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. 



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.


You can find profiles of participating offices at   


·         September 18, 2020:  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.  Make sure to review the FAQs at   Please contact the Office of Public Service to review your application materials before submission. 

·         December 15, 2020 (tentative): Offers extended to candidates. 

·         January 8, 2021:  Camdidates must accept or reject offers by this date