Public Defender Client Services Specialist

Contra Costa County, CA
September 13, 2023
Martinez, CA
Job Type


The Position
Bargaining Unit: Local 1 - Investigative Unit

The Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office is excited to announce a recruitment for Client Services Specialist to be a part of Stand Together Contra Costa (STCC). STCC is a collaborative program run by the Public Defender's Office which provides vigorous and cutting-edge removal defense services and community engagement to Contra Costa County residents at no charge. Duties of the Stand Together Contra Costa Client Services Specialist will primarily include supporting our detained and non-detained indigent non-citizen clients with holistic services navigation as well as helping coordinate our community engagement events, clinics, and trainings. Multilingual applicants are preferred. Come join a one-of-a-kind program dedicated to innovative and robust services for indigent non-citizens!

The Public Defender's Office has over 90 attorneys serving the Courts of Contra Costa County, with office locations in Martinez, Richmond, and Walnut Creek. In addition, there is an Alternate Defenders Office in Martinez. The Public Defender's Office staff, at every level, are dedicated to one purpose: to provide excellent legal services to our clients. Our core philosophy is that justice can only be served when the most vulnerable among us are treated with the same attention, dignity, and respect as the most powerful. We take a holistic approach in representing our clients, which includes support services within our office of social workers, law clerks, legal assistants, immigration experts, a forensic attorney expert, a mental health unit, and a clean slate unit.

As an office, we foster practices and policies that promote equity, racial justice, diversity, and inclusion.

Client Services Specialists may be assigned to either the Adult or Juvenile units to be part of a holistic legal defense team advocating on behalf of indigent clients. The CSS may be located in Martinez (adult defense) or Walnut Creek (juvenile defense) and reports to an Assistant Public Defender.

When assigned to work with adult clients, the CSS will develop a knowledge base of local resources for alcohol and other drug treatment services; interview adult clients, both in and out of jail, to collect background information regarding treatment needs; conduct risk and needs assessments; prepare written reports and recommendations for rehabilitative treatment and placements; transport clients to programs and services; and perform related work as required.

When assigned to work with juvenile clients, the CSS will gain an understanding of the relevant past and current life experience of the youth, including interactions between the youth and systems in their social environment such as family, school, medical / mental health, law enforcement, and other systems; administer evidence-based tools to gauge future risk and to identify the needs of the youth; make appropriate referrals to community-based and county service and case management providers; support the youth and family after referral to services; assist with data collection and data entry; and perform related work as required. The CSS may also visit juvenile clients in out-of-home placement and other facilities throughout the State.

We are looking for someone who is:

  • Compassionate and will treat all clients with dignity and respect
  • Able to communicate effectively with people from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Committed to being part of a high-quality, holistic legal defense team
  • Flexible and can work independently
  • Good at multi-tasking and time management
  • Familiar with the reentry population

What you will typically be responsible for:

  • Interviewing and assessing clients, both in and out of custodial facilities such as jail and juvenile hall
  • Collaborating with government and community-based organizations on behalf of clients
  • Connecting clients with community-based resources for drug and alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and other social services
  • Transporting clients to programs and other services
  • Working with juvenile clients and families to support them in service engagement
  • Documenting treatment options and assessment results; data collection and entry

A few reasons you might love this job:

  • You relish the opportunity to help clients in a compassionate, holistic manner
  • You will build solid, supportive relationships with clients during a critical time in their lives
  • You will work independently and in a fast-paced environment
  • You enjoy working collaboratively with supportive colleagues

A few challenges you might face in this job:

  • You will have to balance multiple demands for your time and assistance
  • You will have to navigate a web of social service systems across the county
  • You will need to maintain self-care while working with adult and youth clients impacted by trauma and injustice

Competencies Required:

  • Professional & Technical Expertise: Applying technical subject matter to the job
  • Valuing Diversity: Appreciating the benefits of varied backgrounds and cultures in the workplace
  • Professional Impact: Presenting self as a positive representative of the organization
  • Interpersonal Savvy: Considering and responding appropriately to the needs and feelings of others in different situations
  • Building & Maintaining Relationships: Establishing rapport and maintaining mutually productive relationships
  • Customer Focus: Attending to the needs and expectations of customers
  • Oral Communication: Engaging effectively in dialogue
  • Listening: Fully comprehending spoken communication
  • Handling Stress: Maintaining emotional stability and self-control under pressure, challenge, or adversity
  • Adaptability: Responding positively to change and modifying behavior as the situation requires
  • Self-Management: Showing personal organization, self-discipline, and dependability
  • Establishing Credibility: Doing what he/she commits to doing and respecting the confidentiality of information and concerns shared by others

You can read the complete job description at: www.cccounty/hr .

The eligible list established from this recruitment may be used to fill future openings for up to 6 months.

Minimum Qualifications
License Required: Possession of a valid California Motor Vehicle Operator's License. Out of state valid Motor Vehicle Operator's License will be accepted during the application process.

Education: Possession of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major in psychology, sociology, social welfare, or a closely related field.

Experience: Two (2) years of full-time experience as a social worker, certified drug and alcohol counselor, case manager for individuals or families, school-based counselor, or youth advocate in the justice system.

Substitution: A Master's degree in Social Work, Psychology, or a closely related field may be substituted for one (1) year of the required experience.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Bilingual speaking in Spanish
  • Prior experience working with foster system-involved youth, legal system-involved youth, or legal system-involved adults
  • Prior education, training, or certification in the use of assessment tools

Selection Process

Application Filing and Evaluation: Applications will be evaluated to determine which candidates will move forward in the next phase of the recruitment process.

Multiple Choice Exam: A multiple choice assessment will be conducted to measure candidates' competencies as they relate to the job. These may include but are not limited to: interpersonal savvy, professional impact, building & maintaining relationships, valuing diversity, customer focus, handling stress, adaptability, self-management, and establishing credibility. ( Weighted 100%)
Final Selection Interviews: These will be scheduled by the department once the eligible list is established.

If you apply for another recruitment that uses this exam and the test is scheduled within 6 months of the date you took the test, you will not have the option to re-take the exam.

Tentative Dates:

The Public Defender Client Services Specialist Multiple Choice exam is tentatively scheduled to take place via computer (remotely) 10/4 - 10/8/2023

Meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee an invitation to participate in the selection process.

The Human Resources Department may change the examination steps noted above in accordance with the Personnel Management Regulations and accepted selection practices.

For recruitment specific questions, please contact Melissa Moglie at For any technical issues, please contact the GovernmentJobs' applicant support team for assistance at +1 855-524-5627.


After you receive a conditional job offer, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you have received a conditional job offer. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances. Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with Contra Costa County. If you accept a conditional job offer, the Human Resources department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.


All Contra Costa County employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law. Employment with the County requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


It is the policy of Contra Costa County to consider all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, ancestry, medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status, or other protected category under the law.

To find more information on Benefits offered by Contra Costa County, please go to

Closing Date/Time: 9/25/2023 11:59 PM Pacific

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