Mentoring Program

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The Federal Public Defender’s Office (“FPDO”) will provide an unpaid mentoring program for a limited number of panel applicants who meet all panel qualifications but do not yet have sufficient federal court experience and expertise to qualify for membership on the panel. Acceptance into the program is not a guarantee of a future position on the panel, but the program should help mentees obtain the skills necessary for future panel membership. Participation in the mentorship program is for training purposes, and as such, mentees will not be compensated for the time spent participating in the program.

While the mentoring program will be individualized to some extent based on the mentee’s particular experience, it is anticipated that all mentees will be required to do the following:

  1. Second Chair Two Felony Cases: Second chair two complete district court felony cases through their conclusion with a mentor. The mentor should be an experienced Deputy Federal Public Defender (“DFPD”), as selected by the FPDO, or an experienced Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) attorney, as selected by the FPDO together with the CJA Panel Representatives. The DFPD or the CJA attorney will be the counsel of record and serve as first chair. All case assignments will be made as close to the initial appearance as reasonably practicable. During the pendency of these cases, the mentee will be expected to be present for all substantive court appearances and to take on some of the responsibilities associated with preparing the cases under the supervision of the first chair.
  2. Substitute Requirement When There is No Opportunity to Second Chair Two Trials as Part of Requirement #1: If the mentee is not able to second chair two trials as part of Requirement #1, the mentee will be required to observe (a) two felony trials if no trials occurred as part of Requirement #1 or, (b) one felony trial if the mentee was able to second chair one trial as part of completing Requirement #1. If the mentee was able to second chair two or more trials as part of Requirement #1, there is no additional requirement to observe trials under this section.
  3. Second Chair a Total of Four Sentencing Hearings: Second chair a total of four sentencing hearings, which may include any sentencing hearings conducted as part of requirement #1.
  4. Monthly Meeting: Attend monthly meetings with the mentor to discuss the status of each case. Along with the mentor, attend a quarterly meeting with the FPDO Chief Deputy regarding the status of the mentoring program.
  5. Criminal Duty: Attend and observe four criminal duty days, including shadowing the mentor during the initial client meeting and the completion of required paperwork.
  6. Sentencing Training: Attend an FPDO in-person training on the sentencing guidelines and the development of sentencing mitigation.
  7. Self-Study: Complete self-study using the FPDO’s training videos on:
    1. initial interview and bail;
    2. discovery issues;
    3. drug offenses/mandatory minimum/851/RICO/ and VICAR;
    4. supervised release and other violations;
    5. ethics; and
    6. in consultation with the mentor, two training videos of the mentee’s choosing from the FPDO’s training library.
  8. Discretion of the CJA Committee: Depending on the scope of experience of the mentee, the CJA Committee may revise or customize the requirements of the Mentorship Program to ensure quality representation and a robust CJA panel.
  9. Mentee Evaluation: Upon the completion of the Mentoring Program, the DFPD mentor, the FPDO, or a designee of the FPDO must complete the CJA
    Mentee Evaluation form and submit it to the CJA Supervising Attorney for review by the Chair of the CJA Committee. After the Chair of the CJA Committee reviews the mentee evaluation, a determination will be made whether additional training is needed or whether the mentee’s application for membership on the CJA Trial Attorney Panel will be submitted for review by the CJA Committee. If the CJA Committee approves the mentee, it will make a favorable recommendation to the Court’s Executive Committee. If approved by the Court’s Executive Committee, the mentee’s application will be reviewed by the full Court. With approval from the full Court, the mentee will be placed on the CJA Trial Attorney Panel as a member.