Federal Public Defender

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Federal Public Defender


Location: Skylight Office Tower; 1660 West 2nd Street, Suite 750, Cleveland, Ohio 44113

Credits: 4 or 6 Credit Hours for Fall or Spring Term; 3 or 5 Credit Hours for Summer Term

Prerequisites: RCC; minimum GPA 2.50; completion of at least 29 credit hours, including Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure; successful completion of a background investigation by the site supervisor; preference will be shown for second-semester, second-year students or third-year students.

The Office of the Federal Public Defender provides legal, investigative, expert and other services in federal criminal cases and related matters to people in need of such assistance who are unable to retain private counsel. This externship program will give students an opportunity to observe and participate in many facets of federal criminal procedure and practice.

Under the supervision of the Federal Public Defender and his staff, students placed in the Litigation Unit will work on a variety of cases, including drug, firearm, fraud and white collar crime cases by researching and drafting legal memoranda, pre-trial motions, sentencing motion and appellate briefs.  Students may also have the opportunity to assist in trial and hearing preparation.

 Students placed in the Capital Habeas Unit will work on cases involving clients who are currently on death row by researching unique legal issues and assisting in the review and analysis of documents associated with capital habeas cases.  Students may also have the opportunity to assist with preparation for clemency proceedings.

Students in both the Litigation Unit and the Capital Habeas Unit will also have the opportunity to observe myriad federal court proceedings. 

Students may register for 4 credits (16 hours per week) or 6 credits (24 hours per week) in the fall or spring terms; in the summer term, students may register for 3 credits (24 hours per week) or 5 credits (40 hours per week). Students in this externship also participate in an Externship Seminar conducted at the law school by the externship faculty supervisor. Graded Pass/Fail.

Interested students must contact Office of Career Planning, LB 137 in the Student Services Center, 216-687-6871, career@law.csuohio.edu. 

An Externship application, signed by Career Planning and student, a resume with GPA and contact information, list of completed law school classes, and a short writing sample must be submitted for consideration through Symplicity. The supervising attorney at the Federal Public Defender’s Office will make the final selection of students.