, a candidate to provide proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination prior to commencing employment.

To Apply: 

Complete online application at:


Submission Deadline: 
October 31, 2023
Organization Information: 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)
301 S. Texas Avenue
Mercedes, TX 78750
United States
Phone: 956-447-4800