BPDA Law Student Fellowship Program

About our Law Student Engagement Committee

BPDA’s Law School Engagement Committee aims to provide training and support to Black law students who are passionate about serving their communities through a career in public defense. The Committee engages with public defender organizations, law school career services offices, clinical programs, and student groups in order to increase the ranks of Black public defenders. The Committee hosts panel discussions and events that introduce law students to public defense as a profession and connect public defender organizations to potential future defenders.

About the BPDA Law Student Fellowship Program

One of the Committee’s central goals is to provide resources that ensure that Black law students are able to access and succeed in public defense as a profession that empowers marginalized communities. Each year, the Committee selects a number of promising Black law students to serve as BPDA Summer Fellows. Each Fellow receives mentorship, intensive skills training, and financial support that enables them to successfully complete an summer internship at a public defender office and be well positioned for post-graduate employment.

Through its events and the Fellowship Program, the Committee strives to create a pipeline of skilled Black public defenders that identify with and are committed to the populations most disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system.

Student applications are due on

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Applicant Informational Session on March 12, 2024

The 2024 host sites include:

  • Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office (Cleveland, OH)
  • Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office (Dayton, OH)
  • Minnesota Board of Public Defense (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Nashville Defenders (Nashville, TN)
  • Orleans Public Defenders (New Orleans, LA)