Public Defender Fellowship Program opportunity

The American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) are designing and implementing a pilot Public Defender Fellowship Program (PDFP) aimed at advancing best practices in indigent defense representation.  The project is funded by the United States Department of Justice and is implemented under the auspices of its Bureau of Justice Assistance. 

Ten public defenders will be selected to participate as fellows in the pilot PDFP.  The fellows will first attend the two-day 2011 National Defender Training Program at the William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 9–10, 2011, where there will be a separate orientation for fellows.  There will be no cost to fellows or their defense systems involved with their attending this program.  Travel to and from the program, housing at the program, and registration will be covered by the program.

Subsequently, during the fall of 2011, fellows will be placed in selected mentor host public defender offices -- such as the New York City Legal Aid Society, the Bronx Defenders, the Santa Clara Public Defender, among others -- to work alongside a public defender or a team of public defenders for a full week.  The timing of fellows’ placement in mentor host offices will be coordinated to accommodate schedules.  Funding is available to defray costs associated with fellows’ participation.  To the extent desired, the program will secure housing for the fellows at no cost to them.  

During their placement at host offices, fellows will engage in valuable day-to-day experiential learning, studying the organizational structure of the host office and observing best practices in indigent defense, such as: case management techniques; schedule maintenance; utilization of support services such as investigators, social workers, and experts; and compliance with national and local indigent defense standards.  Defenders from rural and smaller cities will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with colleagues working in large city offices.

PDFP is looking particularly for public defenders from the mountain and central mid-western states.  We have received applications from public defenders working in Kansas, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. We are hoping to receive several more.

If you are a public defender working in Utah, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North or South Dakota, Nebraska or Oklahoma and are interested in applying to be a PDFP fellow, please contact and to obtain an application and additional information.  Applications must be received by July 29, 2011.

Publication Date: 07/19/2011