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

Public Defender Clinic

Under close attorney supervision, students who participate in the Public Defender Clinic represent indigent defendants in criminal cases in the Maricopa County Superior Court and Justice Courts. In the past, clinic students have represented clients charged with drug possession, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, promoting prison contraband, car theft and DUI, to name a few. Students interview clients and witnesses, draft motions, and handle preliminary hearings, plea proceedings, settlement conferences, sentencing, evidentiary hearings and jury trials. They receive regular feedback on their verbal and written work from adjunct professors, other experienced criminal defense attorneys, and sitting Superior Court judges.

In order to sharpen the requisite courtroom skills, students also take a mandatory clinic seminar in trial advocacy. The seminar teaches effective public speaking techniques generally and also provides specific training in all aspects of trials including opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross-examination, and voir dire.

Course Information:

The Public Defender Clinic is a one-semester course.

  • Credits: six graded credits
  • Pre- or Co-Requisite(s): Civil Procedure, Criminal Law & Professional Responsibility
  • Evidence is a pre-requisite
  • Enrollment is limited to 5 students in the Fall/Spring and 4 students in the Summer
  • Second semester 2Ls and 3Ls are eligible to apply
  • FOR SUMMER CLINIC ONLY - Rising 2L's cannot apply 
  • Must be Rule 39 certified after acceptance to clinic.

Time Commitment:

  • Summer: Full 8 hour days M-F required
  • Fall/Spring: Two 8 hour days (Monday through Thursday) and ½ day on Friday required
  • Students must complete 270 hours during the semester, including class time (approx. 20 hours per week, 27 hours per week in summer)
  • Mandatory 3 days training prior to the start of classes in Fall and Spring
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Student Applications Dates for Clinic:

Spring 2022:
Applications: September 24th through October 24th, 2021
Offers extended to students: October 29th, 2021
Student acceptances due: November 1st, 2021 by 5 pm

Summer/Fall 2022:
Application period: January X - February X, 2022
Offers extended to students: February X, 2022
Student acceptances due: March X, 2022 by 5 pm

**IMPORTANT!* - Pursuant to the Statement of Student Policies, Clinics – Students who have applied for a clinic and have been accepted may decline upon offer without consequence. However, once a student has accepted a clinic offered, any student who drops the clinic without prior approval by the dean’s designee will be subject to the 12-month ban.

Students may apply via Atlas during the application period listed above.

Our people

Dan Lowrance

Faculty Associate

Jeff Roth

Faculty Associate