January 2013: panel discussion on criminal defense solo practitioners and small firms
in a career as a public defender may also be interested to learn how to
practice criminal law in a small private practice. We hosted a panel of
criminal lawyers who practice in a small or solo setting and who shared
nuts-and-bolts information about private criminal practice.
- Glenn Gerding, Esq., of Gerding Blass PLLC, Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Kellie Mannette, Esq., of the Law Office of Kellie Mannette PLLC, Chapel Hill, N.C.
November 2012: Panel Discussion with North Carolina PDs
The Public Defenders from Durham, Guilford, and Orange/Chatham counties speak about the challenges of indigent defense work, policies of their offices, and what they look for in applicants.
- Lawrence Campbell, the PD for Durham County
- Fred Lind, the PD for Guilford County
- James Williams, the PD for Orange and Chatham Counties
March 2009: The Conviction of Lee Wayne Hunt and the Limits of the Attorney-Client Privilege
Lee Wayne Hunt is currently serving two life sentences plus 20 years for the murders of Lisa and Roland Matthews. Jerry Cashwell was Hunt's co-defendant in the 1986 trial for the murders. In 2004, Staples Hughes, North Carolina's Appellate Defender and a UNC Law graduate, revealed that Cashwell, one of his former clients who had since committed suicide, confessed 20 years ago that Hunt was not involved in the murders and that he was the sole killer of the Matthews. In 2007, Hunt -- represented by UNC Professors Ken Broun and Rich Rosen -- moved for a new trial based on the FBI's use of misleading and unreliable bullet-lead analysis. The request was denied, but N.C. Superior Court Judge Jack Thompson found that Hughes could be sanctioned for violating the attorney-client privilege. Although the disciplinary complaint against Hughes was later dismissed, the N.C. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower court's decision, and Lee Wayne Hunt is still in prison. Panelists include:
- Staples Hughes, N.C. Appellate Defender
- Professor Ken Broun
- Professor Rich Rosen
- Peggy Abrams, President of N.C. Advocates for Justice
November 2008: UNC Law Alumni Who Currently Work as Public Defenders
In November, we had a wonderful panel of recent alumni who spoke about the challenges and rewards of working as public defenders. The panel was followed by an informal lunch with students, panelists, faculty and staff that was hosted by the Career Development Office. Panelists included:
- Caroline Elliot '08, Wake County PD Office
- Dana Graves '06, Orange County PD Office
- Jon Hunt '07, Cumberland County PD Office
- Emily Mistr '06, Wake County PD Office
September 2008: UNC Law Students in Public Defender Offices
3Ls who worked for PD offices discuss their experiences and give advice for getting PD jobs. Faculty members Professor Barbara Fedders and Professor Bob Mosteller discuss the differences among PD offices, and strategies for obtaining summer jobs and internships. Students include:
- Katie Carmon, D.C. Public Defender Service, Orleans PD, and CDPL
- Peter Gilbert, D.C. Public Defender Service
- Kellie Mannette, Wake County PD Office
November 2007: UNC Law Students in Public Defender Offices
- Alena Buitrago, D.C. Public Defender Service
- Caroline Elliot, Wake PD's Office and Center for Death Penalty Litigation
- Rachel Gage, Bronx Defenders and Orange PD's Office
- Ben Iddings, N.C. Appellate Defender's Office
- Patrick Morgan, Orange PD's Office
October 2007: Women Public Defenders Practicing in North Carolina
- Anne Gomez, Office of the Appellate Defender
- Alyson Grine, Defender Educator for North Carolina
- Shelagh Kenney, Center for Death Penalty Litigation
- Melissa Woods, Mecklenburg County PD's office
March 2007: What is it really like in the trenches: Hours, Salary, Job Satisfaction
Panelists discussed a typical day in the life of a public defender -- hours, case load, job satisfaction -- and gave advice for students. Panelists include:
- Caitlin Fenhagen, UNC Law alum, Orange County PD's Office
- Whitney Fairbanks, Durham PD's Office
February 2007: Panel Discussion with PD UNC Law Alumni in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Virginia
- Gerard Galloway '05, Philadelphia Defenders
- Jenny Lutz '05, Philadelphia Defenders
- Kathy Ortiz '89, Chesapeake, Virginia Public Defender
- Chris Roberts '00, Public Defender Services, Washington, D.C., formerly with Durham PD Office
October 2006: Panel Discussion with North Carolina PDs
Public defenders from Wake, Mecklenburg and Buncombe counties, the Federal Defender Office in Raleigh, the Office of the Appellate Defender, the Office of the Juvenile Defender and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation speak about their backgrounds and experiences. Questions include:
- What sustains you in your work? How do you deal with "losing" all the time? What qualities do you think are needed to be a public defender for the long-term?
- How do you avoid over-identification with your clients? How do you handle the fact that the criminal case may be one small aspect of your clients' already complicated lives?
- What kinds of courses, summer internships and clinical experiences do you think will best prepare law students for public defense? What did you do, or wish you had done, during law school to prepare for work as a public defender?