Attorney-Staff Public Defender, Rio Grande City

The TRLA Texas Rural Defender Service seeks an entry-level attorney for its office serving Starr County. The Starr Regional Public Defender Program, from its office in Rio Grande City, serves Starr, Jim Hogg and Duval Counties. This position will be located in the TRLA office in Rio Grande City. With caseload controls, staff investigators and a solid litigation budget, the program emphasizes zealous, holistic advocacy in a rural environment. The program costs are split equally between the state and the participating counties.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, with 175 attorneys, is the largest federally-funded civil legal services program in the nation, covering a 68-county service area in Southwest Texas. Indigent defense services through the TRLA non-profit corporation began approximately ten years ago, and have now been extended to 8 counties. The non-profit arrangement establishes a strong measure of independence for defender staff, backed by a firm with a strong national reputation for vigorous advocacy. TRLA provides its defender clients the full range of representation, both civil and criminal, including advice on the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. A mental health component has recently been added to the program.

TRLA is an equal opportunity employer and provides a comprehensive range of employee  benefits, including health care coverage, law school loan repayment benefits, continuing legal education and training, and a 401k pension program.

The primary responsibilities are:


  • Serve as lead counsel of record in up to 228 misdemeanor cases per year;
  • Assist more experienced lawyers in felony and juvenile cases; and
  • Try cases to a verdict.




  • Licensed to practice law in Texas or willing to take the next available Texas bar exam;
  • Preference for an attorney who is professionally functional in the Spanish language ;
  • Proficiency in the Windows operating system, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and legal research software; and
  • Completion of six hours of continuing legal education in criminal law within the twelve months preceding service as a Public Defender staff attorney.


To apply, email a cover letter, resume and references to