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Indigent Defense Clinic

The thrill of delivering your first opening statement. The satisfaction of helping those in need. The challenge of sharpening trial skills that will broaden your career. All before you take the bar exam. idc 1

The Indigent Defense Clinic is a unique opportunity for third-year law students to represent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Hamilton County. Clinic students begin the year with an intensive ten-day trial advocacy “boot camp.” These skills are enhanced during weekly seminars. With one-on-one supervision, each Clinic student is mentored by a practicing criminal defense attorney. From the initial client interview and case brainstorming to investigation and trial, Clinic students learn best practices in client-centered community defense.

Since its inception in 2007, the Clinic has provided legal representation for nearly 200 indigent criminal defendants. From misdemeanor charges and probation violations to appellate advocacy and sentencing mitigation, students have won outstanding results for their clients. The Clinic’s client-centered approach has led many defendants to request Clinic representation. The response of former students is similarly positive, with many students citing the Clinic as one of their best experiences during law school.

idc 2The Clinic is a cooperative effort of UC College of Law, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC), the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, and the local private defense bar, who generously donate many pro bono hours to student supervision. Housed at the OJPC office in downtown Cincinnati, the Indigent Defense Clinic is located in the same building as the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic, just one block from the Hamilton County Courthouse. Since 2007, the Clinic has received additional support from the, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Cincinnati Bar Foundation, and the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation.

The Indigent Defense Clinic accepts eight students for the year-long program, with four students selected from the UC College of Law and four students from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. All students must be certified as Gov. Bar Rule 2 Student Legal Interns by the Ohio Supreme Court. Participation is limited to students in their third year of law school.

The selection process begins in the spring each year. Interested applicants must submit a letter of interest, resume, and references, along with their transcript, a writing sample, and a completed application form.

Meet the Clinic Staff

David Singleton, Executive Director, Ohio Justice & Policy Center:
Mr. Singleton received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1991 and his A.B. in economics and public policy, cum laude, from Duke University in 1987. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Singleton received a Skadden Fellowship to work at the Legal Action Center for the Homeless in New York City, where he practiced for three years. He has also worked as a public defender with both the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. Mr. Singleton practiced law at Thompson Hine before joining OJPC as its Executive Director in 2002.

Danielle Anderson, Indigent Defense Clinic Director:
Ms. Anderson received her J.D. with honors from the University of Cincinnati in 2008 and her B.A. in Political Science from Ohio University in 1999. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Anderson worked in state government, public relations and marketing. During law school, Ms. Anderson interned with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center and the Office of the Federal Public Defender, and participated the following year in the Indigent Defense Clinic's inaugural year. She rejoined the Center in June 2008 as the Clinic's Administrator, and now serves as the Clinic Director.

Supervising Attorneys:
Bill Gallagher, Jay Clark, Jennifer Kinsley, Hal Arenstein, Pete Rosenwald, Ray Faller, Louie Sirkin, Rob Jensen, Angelina Jackson, Cathy Adams, Wende Cross, M.J. Donovan, Rodney Harris, Jim Perry, Tim Smith, Will Welsh, Elizabeth Gillespie '08, and Lindsey Gutierrez '08.