Harris County Criminal-Defense Residency

 Posted on March 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

From Scott Ehlers at the Harris County Public Defender's Office:

The Harris County Public Defender's Office received a grant from the Department of Justice to establish the Future Appointed Counsel Training Program (FACT) for new lawyers committed to representing indigent defendants in Harris County.The training includes a 14-day "boot camp" this summer, and 2 weekend follow-up trainings next year, all provided by Gideon's Promise (online at: The grant covers expenses for travel, lodging, meals, the 14-day "boot camp," and the 2 follow-up trainings in Atlanta. There will also be a 2-day training on Harris County courts and Texas law, and a year of mentoring to be provided by top notch criminal defense lawyers, who will be paid for their time. There are 3 additional weekend trainings in Atlanta in 2016-2017. For those, training, lodging, and meals are paid for, but participants will be responsible for travel-related expenses.Last year we selected the first class of FACT participants and mentors. This year we will be accepting the second class of 10 lawyers, licensed for 0-3 years. Students who graduate this May and take the bar this summer are eligible to apply.A copy of the application is online here: The deadline is March 31.Please feel free to pass this along to any new lawyers or graduating law students who you believe will be good candidates.Best,Scott EhlersLegal and Policy AnalystHarris County Public Defender's Office

From Sarah "Bennett's Brain" Wood, also at the PD's Office:

Are you a fighter? Do you want to help the poor people who are chewed up and spit out every day in 1201 Franklin?Apply now for the Future Appointed Counsel Training (FACT) Program – a unique, year-long education in criminal defense that aims to set 10 awesome new lawyers on the path to a career in indigent defense. It will change your life.Through a highly competitive application process, you can get:GIDEON'S PROMISE (featured on HBO ) – probably the most innovative criminal defense skills training in the country. Last year we sent 10 strangers to their two-week boot camp and they returned as friends for life – a team committed to changing our system.You also get access to a group of awesome local mentors, a private listserv, regular meetings, and local trainings.I know from experience that it is nearly impossible to break into the scene as a youngster. You have to want it bad. The FACT Program aims to take 10 lucky newbies and train the hell out of them to be savvy, confident defenders of the poor. And make them eligible for appointment.

This is your residency in defense. Your foot in the door. And our investment in the future. Apply now if your heart is there. Deadline is next Monday. Email me with questions.

I am one of the ten mentors this year. The program is everything that Scott and Sarah say, and more. The program, and the ten passionate young lawyers participating, give me some hope for the future of criminal defense in a world that is otherwise pretty bleak.

If you are taking the bar this summer, or if you are licensed 0–3 years, apply.

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