Capital Area Private Defender Service

CAPDS IS currently acceptING new applications for our 2024 panel 


This year CAPDS will offer early decisions with a quick start option for experienced attorneys as well as our standard admission process for those new to Travis County or criminal defense

New Applications options

‚ÄčOption One for New Attorneys - Early Decisions with Quick Start

In order to be eligible for our quick start program, an attorney must qualify for a felony panel, be experienced with defense practice in Travis County, and be available to accept assignments prior to orientation. Early decisions will be given on a rolling basis during the application period.  The sooner an application is complete, the sooner we can inform attorneys of their status.  The quick start option is also available to former panel attorneys wishing to return to the panel.  The quick start option will be offered based on the number of available quick start spots and the applications received. Those attorneys qualifying for a mental health panel or Spanish speakers may be given priority.

Attorneys approved for the quick start option will receive a personalized orientation before accepting any assignments and attend portions of the general orientation in February.  Orientation will include virtual and in-person components.  

‚ÄčOption Two for New Attorneys - Regular Admission

All attorneys new to CAPDS, not accepted for quick start, must attend the week-long CAPDS orientation.  The orientation will be the week of February 5th. Our 2024 orientation will take place in person. If accepted to the CAPDS panel, you must attend all sessions to begin accepting assignments.

Application Information

  • This application should be completed by anyone not currently on any panel and who is seeking admission.  Those on a panel and seeking additional panels should complete the Status Change Application instead. 
  • You should carefully review the panel standards to determine which level you qualify to apply to.  Applicants must meet all requirements to apply for the CAPDS panel.

  • For those interested in joining our panels and who do not meet these standards may apply to the mentoring program.  All attorneys new to CAPDS will be required to attend a one-week training before they can begin accepting assignments. This training will be focused on best practices and on Travis County's local practices.
  • The CAPDS application process utilizes an online application hosted by Google.  This is the only method to apply.  If you have any problems using this form or viewing this website, please get in touch with us at
  • If you close your browser during the application process, all work will be lost unless you are signed into a Google account.
  • The information required to complete the application is extensive. We strongly recommend you download the application worksheet here before beginning.
  • All new applicants must take a basic criminal law competency exam.  Those completing an application will be contacted regarding sitting for the exam.