Legal Secretary- Travis County Public Defender's Office

Published 17 days ago


The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally recognized best practices, the PDO provides high-quality holistic defense representation and other support to people accused of criminal offenses in Travis County.

Legal Secretaries are an integral part of the interdisciplinary practice team supporting the administrative needs of the team and maintaining and managing client and case information. Legal Secretaries work closely with all advocates including attorneys, social workers, investigators, and paralegals to collect, organize, and prepare files and legal documents relating to representation of PDO clients.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is the first in a series of two legal secretarial-related job classifications within the Administrative Support job family. This classification is distinguished from the Legal Secretary Senior in that incumbents typically have less experience and do not function as lead Legal Secretaries or work directly for a Division Director. Sensitivity to detail and confidentiality.


  • Drafts, under attorney supervision, various legal documents, including pleadings, motions, dispositions, subpoenas, and correspondence for use in legal proceedings. Records messages of adjudication and disposition of cases. Examines all files and paperwork for accuracy and completeness. Creates and updates case lists. Creates, organizes, and prepares case files. Maintains internal PDO records of case assignments, case status, and case closures.
  • Corresponds regularly with clients regarding the status of cases, providing continuous updates about the representation through disposition. Informs clients about important issues including but not limited to missed court appearances, change of court date and reassignment of counsel. Drafts notices of appeal.
  • Assists with emergency client needs.
  • Organizes, maintains, and retrieves case and office information for all members of the advocacy team. Enters, updates, and retrieves information using multiple systems and databases, including internal case management system. Uses the computer to process, retrieve, and disseminate information and documents, including word processing functions for letters, memoranda and legal documents/correspondence.
  • Proofreads legal and other documents. Assists attorneys in court and helps maintain court dockets and calendars and tracks all matters related to individual clients.
  • Schedules appointments and sorts and distributes incoming mail. Compiles and types statistical reports and keeps monthly statistics on cases. Performs notary public services. Performs as backup for other clerical staff. Troubleshoots office equipment, printers, computers, fax machines and copiers and schedules needed maintenance. Coordinates meetings and takes minutes. May serve as backup receptionist. May assist in training staff, processing payroll and various personnel actions.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.



Education and Experience:

Associate’s degree in Legal Secretarial Science, Paralegal Studies, Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Business Administration or a directly related field AND two (2) years of advanced secretarial experience, including one (1) year as a Legal Secretary;


Any combination of education and experience that has been achieved and is equivalent to the stated education and experience and required knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of this job.

Licenses, Registrations, Certifications, or Special Requirements:

Please attach resume to online application.


  • Applications with a cover letter detailing interest in the position, including why you want to work for the Travis County Public Defender’s Office.
  •  Ability to fluently speak and write in Spanish; may occasionally assist with translation or interpretation services for team members when possible.
  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of or supporting people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal system.

Knowledge of:

  • Policies, practices, procedures, and legal terminology related to court system.
  • Legal terminology, principles, procedures, documents, and forms.
  • File management and modern office practices.
  • Word processing and other software programs.
  • Business letter writing, grammar and punctuation, and report preparation.
  • May be required to develop knowledge of and adhere to federal and state laws requiring the confidential handling of certain health information.

Skill in:

  • Organizing, updating, and filing legal case files.
  • Working with attorneys and other legal personnel in a high-volume environment.
  • Preparing legal correspondence.
  • Operating a variety of modern office equipment, including a computer.
  • Both verbal and written communication.

Ability to:

  • Work independently on difficult or complex clerical tasks.
  • Prepare, verify, correct, and record legal documents and complicated legal instruments.
  • Maintain confidential data and information.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with County employees and officials, attorneys, court personnel, law enforcement agencies, representatives of outside agencies, and the general public.



The PDO is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. The PDO strongly encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, abilities and communities to apply. All applicants should be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In considering applicants, the PDO values an applicant's experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with people from communities that experience marginalization.

Physical requirements include the ability to lift/carry up to 25 pounds occasionally, visual acuity, speech and hearing, hand and eye coordination and manual dexterity necessary to operate a computer and office equipment. Subject to standing, walking, sitting, repetitive motion, reaching, climbing stairs, bending, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, pushing, pulling, balancing, client/customer contact, squatting to perform the essential functions.

This job description is intended to be generic in nature. It is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities. The essential duties, functions and responsibilities and overtime eligibility may vary based on the specific tasks assigned to the position.

This position is partially funded through a multi-year grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. 

The position is anticipated to start no later than November 12, 2021.

Department: Public Defender’s Office

Location: 1010 Lavaca Street, 2nd floor, Austin, TX 78701

Post-Offer Criminal Background Check Required.


The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Start Date
    November 12, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    October 8, 2021
  • Education
    Other Education Requirement


USD 39,615 - USD 43,180



Employment at Travis County comes with a full array of benefits. We offer comprehensive health insurance, a no-cost, on-site Health and Wellness clinic, longevity pay, paid vacations, sick time and personal holidays, not to mention an industry competitive salary structure and a friendly, stable work environment.

FY2021 Travis County Benefit Guide

In this valuable Travis County Benefits Guide you will find benefit summaries, eligibility requirements, costs, contact numbers and addresses as well as other general information on the benefits available to Travis County Employees and Retirees.

Credit Union

Employees may join the Travis County Credit Union which offers low-interest loans, savings plans through payroll deduction, safe deposit boxes and other benefits.

Deferred Compensation

Employees may enroll in a tax- free sheltered investment plan through payroll deduction.

Direct Deposit

Employees may sign up for direct bank deposit.

Employee Assistance Program

Travis County provides a confidential counseling and referral service free of charge to county employees and their family.

Employee Organizations

Membership in the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union is available through payroll deduction.

Employee Health & Wellness Clinic

Employees may access the clinic for a variety of wellness program and health care services with no co-pay, no deductible and no co-insurance costs.


An average of eleven paid holidays are designated by the Travis County Commissioners Court at the beginning of each fiscal year.


Longevity pay is paid for each year completed after three years of continuous service. Peace Officers in a law enforcement activity, whose job requires state peace officer certification, receive pay after one year of certification.


A limited number of assigned parking spaces are available to employees in the Courthouse Complex.

Personal Holidays

Full-time employees are eligible for up to three paid personal holidays each calendar year. Part-time employees shall be granted personal holidays on a prorated basis. New employees earn personal holidays for the calendar year in which he/she begins employment, based on the month in which employment begins:

January – March: 3 personal holidays

April - June: 2 personal holidays

July - September: 1 personal holiday

October - December: None

New employees are eligible to take personal holidays after 90 days of employment.


Travis County is a member of the Texas County & District Retirement System with mandatory participation by certain classes of employees. Seven percent (7%) of the gross salary is deducted each pay period. An employee is fully vested after eight years of service. Benefits are prorated for part-time employees.

Sick Leave

Employees earn sick leave at a rate of eight hours per month with unlimited accrual during employment. Part-time employees earn sick leave on a pro-rated basis.

Tuition Refund

Certain classes of full-time employees may receive reimbursement for fees associated with pre-approved, job related course work completed satisfactorily.


Based on years of county service, full-time employees earn vacation time at the following rates:

0 to 5 years: 4.0 hours per pay period

6 to 10 years: 4.5 hours per pay period

11 to 15 years: 5.0 hours per pay period

16 to 20 years: 5.5 hours per pay period

 21 plus years: 6.0 hours per pay period

Part-time employees earn vacation leave on a pro-rated basis.

Workers' Compensation

The county provides all employees workers' compensation coverage with benefits in accordance with state statute, if the employee sustains an injury out of, or in the course of work.


Employment at Travis County comes with a full array of benefits. We offer comprehensive health insurance, a no-cost, on-site Health and Wellness clinic, longevity pay…

Level of Language Proficiency

Preferred: Ability to fluently speak and write in Spanish

Preferred: Ability to fluently speak and write in Spanish


1010 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
2nd floor

How to Apply

Please attach resume to online application.

Please attach resume to online application.

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