Gideons Promise Post Graduate Fellowship

Cornell Law School is partnering with the organization Gideon’s Promise to create a post-graduate fellowship opportunity.  The successful class of 2018 candidate will be placed in one of the public defender offices listed below. The fellowship is guaranteed to transition into a permanent job within one year.  Salary and benefits will be paid by Cornell Law School until that transition is made, at which time salary and benefits will be paid by the public defender’s office.   The salary during the fellowship phase is the equivalent of $40,000/year.  The public defender’s office will pay their standard entry-level salary, which varies slightly among offices, but tends to range from $40,000 - $45,000.  Of course, this position (in both the fellowship and permanent phases) qualifies for PILIPP II, Cornell Law School’s generous loan forgiveness program.  

Successful candidates demonstrate a strong commitment to public defense; are interested in a career in the office beyond the term of the fellowship/grant; desire to work in a system where the challenges are greatest; and aspire to be part of a larger reform movement.  See below for additional details.  Please contact me for assistance if you plan to apply. 

Our current Gideon’s Promise Fellow is Ed Flores.  He started his placement with the Orleans Public Defenders last year.  If you are interested in speaking with Ed about the application and/or interview process, let me know.


Named after Gideon v Wainwright, the landmark case that guaranteed the right to counsel, Gideon’s Promise is building a movement of public defenders to drive indigent defense reform.  Gideon’s Promise works with public defender offices, primarily in the Deep South, to raise the standard of representation for poor people in the nation’s most broken systems. Each of the “partner-offices” is led by a chief defender who shares this reform vision and is committed to supporting the next generation of public defenders to usher in change.  Gideon’s Promise was featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Gideon’s Promise, in their quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 300 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.


LSPP is a three-year program that provides permanent employment, training/continuing legal education, and support to recent graduates committed to public defense. Those who are selected are guaranteed employment with a Gideon’s Promise partner office within a year and will be financially supported by their respective law schools until their first day of work through a grant, fellowship, and/or stipend.  The LSPP gives law graduates unique opportunity otherwise not available to them: to join a public defender office working to improve criminal justice in areas where the need is greatest, and to become part of a broader movement to transform indigent defense across the South.


Georgia:  Augusta Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender -  Augusta, GA

 Louisiana: ·19th Judicial District Public Defender – East Baton Rouge, LA

Orleans Public Defenders – New Orleans, LA

 Pennsylvania: Luzerne County Public Defender Office – Wilkes-Barre, PA

     Montgomery County Public Defender Office – Norristown, PA

 South Dakota:  Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office – Sioux Falls, SD

South Carolina:  Office of the Richland County Public Defender – Columbia, SC

Tennessee:   Metropolitan Public Defender Office – Nashville, TN

 Virginia: Virginia Indigent Defense Commission – Richmond, VA

       Virginia Indigent Defense Commission – Newport News, VA

       Virginia Indigent Defense Commission – Portsmouth, VA

       Virginia Indigent Defense Commission – Fredericksburg, VA

 West Virginia: West Virginia Public Defender Corporation 13th Judicial Circuit – Charleston, WV


·         October 20, 2017:  Application deadline.  To apply, complete theLSPP application and indicate which offices you would like to be considered for placement.   You will be prompted to submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, 2 letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.  Please contact me to review your application materials before submission. 

·         October 30 – November 8, 2017:  Gideon’s Promise will conduct phone interviews with applicants

·         November 10, 2017:  Select applications will be forwarded to partner offices for review

·         November 13 – December 15, 2017:  Partner offices will conduct their own interviews with applicants

·         January 3 – 12, 2018:  Offers extended to candidates

·         January 19, 2018:  Candidates must accept or reject offers by this date