What does that look like?
The Public Defender’s Office runs one of the largest law firms in the circuit. It needs to have a positive presence in the local legal community as well as in statewide and national groups that help support the mission. There are countless nonprofit organizations that focus on the same issues the office strives to make better – mental health support, homelessness, proper education, access to health care, Veteran benefits, and post-prison re-entry programs. We need to work with these groups, either through individual outreach from our attorneys and social workers, or in complete partnership with the administration.
The office needs to work hand in hand with the educational institutions we are fortunate to have right in our back yard. While we have both undergraduate and certified legal internships in place, we can strive to make our educational experience a coveted spot for young students to strive for. We must take advantage of all these local networks by increasing our involvement and presence. We have to make sure that people know us as attorneys who are not only advocating for clients in the courtroom but also working in our neighborhoods to make things better for our community.