Table of ContentsI.Introduction . 3Role of Juvenile Defense Counsel . 3Key Distinctions between Juvenile Court and Adult Court . 4Careers in Juvenile Defense. 4II. Preparing for a Career in Juvenile Defense. 4Coursework . 5Experiential Learning . 5III. Securing a Job in Juvenile Defense . 6Entry-Level Front-Line Juvenile Defender Opportunities. 6Policy Advocacy, Fellowships, and Other Juvenile Defense Opportunities . 8Post-Graduate Debt Management. 9IV. Overview of Resources . 9Overview of the Juvenile Justice Process . 10Juvenile Court Terminology . 11List of Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Clinical Programs . 18Public Interest Career Fairs. 24Debt Management and Summer Funding Opportunities . 28Project-Based Post-Graduate Fellowships . 32List of Selected Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Organizations . 35Alabama . 35Alaska . 35Arizona . 36Arkansas. 38California . 38Colorado . 39Connecticut . 39Delaware . 40District of Columbia . 40Florida . 43Georgia . 44Hawaii. 46Idaho . 46Illinois . 47Indiana . 48Iowa . 49Kansas . 49

Kentucky . 50Louisiana . 50Maine. 51Maryland . 51Massachusetts . 52Michigan . 53Minnesota . 53Mississippi. 54Missouri . 54Montana. 55Nebraska . 55Nevada . 56New Hampshire . 56New Jersey . 57New Mexico . 57New York . 57North Carolina. 58North Dakota. 59Ohio. 59Oklahoma. 59Oregon . 60Pennsylvania . 61Rhode Island . 61South Carolina . 62South Dakota. 63Tennessee . 63Texas . 64Utah. 64Vermont . 65Virginia . 65Washington. 65West Virginia . 66Wisconsin . 66Wyoming . 67Other Helpful Career Links and Resources . 68

NJDCI.Juvenile Defense Policy and PracticeCareer Resource GuideIntroductionEvery youth facing charges in juvenile court or who is otherwise at risk of losing his or herliberty has a constitutional right to meaningful access to counsel throughout the juveniledelinquency process. The juvenile defender is central to the fulfillment of that right. Juveniledefense is a highly specialized practice that requires a unique skill set and knowledge base that isconsiderably different and broader than what is needed for adult criminal defense. The NationalJuvenile Defender Center (NJDC) prepared this guide to provide students and others withvaluable resources to jumpstart a juvenile defense career.Role of Juvenile Defense CounselIn a series of cases starting in 1966, the United States Supreme Court extended bedrock elementsof due process and fair treatment to youth charged in delinquency proceedings. Arguably themost important of these cases, In re Gault1 held that juveniles have the right to counsel indelinquency proceedings. The Court noted that juvenile defense counsel was imperative torectify the dilemma facing youth in juvenile courts, where they experienced “the worst of bothworlds;”2 receiving neither the protections afforded to adult defendants nor the individualizedcare and treatment reserved for youth. The Court clearly observed that juvenile defense counsel’srole in delinquency proceedings is unique and critical.3 The Court concluded that no matter howmany court personnel were charged with looking after the accused child’s interests, any childfacing “the awesome prospect of incarceration” needed “the guiding hand of counsel at everystep in the proceedings against him [or her]” for the same reasons that adults facing criminalcharges need counsel.4Court-involved youth need attorneys to help them navigate the complexities of the delinquencysystem. The juvenile defender zealously advocates on behalf of the young client’s expressedinterests to enforce the client’s due process rights and present the legal and social case. Thedefender also plays an important role in counseling clients through legal and other relatedprocesses, promoting accuracy in decision making, providing alternatives for decision makers,and monitoring institutional treatment, aftercare, and re-entry. Effective juvenile defense isclient-centered, individualized, holistic, and developmentally appropriate. The juvenile defendermust ensure that their clients meaningfully participate in their defense and that clients and theirfamilies are treated with dignity and respect. Juvenile defenders are a critical buffer againstinjustice and are at the heart of ensuring that the delinquency system operates fairly, accurately,and humanely.1387 U.S. 1 (1967).Id. at 19 n. 23 (internal quotations and citation omitted).3See id. at 36 (“The probation officer cannot act as counsel for the child. His role . . . is as arresting officer andwitness against the child. Nor can the judge represent the child.”).4Id.23

Key Distinctions between Juvenile Court and Adult CourtWhile youth are afforded the same due process rights as adults, juvenile court practice is distinctfrom adult court practice in many ways. The most obvious difference is that juvenile court casesprimarily consist of bench trials (where the judge is the trier of fact) compared to adult courtwhere jury trials are more readily available to the criminally accused. While every juvenile courtoperates differently, this guide contains a flowchart that generally illustrates how a delinquencycase proceeds through the juvenile court process from arrest to expungement. This flowchart canbe found in the “Overview of the Juvenile Justice Process” section of this guide. Likewise, thelanguage in juvenile court is often quite different from the language used in adult criminal court.This guide also contains a glossary in the “Juvenile Court Terminology” section that definessome key juvenile court terms to help students familiarize themselves with juvenile courtlanguage and gain a better understanding of the juvenile court process.Careers in Juvenile DefenseA career in juvenile defense is challenging, rewarding, and achievable. The need for passionateadvocates to represent indigent children, the multi-disciplinary nature of the field, and the pushto advance practice and policy reforms across the country presents a wide range of opportunitiesfor those interested in juvenile defense issues. In this field, one can engage in direct serviceswork as a front-line juvenile defender, participate in appellate advocacy, or assist in policyadvocacy by working with law reform organizations, juvenile defense/juvenile justice thinktanks, and other social justice organizations. With this broad range of options, juvenile defense isa great place for those interested in fostering innovation and creativity to bring about socialchange.II.Preparing for a Career in Juvenile DefenseThe road to becoming a champion for children starts way before entering the legal workforce.Using your undergrad and law school experience to attain and hone key skills is the perfect wayto jumpstart a successful career in juvenile defense. Juvenile defense is a highly specializedpractice that requires a unique set of skills and in-depth understanding of an evolving body ofjuvenile jurisprudence and adolescent development research. Aside from knowledge of criminaland juvenile law, representing youth in the delinquency context requires familiarity with juvenilecourt procedure, practice standards, and case law; the ability to communicate complex legalprinciples to young clients; familiarity with a wide range of appropriate rehabilitative servicesand programs; an understanding of the growing body of research in adolescent development; andthe ability to monitor progress and provide legal services after disposition. Juvenile defendersmust have superior interpersonal skills and compassion; possess strong analytical, oral advocacy,and practical writing skills; and be courageous and willing to go against the grain to zealouslyadvocate on the behalf of their clients’ expressed interests. Students interested in juveniledefense can begin to acquire these skills, experience, and personal attributes through theircoursework and by taking advantage of experiential learning opportunities.4

CourseworkStudents can begin building the foundational knowledge required for a career in juvenile defenseearly on in their academic careers. General coursework in adolescent development, childpsychology, and the like will help students better understand the evolving body of scientific andsocial research that drives juvenile defense. Legal coursework in criminal law, criminalprocedure, advanced criminal procedure, evidence, legal ethics, legal writing, and trial advocacyis essential to help students understand the doctrinal and practical concepts that underscorejuvenile defense work. Interested students can also explore electives that touch on specialeducation law and disability law for exposure to other areas of law that intersect with juveniledefense practice. Some schools may offer courses that contextualize juvenile delinquency withinthe realm of criminal law as part of a broader discussion about juvenile justice and childadvocacy. These courses may also touch on policy reform and legislative efforts to addresssystemic issues that arise in child-serving systems.Experiential LearningExperiential learning provides students with a unique opportunity to apply what they havelearned in the classroom in a real world setting. Employers in the juvenile indigent defense fieldlook to hire individuals who have a demonstrated interest in the work. Internships/externships arean excellent way for undergraduate, graduate, and law students to gain exposure to the juveniledefense field, develop key skills, and build their resume. In addition to resume building,internships/externships allow students to explore a variety of areas within the juvenile defensefield to find their niche. While most internships/externships are unpaid, employers are oftenwilling to work with the student’s school to award academic credit. Students who are notreceiving academic credit may also qualify to receive funding for summer positions throughvarious grant programs. Information on these programs can be found in the “Debt Managementand Summer Funding Opportunities” section of this guide. Students should begin activelylooking and applying for summer positions during winter break and no later than early springsemester.In addition to internships/externships, law students should take advantage of clinical educationduring their 2L or 3L year, where available, to prepare for a career in juvenile defense. Thishands-on learning experience with real clients, extensive training, and supervision providesstudents with an invaluable opportunity to be the lawyer. Some law schools have juveniledefense and/or child advocacy specific programs. A list of these law schools is available in the“List of Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Clinical Programs” section of this guide. Forstudents that are attending institutions where a juvenile-specific clinical program is not available,participating in a criminal defense clinic or other clinics that require direct representation ofclients and/or involve policy advocacy will equip students with transferrable skills that are usefulin the juvenile defense field. Students should also feel empowered to request juvenile defenseclinical programs and/or related course offerings and form student groups/committees to developan implementation plan and strategy to make such programs and courses available to students.5

III.Securing a Job in Juvenile DefenseThere is a broad array of juvenile indigent defense delivery systems across the country. Defenseservices in some states are coordinated at a state level, while in others it is managed at the countylevel. Within these systems, indigent juvenile defense attorneys may work for public defenderoffices, non-profit law centers, appointed/contract counsel panels, boutique law firms, or lawschool clinical programs. Given the varied nature of systems across the country, navigating thejob search in the juvenile defense field can be very daunting without the proper guidance anddirection. It is necessary for interested students to take advantage of resources at their schools,within their communities, and at organizations like NJDC to get a head start. It is best to thinkabout the geographic locations that you are open to practicing in and explore the types ofjuvenile defense opportunities available in those areas to guide your overall job search.The Power of Informational InterviewsSetting up informational interviews with alumni or other contacts in the juvenile defense field isa powerful networking tool. Informational interviews are distinct from job interviews. Unlike ajob interview, the purpose of an informational interview is not to solicit a job (in the immediatesense) rather the purpose is to build a rapport with contacts and learn more about the practice andorganization, hiring methods, and future employment opportunities. To prepare for aninformational interview, students should thoroughly research the individual and the organizationand draft three to five well-informed questions. Topics for questions include the organization andits mission, practice areas of interest, skills and background required, entry-level opportunities,career mobility/trajectory, etc. There are two important rules to keep in mind about informationalinterviews: (1) the requester should not attach or offer a resume without being asked for it and(2) the requester should not ask the contact for a job before or during the interview. Students canfind a link to a step-by-step guide on informational interviews and other networking tools in the“Other Helpful Career Links and Resources” section of this guide.Entry-Level Front-Line Juvenile Defender OpportunitiesThe availability of entry-level opportunities varies by jurisdiction and office. Some jurisdictionsand offices allow entry level candidates to apply directly for juvenile defender positions duringthe traditional law school fall and winter recruitment processes, while others require candidatesto apply outside of this process as positions become available. For example in New York City,the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society accepts applications for positions withinthe Division starting in August of the year prior to entry. In contrast, the Maryland Office of thePublic Defender specifically advertises for juvenile positions as they become available.Factors to Consider in Evaluating Juvenile Defender OpportunitiesThe daily practices of juvenile defenders are influenced by the jurisdiction, type of deliverysystem, and culture of the organization in which the defender practices. Since juvenile defense isa highly specialized practice, it is important to get a sense of the training opportunities that areavailable for new hires. It is also necessary for applicants to ascertain the caseload, officeenvironment, level of supervision, mentorship opportunities, and nature of juvenile defense6

practice (e.g. whether the office provides “holistic” representation) in offices of particularinterest. Outside of firsthand experience from internships/externships, alumni networks and lawschool faculty are a great resource to get this insight.The Application, Interview, and Hiring ProcessApplicants are typically required to submit a cover letter, resume, a short writing sample (e.g.motion or legal research memo), transcripts, references, and sometimes responses to aquestionnaire relating to the applicants background, interests, and desires to work in the field.The interview process ordinarily consists of multiple stages, with the first interview being ascreening interview and the subsequent interviews being conducted by a panel of attorneys andpossibly executives of the hiring organization. During the interview process, applicants should beprepared to answer questions related to the applicant’s interest in juvenile defense, reply tohypothetical questions, and engage in simulations such as delivering opening and/or closingstatements and facilitating a mock client interview. While the hiring timeline varies betweenagencies, students should begin actively putting together materials and requesting references nolater than October of their final year of study. Students should expect to interview over winterbreak and throughout the first half of the spring semester, and anticipate employers to makehiring decisions between late spring and early summer. Because some organizations do notaccept applications until the applicant has passed that state’s bar exam, it is important to researchthe particular hiring process for each organization for which you apply.Tips for Interviews and SimulationsFor the screening interview, applicants should be prepared to clearly and succinctly articulatewhy they want to be a juvenile defender and why they are applying to a particular office.Applicants should cite to specific experiences that led them to pursue a career in juvenile defenseand be prepared to discuss their clinical experience. If an applicant did not participate in a clinic,that applicant should be prepared to explain why and describe what measures he or she has takento gain other practical legal experience. Applicants should be prepared to demonstrate theirwillingness and the ability to work with lower-income and diverse populations. Candidates willlikely encounter questions regarding their comfort level and philosophy on defending clientscharged with heinous crimes (e.g. child molestation, murder, or rape). Applicants should alwayskeep a lawyer’s ethical obligations in mind when responding to questions about past clients orcases. The Public Defender Handbook published by the Public Interest Law Center at NYUSchool of Law is a great resource to help applicants prepare for juvenile defense interviews. Alink to this handbook can be found in the “Other Helpful Career Links and Resources” section.Note that, in contrast to this guide, the Public Defender Handbook discusses securing a job in thepublic defense sector more generally (i.e. in the adult criminal context).The hypotheticals that applicants may encounter during the interview process are most likelygoing to test the applicant’s ability to communicate an attorney’s ethical obligations to his or herclient; awareness of the difference between expressed or stated interest representation (attorney’srepresentation is guided by what the client wants) and best interest representation (attorneydetermines what is best for the client); and how the applicant balances the tension between beinga zealous advocate and adhering to other ethical duties as a lawyer.7

Policy Advocacy, Fellowships, and Other Juvenile Defense OpportunitiesPolicy AdvocacyIn addition to litigation opportunities, those interested in policy reform can seek opportunitieswithin law reform organizations, juvenile defense/juvenile justice think tanks, and other socialjustice organizations to engage in policy advocacy. Since many of these organizations may nothave annual recruitment, it is important for interested candidates to proactively reach out toorganizations of interest to set up informational interviews and learn about current or futureemployment opportunities. Many of these organizations host fellowship projects funded byoutside organizations and some of these organizations also have in-house fellowshipopportunities, which are described in more detail below. The Public Service Job Directory( is a great place to search for organizations and employment opportunities that engagein policy advocacy. More information about the PSJD and other resources can be found in the“Other Helpful Career Links and Resources” section of this guide.Postgraduate FellowshipsThere is an array of postgraduate fellowships available to students to jumpstart a career injuvenile defense including project-based fellowships, organizational fellowships, and teachingfellowships. Project-based fellowships typically fund student-proposed projects that serve unmetlegal needs. To apply for these fellowships, candidates usually seek a host organization andcollaborate with the host organization to put together a fellowship proposal and apply for fundingthrough various programs. In some cases, candidates may apply for support on their own (i.e.without a host organization) to start a new project or organization. The three most popularfellowships known to law students are the Equal Justice Works, Skadden, and Soros JusticeAdvocacy Fellowships. Information about project-based fellowship opportunities can be found inthe “Project-based Postgraduate Fellowships” section of this guide. Organizational fellowshipsare opportunities within existing organizations for a one- or two-year term where fellows arehired as staff members for the duration of the fellowship period. Gra

psychology, and the like will help students better understand the evolving body of scientific and social research that drives juvenile defense. Legal coursework in criminal law, criminal procedure, advanced criminal procedure, evidence, legal ethics, legal writing, and trial advocacy