Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - Beus Center for Law and Society Snell & Wilmer Plaza

Gideon Fellowship for Criminal Defense

The Gideon Fellowship for Criminal Defense is a 12-month clinical experience beginning the summer following the completion of the second year of law school. Through the fellowship, a student experiences a progression of various experiences in indigent defense work through their participation in the Public Defender Clinic and at both the Office of the Maricopa County Public Defender and the Federal Public Defender’s Office. The fellow is selected through a competitive application process and is formally awarded at the Annual Arizona Public Defender (APDA) conference in June.

The fellowship is open to one student per year following the second year of law school.

Program details

The Gideon Fellow:

  • Receives a stipend payable half in fall and half in spring.
  • Participates in the following rotation:
    • During the summer term, works in the Public Defender Clinic under the supervision of Jeff Roth, Deputy Public Defender at the Maricopa County Public Defender's Office.
    • During the fall term, works in the felony trial division under the supervision of one to two experienced trail attorneys at the Maricopa County Public Defender's Office.
    • During the spring term, works in the Capital Habeas Unit  at the Federal Public Defender's Office.
  • Earns a total of twelve credits - six graded in fall and six pass/fail in spring

The fellow must pass a background check and be Rule 39 certified in order to participate in the fellowship. Rule 39 requires that:

  • Students must have completed two full-time semesters of law school.
  • Students must have taken Evidence and pre or co-requisites of Professional Responsibility, Criminal Law and Civil Procedure.
  • Students must be in good academic standing.

Time commitments

  • Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Summer semester; 300 total hours (approx.30 hours per week)
  • Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Fall semester; 150 total hours (approx.10-15 hours per week)
  • Federal Public Defender’s Office. Spring semester;150 total hours (approx. 10-15 hours per week)

Course information

  • The fellow participates in the summer session of the Public Defender Clinic with Jeff Roth.
  • The seminar class meets for two hours each week.
  • Evidence is a prerequisite.


Please contact Renee Garcia at 602-496-1717.

Application deadlines for 2023-24 Gideon Fellow

The application period has closed. Applications were due: September 22, 2022 through October 24, 2022.

Notify Applicants of Interviews: Friday, November 4, 2022

Interviews: Friday, November 18, 2022 at MCPD

Notify all applicants and chosen Fellow: Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Apply now