Capital Area Private Defender Service

We are currently seeking:

 Director of Legal Services

Director of legal Services

The Capital Area Private Defender Service (“CAPDS”) is a 501(c)(3) organization charged with improving the quality of indigent criminal defense in Travis County through supporting, managing, and training assigned counsel. We are a managed assigned counsel program that handles the majority of indigent defense cases in Travis County; we work closely with attorneys to enhance the quality of indigent defense services and obtain best outcomes for clients. CAPDS uses a holistic defense approach to representation, placing the client at the center of the representation.

We are seeking a full-time Director of Legal Services with a commitment to excellence and indigent defense. The Director of Legal Services will report directly to the Executive Director and lead a team of attorneys responsible for monitoring and mentoring managed assigned counsel program attorneys.


  • Member in good standing with the State Bar of Texas or the ability to become licensed in Texas
  • Minimum of ten years’ experience as a criminal defense attorney, including substantial jury trial experience
  • Demonstrated excellence in criminal defense and commitment to indigent defense
  • Knowledge of laws and legal principles and practices relevant Texas criminal law
  • Skill in handling multiple tasks, prioritizing, and meeting deadlines
  • Skill in effective oral and written communication
  • Skill in exercising sound judgment and effective decision making
  • Proficient in Microsoft office programs, and comfortable using software and technology to improve efficiency and productivity
  • Ability to receive and respond positively to constructive feedback
  • Ability to work cooperatively with others in a professional office environment
  • Strong leadership skills and comfortable communicating complex and challenging topics
  • Ability to provide excellent customer service
  • Ability to arrange for personal transportation for business-related travel
  • Ability to work more than 40 hours as needed and in compliance with the FLSA
  • Ability to travel (including overnight travel) up to 5%

 Primary Responsibilities:

  • Oversee legal services division of CAPDS to ensure high-quality representation by panel attorneys
  • Supervise CAPDS staff attorneys and other staff as assigned
  • Establish and supervise training programs and performance evaluation programs for attorneys, staff members and expert contractors.
  • Provide in-depth, high-quality skills training in all areas of criminal defense representation
  • Assist in the continued development and dissemination of standards and guidelines, procedures, and polices that ensure quality indigent defense services in Travis County
  • Responsible for supervising, developing, and expanding existing mentorship program
  • Be comfortable and competent to present on complex legal skills and issues
  • Prepare and deliver annual orientation for new CAPDS panel attorneys
  • Evaluate and advise concerning the qualifications, abilities, and performance of panel members
  • Assist panel members with preparation for trial, including voir dire and punishment hearings; act as second chair in court proceedings as required
  • Observe panel members in court, in order to evaluate their performance
  • Assist in the development and training of panel attorneys and with monitoring the quality of defense of criminal cases
  • Investigate and respond to inquiries and comments from members of the public, clients, and from members of the judiciary
  • Receive and resolve complaints from members of the public, clients, and members of the judiciary; evaluate the nature and number of such complaints as they relate to the quality of representation provided by panel attorneys
  • Attend meetings of the Review Committee as necessary to provide information relevant to the conduct of panel attorneys
  • Assist in advising the Review Committee in which attorneys are placed on the attorney panel. Also responsible for assisting in the determination of the levels of offenses for which each attorney on the panel is qualified, including advancements of and restrictions upon the attorneys comprising the attorney panel
  • Review vouchers for payment of services to panel attorneys, expert witnesses, and investigators
  • Review requests for expert witnesses and investigator services for approval
  • Work with and train program attorneys on use of expert witnesses and investigators
  • Complete grant and project reporting as required
  • Assist with duties as delegated with extensive latitude for use of initiative and independent judgment

Salary commensurate with experience between $125,000 - $150,000. Compensation includes employer-paid health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurances, as well as an employer-funded retirement plan and generous leave policy. Position may involve temporary telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please apply by sending your cover letter, resume, and list of three references in one document, addressed to Executive Director Bradley Hargis, to: Place “Director of Legal Services” in the subject line. Priority given to applications received by April 23, 2021. Position is open until filled. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

CAPDS is an equal opportunity employer that values equity and diversity.



The Forensic Project in Austin, Texas, is seeking a full-time staff investigator. The Forensic Project is a unit of the Capital Area Private Defender Service (“CAPDS”) that was created to review felony convictions that rely in part of DNA evidence analyzed by the Austin Police Department DNA Laboratory. The APD DNA Lab was shuttered in July 2016 after the Texas Forensic Science Commission issued a report raising serious concerns. The Forensic Project was created in early 2017 and funded through Inter-Local Agreement between the City of Austin and Travis County to review convictions on behalf of potentially affected defendants to determine whether the DNA was material to conviction, to obtain expert scientific review of the cases in which DNA was material, and to provide post-conviction representation for defendants whose convictions are based on DNA analysis and/or testimony that is no longer scientifically supportable.

The staff investigator plays an integral role in The Forensic Project. Duties include: reviewing and analyzing case files and other documents; facilitating records requests; building relationships with clients and witnesses; developing investigation and mitigation plans; locating and interviewing witnesses; locating and reviewing forensic evidence; and updating client information.

The ideal candidate should possess the following qualifications:

  • Experience working as an investigator, including interviewing witnesses and making records requests;
  • Demonstrated commitment to client-centered indigent defense;
  • Demonstrated high quality communication skills;
  • Ability to work collaboratively on cases with attorneys;
  • Demonstrated diligence and initiative to set and accomplish goals and meet deadlines;
  • Experience summarizing and organizing case-related records and files;
  • Ability to function in a team-based setting; and
  • Experience working with diverse populations.

Fluency in Spanish and previous investigative experience and training in capital habeas are preferred.

Salary is commensurate with experience. CAPDS offers a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, retirement, and other benefits. Continued funding is anticipated for the project, but must be renewed annually.

To apply, please email Stacie Lieberman, Director of The Forensic Project, at Please include in one document a cover letter, resume, and professional references. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, however priority will be given to applications submitted prior to May 1, 2021.

CAPDS is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All candidates are encouraged to apply.