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Gideon Fellowship for Criminal Defense

The Gideon Fellowship for Criminal Defense is a 12-month clinical experience beginning in the spring of the 2L 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 beginning the spring 2L semester of law school.

Program details

The Gideon Fellow:

  • Receives a stipend payable half in summer and half in fall.
  • Participates in the following rotation:
    • Spring term (2L), enrolls in Public Defender Clinic, LAW 772
    • Summer term (between 2L and 3L), works in the felony trial division under the supervision of one to two experienced trial attorneys at the Maricopa County Public Defender's Office.
    • Fall term (3L), works in the Capital Habeas Unit at the Federal Public Defender's Office.
  • Earns a total of twelve credits - six graded in the spring and six pass/fail in the fall.

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 taken or be taking concurrently in the spring terms: Professional Responsibility, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Evidence. 
  • Students must be in good academic standing.

Time commitments

  • Spring semester: 270 total hours (approx. 30 hours per week); Public Defender Clinic.
  • Summer semester: 150 total hours (approx. 10-15 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.


Please contact Jennifer Barnes

Application deadlines for 2024-25 Gideon Fellow

Information meeting: Sept. 14, 2023, from 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. in BCLS 240.

Applications accepted: Sept. 18, 2023, through Oct. 16, 2023.

Interviews: Nov. 17, 2023, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MCPD

Notification to all applicants and chosen Fellow: Nov. 21, 2023

Apply now