The complexity of federal criminal cases requires particularized knowledge and client attention. To address the need for well-trained, as well as diverse, lawyers on the CJA panel, the Federal Defender Second Chair (Mentor) Program was developed. The Mentor Program provides training in all aspects of federal criminal practice.
The attorneys chosen to participate in the program have a reputation for excellence and experience in some aspects of criminal and/or federal litigation.
In 2007, the first class of lawyers, six in all, was selected. The second class, selected in 2011, was composed of ten attorneys. The program is now on its third class, made up of 11 lawyers. The backgrounds of the mentees are varied, ranging from solo practitioners practicing primarily criminal defense in state cases to attorneys at large firms with significant experience in pre-indictment federal litigation. Through the program, the mentee attorneys have handled cases that were varied both in complexity and subject matter.
Monthly class meetings:
The mentee class meets once a month for a CLE-type gathering. During these trainings, different aspects of federal criminal law are discussed, as well as practical points for effective defense of clients. Additionally, mentees learn about the important structural/agency components involved in federal criminal practice. Trainers include CJA panel members, attorneys from the Federal Defender’s Office and people from various federal agencies, including the U.S. Probation Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Clerk’s Office.
Experiential learning is important part of the Second Chair Training Program. Mentees are assigned to work on cases with senior lawyers, through the Federal Defender’s Office. The senior, or mentor, lawyers guide mentees through the procedural and litigation aspects of the case. Mentees are prepared for and get to participate in a meaningful way in the cases. Ranging from client interviews through witness examinations and, as necessary, sentencing elocutions, the casework component provides mentees with important courtroom/case experience.
In the most recent mentee class, every mentee worked on at least three (3) cases. Ten of the mentees were involved in cases that went to trial. All have had cases that involved significant litigation/issues resulting in evidentiary hearings.
Mentees are paid $70/hour for work on their appointed cases.
Benefits to the Mentees:
Beyond the training aspects, mentees are provided with numerous opportunities to build important networks that strengthen their practice. Class members build relationships with each other and, through the exposure to members of the federal criminal defense bar, broaden their base of resources, contacts and knowledge. Courtroom experience and strengthening client skills are also benefits mentees gain. Additionally, due to the significant amount of writing involved in the cases, legal writing skills are deepened.
Expectations of Mentees:
The attorneys chosen to participate in the program will be expected to attend the monthly training sessions, participate in the regular seminars put on by the Federal Defenders Office, meet regularly with the Program Coordinator and work on three assigned cases over a two-year period.
Former and Current Mentee Attorneys Include:
A call for applicants will be sent later this fall via email. Applicants will be asked to submit a formal application, writing sample and references. After applications are received, interviews will be scheduled.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Program Coordinator Caroline Durham at (612) 272-9111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcement for Applicants.pdf
Program Flyer FINAL 2016.pdf