How to Become a Court Appointed Attorney

by Krystal Wascher; Updated September 26, 2017
Court appointed attorneys help indigent clients when the public defender's service cannot.

Court appointed attorneys provide very important services to indigent defendants by representing them when a public defender cannot. Court appointed lawyers are private attorneys who are paid by the government to resolve conflicts of interest that arise within the public defender's service. Every court appointed attorney must be certified in order to accept court appointed cases. The programs vary by jurisdiction, with some run at the state level and others at the county level, but the certification process is generally the same.

Step 1

Obtain the court appointed attorney certification application. Court appointed attorney programs are usually administered by a local bar association, the public defender's office or the court. Contact the office that runs the program and request the application form or forms.

Step 2

Complete the application form or forms. Some jurisdictions, such as Wisconsin, require you to fill out multiple forms, such as a general form and specific forms tailored to the types of cases you would like to take. Other jurisdictions, such as Philadelphia, only require one form. Generally, you must provide your name, business address, bar identification number, year of admission and practice history.

Step 3

Submit the forms. Review the forms to ensure that you have provided all of the information and mail them to the office that administers the program.

Step 4

Call the court appointment office to inquire about any further instructions. In some cases, such as larger courts, you may have to write a letter to each judge in whose court you would like to appear to request to be placed on their individual lists. This must be done even after you have been certified to be a court appointed attorney.

About the Author

Krystal Wascher has been writing online content since 2008. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Thiel College and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2009.

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