Standing Out During the Public Defender Interview

By: Ashley Matthews

Recently, the University of Virginia School of Law blogged a few invaluable tips from this year’s Public Defender Advocacy, Hiring and Training Conference (PATH), sponsored by the Public Defender Service of D.C. In a nutshell, passion pays off – you have to be able to show and explain just how ready you are to enter the field of indigent defense.

In a larger nutshell, here are the offered tips:

1. Know your personal motivation for being a public defender, because this will sustain your career.

2. Be realistic, but passionate, about why you want to be a public defender.

3. Convey that you are a “true believer” in your cover letter.

4. Since candidates start looking the same on paper, your passion and motivation should stand out.

5. If you’ve worked in prosecution or domestic violence, don’t be scared to address it.

6. Speak Spanish! If you don’t speak Spanish, learn Spanish! This increases your chances of employment.

7. Bring out the fact that you are client-centered in your interview.

8. Look at hypothetical questions from multiple angles.

9. When asked a hypothetical question, remember that public defender offices are paying attention to your instincts.

10. When role-playing, listen to your “client” and be mindful of your body language.

Click here to read the whole blog post!

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