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Frequently Asked Questions about Employment

Q: What is the Missouri State Public Defender System?

A: MSPD is a separate department within the judicial branch of state government established under Chapter 600 RSMo. The department is responsible for providing legal representation to indigent clients accused of criminal offenses in the state of Missouri facing the possibility of incarceration. Legal services are provided to eligible persons in every jurisdiction within the state.

Q: How many people are employed by MSPD?

The Missouri State Public Defender System employs approximately 580 people.

Q: What types of positions are available?

The majority are attorney positions (the department employs about 370 attorneys). In addition to attorney staff, there are opportunities in our legal services division for employment in secretarial and paralegal/investigative positions. There are also a limited number of administrative positions in human resources, accounting, information and technology, and purchasing.

Q: How do I find out about vacancies?

  • Access our vacancies web page.
  • Call (573) 777-9977.
  • Visit jobs.mo.gov for support staff vacancies.
  • Check employment advertisements in local newspapers in the area of the vacancy and specialized publications such as Missouri Lawyers Weekly for attorney vacancies.

Q: How do I apply for jobs?

Individuals interested in employment should complete an Application for Employment and return it to Human Resources. Applications may be returned by:

  • Email: human.resorces@mspd.mo.gov
  • Fax: 573-777-9976
  • Mail:

Missouri State Public Defender System
Attn: Human Resources
Woodrail Centre
1000 West Nifong, Building 7, Suite 100
Columbia, Missouri 65203

A completed application must be received by the closing date of the position in order to be eligible for consideration. A resume alone is not sufficient for employment consideration but may be provided in addition to the application.

Q: How do I get an Application for Employment form?

Q: How long is my application kept on file?

Applications remain active for 120 days from the date of the application. Prior to the expiration of the 120 days, you may request that your application continue to remain active for an additional 120 days. This may be done by contacting Human Resources at (573) 777-9977 or by emailing us at Human.Resources@mspd.mo.gov.

You may request that an inactive application be reactivated if the request is received within one year of the original date of your application. At the end of one year, applicants must complete a new application form.

Q: What happens after I submit an application?

Applicants will receive an email from Human Resources acknowledging receipt of their application form. An applicant who does not provide an email address will receive a postcard by mail acknowledging receipt of the application.

At the end of the job’s posting period, active applications received by the position closing date are eligible for consideration. Applicants selected for an interview are contacted by the hiring authority to schedule an interview.

Q: Who conducts the screening/selection process?

The hiring authority, which in most cases is the District Defender of the local office with the vacancy, conducts the screening and selection process.

Q: What is the timetable for this process?

MSPD makes every attempt to begin the screening/selection process in a timely fashion once the position has closed and applications are no longer accepted. We ask for your patience and cooperation as we attempt to fill vacancies as quickly as possible.

Q: Will I be contacted when a position I’ve applied for has been filled?

If you are interviewed for a position, you will be notified in writing by the hiring authority once the position has been filled. Due to the large number of applications received for position vacancies, we are unable to notify the entire applicant pool once a position has been filled.

Q: If I am a current State of Missouri employee who is transferring to the Missouri State Public Defender System, how many hours of my accrued leave time may transfer?

The department accepts up to 40 hours of annual leave and all sick leave.

Q: How often are Missouri State Public Defender System employees paid?

Employees are paid semi-monthly on the 15th and last working day of each month.