The Middle District and our office have a lot to offer a Fellow.  Our Office offers monthly CLEs that are free to attend and are open to the CJA panel and to state court defenders. The CLEs cover a wide range of topics and are an excellent opportunity to network and foster community amongst the defense bar.

Montgomery offers a most unique experience for a Defender Fellow. Known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, Montgomery is home to many visionary organizations such as the Equal Justice Initiative {EJI), the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and countless others. These organizations attract a large number of young professionals and idealists and they enjoy an active professional environment and social network.

EJI created the Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum. These monuments, toured and visited by people from every corner of the globe, follow the history of African-Americans from slavery to mass incarceration. The continued impact of these social injustices reverberate throughout the South and the work of the Federal Defender's Office.

The Fellow will practice in the historic Frank M. Johnson courthouse where countless landmark cases were decided. Additionally, the Fellow will have the opportunity to appear before the Honorable Myron H. Thompson who presides over the historic Frank M. Johnson court room. Judge Thompson had the court restored to stand as a testament to history and he also was instrumental in preserving the bus station next door to the court as a museum dedicated to the Freedom Riders who were attacked in Montgomery in the 1960s. This Court has had hundreds of notable cases, concerning segregation in city and state agencies and services, landmark abortion cases, separation of Church and State {Judge Thompson presided over the challenge to the Ten Commandments Monument in the Alabama Supreme Court building), and other important issues. Currently, there are evidentiary hearings taking place regarding the Alabama Department of Corrections' unconstitutional deprivation of adequate physical and mental health care.



Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island form the heart of New England. Boston, with a metropolitan population of 4.875 million, is the region’s hub and largest city. Martin Luther King Jr. earned his PhD from Boston University and met Coretta Scott here while she was attending the New England Conservatory of Music. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage. We are home to many colleges and universities, and students are a significant part of our community. We have professional teams in every major American sport.

Although the metropolitan area is large, the city’s core is smaller—around 700,000—which makes the area densely populated and very walkable so that each neighborhood’s cultural offerings are easily accessible by foot, bicycle, or public transportation.

Boston residents have access to mountains, ocean beaches, and world class arts venues. In the summer, ferry boats shuttle passengers from downtown Boston to Provincetown, Massachusetts—a former arts colony and Portuguese fishing center on the northern tip of Cape Cod that is now a seaside vacation destination, particularly popular with those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Like other Northeastern coastal cities, Boston has a high cost of living in Boston, but public transportation makes less expensive housing areas easily available. We have subway, train, bus, and ferry transportation. The New York Times recently named Boston one of the best cities to live in without a car.

Our districts offer a unique perspective to those starting their federal practice. Our three offices are in separate states, but they are geographically near each other. Providence is easily accessible by commuter rail, Concord by bus, and the train and bus station is two blocks from the Boston office. We expect that the diversity fellow will be based in Boston. However, the fellow may also work on cases in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, thereby experiencing the distinct legal cultures of all three districts.



Michigan is a large state. Our district encompasses the western half of Michigan's lower peninsula (southern division) and the entire upper peninsula (northern division). Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan with a metropolitan area population of 601,000. Our Grand Rapids office is 30 minutes away from the shores of Lake Michigan. Although not as dependent on the automobile industry as the eastern district, the West Michigan economy relies on agricultural, manufacturing and health care industries. There are many opportunities in Michigan to socialize and enjoy yourself away from work. Yes, indeed it is true that Grand Rapids has been voted Beer City USA in national polls.

One of our attorney hires within the past four years, who relocated from Seattle, has made West Michigan his home. In his own words, Pedro Celis described Wst Michigan in this way:

"When I moved to Grand Rapids, I discovered that it combines the benefits of a small town and a big city. I was amazed by the Midwestern friendliness and housing market's affordability. I also never lacked for things to do. With its ballet, opera, symphony, and minor league teams, the city hosts many live events, including traveling Broadway shows and a variety of concerts and festivals. Multiple museums, a zoo, and botanical gardens round out the local attractions. And outside of Grand Rapids, I found that West Michigan is filled with natural beauty and charming towns. Before moving here, I thought I'd eventually want to return to a larger city. But after living in Grand Rapids, it would be difficult for me to live anywhere else."

As an office we work closely with our panel attorneys and schedule regular activities for the staff and the panel including trainings, but also social activities such as golf outings, summer parties on Lake Michigan, and our annual pumpkin carving contest. We are also known throughout the district to throw the best holiday party where we unveil our office's holiday tree, freshly cut down and decorated by our staff.



As federal defender offices go, Minnesota is a smaller office, only 21 employees, 11 of which are attorneys. Our attorneys vary in experience from 5 to 35 years of federal practice. Most also have additional state court experience. We are very collaborative and are always willing to "lend a hand" to assist each other whenever necessary. Our support staff do their best to provide us with what we need to represent our clients. Our office is well-respected in our legal community and members of that community often comment on what an exceptional office we have and how lucky the attorneys are to be able to work there. The work is hard, so it is important to be in an environment where you are supported, respected, and valued. We not only value and respect each other, but we also value and respect the people that we represent. That is why it is so important to us to take the time and make the effort to develop our attorneys so they can be proud of the work they do and can feel confident that they have provided their clients with excellent representation.

We represent folks from the entire state but the majority of the prosecutions originate in the Twin Cities. Although Minnesota's total population is overwhelmingly white, the Twin Cities has a much more diverse population. African Americans, Asians, Hispanic, and Native people reside in the Twin Cities in significant numbers. Not unlike in other jurisdictions, their numbers are overrepresented in the cases that the government chooses to prosecute. We also represent people who are charged with federal crimes that occur on three Indian reservations. As a result, we have a significant number of Native clients.

Minneapolis considers itself to be a progressive, modern city. It has great restaurants, professional sports teams, world class theatre and museums, great public parks and bike paths and all the things that can make a city a good place to live. And while all of this is true, it is also true that the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, tarnished the reputation of the city by highlighting the disparities that exist between Minnesota's white residents and it's BIPOC residents. It was not only the disparity in how the police and the criminal justice system treat people but also the disparities in employment, housing, and education. The seemingly polite exterior of Minnesota hid the reality of the disparities. Minnesotans of all colors and backgrounds are now trying to work together to figure out how to make this a Minnesota that is as good for all people as it is for white people. There is much work to be done and for folks who want to work to support the call for social justice for all people, Minneapolis is very much ground zero and a great place to do that work.


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The District of New Mexico is one of the busiest, most diverse, and legally complex districts in the country. With nearly 200 miles of border with Mexico, the crossroads of two major interstate highway systems, several military installations, and 23 Native American pueblos and reservations, federal practice in the District of New Mexico offers exposure to an almost limitless range of cases. A significant percentage of the cases handled by the Albuquerque office arise from tribal land, and includes charges ranging from simple assault to first-degree murder.

The practice of law in the District of New Mexico is exhilarating. Albuquerque is a gritty, vibrant, and diverse metropolitan area.  Our office is just east of downtown, and from our windows we have a view of two of New Mexico’s towering mountain ranges—the Sandia Mountains to our East and the Jemez Mountains to the North. Our cases, drawn from all corners of the state, take us all over New Mexico, and often to Arizona, Colorado, and beyond.
Our office prides itself on creative and effective litigation. In the last several years, we have had numerous evidentiary hearings, including motions to suppress, motions to compel discovery based on selective enforcement, a juvenile transfer hearing, Daubert hearings, motions for safety valve, motions to exclude demonstrative exhibits, and Rule 404, 412, and 413 hearings to exclude evidence. Our district has a steady docket of jury trials. In FY 2019, our office district-wide had 13 jury trials and in FY 2020 we had three.

Since the court has reopened, our office tried a second-degree murder case and has an upcoming trial in a deprivation of civil rights case.  Attorneys in our office also recently litigated a two-week transfer hearing in a juvenile case.

The types of cases our office handles include Indian Country cases (murder, manslaughter, aggravated sexual abuse, assault), guns, drugs (wiretap/undercover, highway stops, interstate train and bus searches), robberies (bank, Hobbs Act), immigration (illegal re-entry, alien smuggling), fraud, threats, supervised release violations, and appeals.   We represent our clients in every step of the process, including initial hearings, detention and preliminary hearings, suppression hearings, change of plea hearings, trials, sentencings, appeals to the 10th Circuit, and Petitions for Certiorari to the Supreme Court. We have a very collaborative practice and often work together to brainstorm issues and cases.  Almost all cases that go to trial have a second chair.   

Our office has a cordial and professional relationship with other agencies, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Probation, and the court.




The Las Vegas office is located downtown, about one mile away from the Las Vegas Strip.  The office is within walking distance to the United States District Court, the Nevada Supreme Court, and county courthouse.  The city offers world-renown restaurants, shows and concerts.  The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers live theater, dance, and music. Las Vegas is home to professional hockey, women’s basketball, football, soccer, and minor league baseball.  

There is much more to Las Vegas than the Strip and many outdoor and adventure seekers call Las Vegas home (quite a few in our office!).  Las Vegas has a wide variety of outdoor activities:  hiking, biking, rock-climbing, skiing, etc.  Las Vegas and its surrounding areas are home to many national and state parks.  Southern California is a favorite weekend destination for Las Vegans looking to enjoy the ocean and all that Southern California offers (approximately a four-hour drive or 45-minute flight). Utah and its plentiful, beautiful wilderness areas are a short drive from Las Vegas and a frequent vacation spot for local Las Vegans and their families.



If you are looking for the chance to see how our criminal justice system works, Northern Ohio is the place to be.  The U.S. Attorney Office in our District has long focused on street crimes via multiple task force initiatives which heavily target urban areas and crimes involving weapons and drugs. Not surprisingly, this offers many opportunities for pretrial litigation challenging targeted stops and selective prosecutions. We are always successful in mounting a vigorous defense so that the government knows they have been in a fight. We also handle a significant number of complex white collar crime cases involving fraud, requiring the securing and vetting of experts from college professors, to medical professionals, to forensic accountants. These kind of cases will offer unique opportunities for a Fellow to develop excellent litigation skills.

The local political, business and community leaders have made a concerted effort to make Downtown Cleveland more livable and lively with  increased residential apartments converted from former office and warehouse buildings.  Many diverse entertainment, cultural, professional sport, and restaurant choices are just steps away from our downtown office, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, professional baseball, basketball, and football, the 4th street "pedestrian only" walkway, the Warehouse District, The Flats, Public Square, and Ohio City, home of the historic West Side Market.  Each are filled with restaurants, music, and clubs.  Cleveland supports a thriving restaurant scene, and has a thriving craft brewery community, too.  Our downtown is very "walkable" with wonderful views of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.  Our local national and state parks scattered around the city, our "string of pearls," is not to be missed.  In addition to our world-class orchestra, art museum, botanical gardens and educational centers, we have a downtown outdoor Amphitheater and host a number of downtown festivals throughout the year.  We are a diverse mid-western city and are familiar challenges of any urban community.  But we are proud to be very approachable and welcoming to visitors.



Philadelphia is a lively and diverse city of neighborhoods, with a vibrant "Center City" area and easily accessible suburban communities.  It boasts many art, science and history museums, universities, a renowned and beloved symphony orchestra, music venues of all sorts, traditional and experimental theaters, excellent restaurants that reflect the city's diversity, beautiful urban parks and squares, top-notch medical centers, houses of faith of every kind and denomination, and professional sports teams to suit (or not) fans of all kinds.  Our office is in Center City, near the federal courthouse and just across from Independence Square, where Independence Hall sits.  Center City's activities are readily at hand, but we are also close to many popular residential neighborhoods - some within walking distance.

Philadelphia has a skilled and deeply committed public defense community.  Many of our trial lawyers began as defenders in Philadelphia's state defender office, where they learned litigation and courtroom skills through daily courtroom appearances, countless hearings and bench trials, and frequent jury trials.  Those skills serve our attorneys and clients well, as our office has one of the most active motion and jury trial practices in the country.  Our attorney's caseloads, furthermore, are interesting and diverse.  A typical portfolio ranges from white collar frauds, drugs, violent street crimes, immigration matters, and corruption-related offenses, to name a few.  Thus, we can offer a Fellow the opportunity to learn from experienced and skilled criminal defense practitioners and to participate in an active, varied, and fast-paced practice.

In addition, our district is unique in the level of "stacking sentences" that U.S. Attorney's Office charges, and our US Attorney's Office engages in little to no charge bargaining.  As a result, cooperation is an important part of our practice and results in significant sentence reductions for our clients.  Cooperation is a practice in and of itself and is not utilized in every district; it requires its own distinct skill set for a defense attorney.  The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District has used cooperation as an investigative tool for years, and our lawyers are uniquely trained in this area to obtain the best sentences for our clients and can offer this aspect of our practice as a valuable experience for any new lawyer or student.



Even without the opportunity to host a fellow, the office has a history of hiring attorneys of color with little or no federal experience. Many of them have moved on, often to be closer to family, but because of the experience gained in our office they were able to obtain other federal defender positions.

We have hired and trained more young attorneys of color than some other defender offices have interviewed. We currently have four attorneys of color who joined the office in the last five years with no federal experience (and based on their years out of law school might have been eligible for a fellowship had the program existed then). We know how to train, mentor and prepare lesser experienced attorneys of color to join the defender program. We took a chance on people when others wouldn’t and, in doing so, have provided a service to the defender community and the clients it serves.

The staff of the Federal Public Defender’s office is very excited about hosting a fellow. Everyone in the office will do their part to help ensure the fellow’s experience is not just positive, but uplifting, and that they leave the fellowship prepared to excel in the defender program.


We are located in the Metropolitan Area, central part of San Juan. We have plenty of parking and are located across the street from the Court. Most of our clients are monolingual Spanish speakers. We are 15 minutes from the beach.

We have a great relationship with both the Court and the rest of the government agencies. This is built on their respect for the outstanding work done by our office. Our level of professionalism creates respect, and we train our attorneys to play well with others while fighting like hell for our clients.



Knoxville is a friendly and growing city located in the rolling foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It has a vibrant walkable downtown, historic neighborhoods, museums, a rich and diverse culinary scene, boundless natural beauty, and year-round cultural attractions. It is a sports lovers’ paradise. And it has breweries, so many breweries.

When it comes to music, Knoxville is lively and eclectic. Steeped in bluegrass, roots, soul, and Americana, Knoxville also has a jazz orchestra that performs year-round in the 100-year-old Bijou Theatre downtown. The category-defying Big Ears Music Festival, held in the spring in vintage theaters and industrial spaces, has been described by Rolling Stone as the most open-minded music gathering in the country.  

Knoxville is centrally located. It is an easy drive to Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Chattanooga, and Asheville—all great cities for day trips. Nashville and Atlanta are just three hours away, and numerous beaches are within driving distance for a long weekend. The McGhee-Tyson Airport provides stress-free access to the rest of the country.

In comparison to other cities around the country, the cost of living in Knoxville is reasonable which adds to its easy livability.

Knoxville takes great pride in its natural resources and actively cultivates accessible outdoor adventure. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, for example, is a 1000+ acre outdoor collection of natural and historic recreation areas connected by walking, hiking, and biking trails. It includes lakes, historic sites, city parks and a wildlife area, all in the heart of Knoxville. Three rivers, numerous lakes, and the Great Smoky Mountains offer yet more kayaking, hiking, biking, and walking trails. The office itself is on the 24th floor of a building looking over the Tennessee River, with an incredible view.



Our office is fairly young, as far as history. It was founded as a CDO in 2000, due to the persistent lobbying of several esteemed members of the Wisconsin criminal bar, including Jim Shellow, one of the deans of modern criminal defense. Our first executive director was Dean Strang, of “Making a Murderer” fame, who successfully litigated United States v. Booker while with our office. Our mantra is to provide “The Best Defense That Money Can’t Buy.” As this suggests, we pride ourselves on outperforming our colleagues in private practice and view ourselves as leaders of the criminal defense bar.

With regard to our office’s location, Milwaukee is the largest, most diverse, and (in our opinion) most interesting city in Wisconsin. It’s situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, meaning our weather is milder (both less hot and less cold) than much of the Midwest. Milwaukee has been inhabited for centuries, first by Native Americans, then Central European immigrants, followed by African-Americans migrating from the South, and more recently by arrivals from Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. So the city has neighborhoods and institutions focused on Native Americans, African-Americans, Hmong, Puerto Ricans, and Mexican-Americans. It has two major research universities, one public and one private, with Division I sports programs to match. Milwaukee has a strong arts community, headlined by the stunning Milwaukee Art Museum, and beautiful and affordable music venues, including Summerfest, the world’s largest outdoor music festival. As far as sports, baseball’s Brewers are consistently excellent and the Bucks feature the best basketball player on the planet in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Even with these big-city amenities, Milwaukee is remarkably affordable, so a fellow is likely to afford housing they couldn’t dream of in other cities. Commutes are short and Milwaukee remains an easy drive or train ride to Chicago and other destinations in the Midwest.

But despite all of this, we recognize that Milwaukee has significant problems. Seemingly intractable issues like poverty and racism plague our clients and their communities. We work in public defense because we care about these problems and cannot turn a blind eye to them. Our hope is that in seeking justice and dignity for our clients, we improve their lives and fight against the systemic issues that have driven them into the criminal justice system.