Monday, December 6, 2010

Applying for Public Defender Offices

So, the Blog has not had the strongest start. I am completely to blame, but I divide that blame on my heavy course load, finals, and of course running around doing interviews. Many of my peers are in similar boats and it is understandably very difficult to find time to identify, properly stalk, apply, prepare for, and interview with a diverse number of public defender offices.

I don't think I have any readers yet, but in the case that I may acquire some, here is a handy list (and descriptions) of some different resources I have found useful.

The one I have found to be most useful is from the Public Interest Law Center at New York University School of Law. This "Public Defender Handbook" includes a brief overview of the 'basics' including recommended course selection, the process of securing an internship, and even a small blurb regarding the Impact of Interning at a prosecutors office. More importantly this handbook goes over the hiring process and even includes some sample 'hypo's,' tips on simulation and a 12 page list giving the names, contact information, office description, and application procedure for 24 states (many with several agencies per state). For a less exhaustive list of different public defender's offices, a visit to Georgetown's website may also be fruitful since for the offices listed they include contact information, website link, and hiring information for both 2L and 3L's!

One guide that would be more helpful to those just beginning to consider indigent defense is from the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center from University of Virginia. Their "How to get a Job in a Public Defender's Office" guide goes through the considerations of picking the 'right office,' developing a public defender's resume, and even urges the reader to ask "is being a public defender for you?" before explaining the different ways to answer the "why" question. This guide also includes what appears to be the same list of offices as the first link I cited.

Lastly, there is a publication put out by Harvard Law School, "A Quick Guide to Public Defender Programs." That guide covers mostly the same things as the aforementioned guides, but also includes a short list of resources including some suggested reading.

I hope that people will find this post useful, I found it profoundly useful in procrastinating. I would wish all the future die-hard public defenders good luck in their job search- but as my good friend has told me- Luck is for the unprepared! 

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