Howard Finkelstein, the Public Defender for the Law Office of the Public Defender, 17th Judicial Circuit, seeks attorney applicants who are excellent communicators, dynamic and adversarial, with good courtroom skills, the ability to handle a myriad of situations in any given day, and a passion to represent the indigent in Broward County, Florida.
Assistant Public Defender Positions
Resumes are continously accepted for entry level positions and felony level positions.
Entry level attorneys who have volunteer or intern experience within the criminal justice system, and who have participated in a Trial Skills or Trial Advocacy course in law school, are preferred.
Felony level attorneys are required to have a minimum of two years criminal trial experience.
Applicants are expected, upon a job offer, to commit to a minimum of two years employment with this Office.
The Hiring Process
Resumes are reviewed periodically and on a continuing basis.
Applicants who demonstrate the minimum experience, trial skill, enthusiasm and desire to serve will be invited to participate in an Assistant Public Defender Applicant Orientation. These are typically held on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at the Law Office of the Public Defender in Fort Lauderdale.
Upon completion of an Applicant Orientation, qualified candidates may be invited to interview with the Interview Committee. These interviews are held on the second Thursday of each month.
Final selections for open positions are made after an interview with the elected Public Defender, Howard Finkelstein.
Accomodations to the hiring process may be granted for distant applicants.
To be considered for employment, applicants should submit a resume, writing sample, cover letter and references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put your name in the subject line.
Accommodations to the hiring process may be granted for distant applicants.
To be considered for employment, applicants should submit a resume, writing sample, cover letter and references to email@example.com.
Legal Internship Programs
The Broward Public Defender’s Office offers two types of internships for law students and undergraduate students: certified legal interns (CLI's) and non-certified. Both programs afford invaluable experience working alongside assistant public defenders. Unfortunately, we have no paid internships.
NOTE: We offer internships only to students. We do not accept law school graduates or attorneys as volunteers.
CERTIFIED LEGAL INTERNS
To be eligible to become a CLI a law student must do two things:
There are 2 options available:
Option 1-“Student Registration” for Florida Bar Admission:
This filing status begins the processing track for bar admission in Florida. It also provides the registrant clearance that is one of the eligibility requirements for participating in a Certified Legal Internship program. If filed by the earliest deadline provided under rule 2-23.1(a), the filing fee is $75. Students who anticipate pursuing admission to the Florida Bar upon graduation should choose this option. From the Home page www.floridabarexam.org click on "checklists," and then select "Register as a First Year Student."
Option 2- “Certified Legal Intern (CLI)” Registration:
This filing status provides CLI clearance only; it does not pursue admission to practice law in Florida. If filed within the first 250 days of beginning law school, the filing fee is $75; if filed after the first 250 days of beginning law school, the filing fee is $150. From the Home page www.floridabarexam.org click on "checklists," and then select "Register for Certified Legal Internship Clearance only."
2- Be enrolled in a law school practice program
After the student has received clearance from the Florida Bar, the student must be duly enrolled in the United States in, and appearing as part of a law school practice program of, a law school approved by the American Bar Association and must have completed legal studies amounting to at least 4 semesters or 6 quarters for which the student has received not less than 48 semester hours or 72 quarter hours of academic credit or the equivalent if the school is on some other basis. The student will register for the school’s Criminal Law Clinic or Externship, and complete an application for CLI certification with the school’s clinic/externship staff. The Dean of the law school will certify the student, and will contact us for our agreement to supervise and then the clinic/externship staff will submit the CLI application to the Florida Supreme Court for approval.
NON-CERTIFIED INTERNS (academic credit, work study or volunteers)
The non-certified internship is open to law students and undergraduate students. Internships in the Broward Public Defender’s Office may be performed for academic credit, on a "work-study", or a volunteer basis. These interns provide litigation support to our attorneys. With recent budget cuts there is plenty for interns to do to assist our attorneys. The assignments given to interns will depend on a variety of factors including any related experience, skills and interests, and how many law student interns we have. In nearly every instance interns go to the jails during their internship, so if this is something that makes you uncomfortable this internship may not be a good fit for you. Interns are typically assigned to Felony, Misdemeanor, Juvenile, Drug Court and Early Representation divisions of the Public Defender's Office. They gain experience by conducting client interviews, research and writing, assisting in the investigation of cases, attending depositions, contacting potential defense witnesses and observing courtroom procedures. The volunteer experience often leads to a law student's decision to become a Certified Legal Intern (CLI) at the Public Defender's Office, or an undergraduate’s decision to attend law school. Our office is delighted when we see resumes from attorneys who have participated as CLI's or volunteers in this office, or to a lesser extent, another public defender office, so starting as a volunteer intern is a very good first step.
We are no longer accepting resumes for Summer 2017 Volunteer Interns.
We will begin accepting resumes for Summer 2018 Volunteer Interns in January 2018.
The non-certified internship is open to law students and undergraduate students.
Internships in the Broward Public Defender’s Office may be performed for academic
credit, on a "work-study", or a volunteer basis. These interns p
PRO BONO HOURS
We are unable to accommodate students for pro bono hours UNLESS they have previously completed a semester long internship with the Broward Public Defender’s Office, OR, they commit to a minimum of 20 hours per week for a semester as described above.
“So you want to be a public defender?
Don’t do it for the money, there isn’t enough.
Don’t do it for prestige, you won’t get any.
Don’t do it for the thrill of victory, victory rarely comes.
Do it for love. Do it for justice. Do it for self-respect.
Do it for the satisfaction of knowing you are serving others,
defending the Constitution, living your ideals.
The work is hard. The law is against you.
The facts are against you. The judges are often against you.
Sometimes even your clients are against you.
But it is a great job – exhilarating, energizing, rewarding.
You get to touch people’s hearts
and fight for what you believe in every day.”
Carol A. Brook
Federal Defender of Northern District of Illinois