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Inaugural Summer Fellowship Class

Black Public Defender Association's Summer Fellowship Class

About the Program

The purpose of the BPDA Fellowship is to advance diversity in the criminal defense community by giving underrepresented populations an opportunity to gain experience in a criminal defense law practice. 

Each Fellow receives a summer stipend and is paired with an experienced public defender member of BPDA who will serve as their mentor.

This fellowship was made possible due to the financial contributions of our members and supporters. Through a steady stream of giving campaigns we raised enough funds to help these three students intern at public defender offices.

Meet the fellows

Claire Davis

Claire Davis is a rising third year law student at Howard University School of Law. Two years ago, she entered Howard Law with the goal of becoming a public defender. She has previously served as a law clerk for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and a legal intern at both the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of PA, and The Orleans Public Defender Office. She has been persistent in her quest by taking multiple internships during her time in law school. This summer she will be taking what she has learned to the office of the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Marquise Findley-Smith

Marquise Findley-Smith is a rising third year law student at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. There, he has served his community as co-chair of the Black Law Students Association (2019-2020), and as an active member of UCI’s Committee on Equity and Diversity. His 1L summer, he interned with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland, in Baltimore City. This summer he looks forward to joining the Bronx Defenders as a summer intern in the Criminal Defense practice.

Michael Mingo

Michael Mingo is a rising second year law student at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. He previously interned at the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, Rochester, NY. Mingo started the the nonprofit Together We Can where he helps people discover their passions, develop leadership skills, and use their passions to create community change. He’s also a member of the Black Law Student Association at Pace Law. He will serve as a summer legal intern at the Neighborhood Defender Services, Harlem, NYC.