The Catholic University of America

Office of Career and Professional Development

Public Defenders

One of the largest job categories for public interest graduates is public defender offices, many of which hire classes of entry-level attorneys. Like prosecutors, public defenders look for students who have taken Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence, have strong interpersonal skills, and have gained significant oral advocacy experience through clinics, internships, moot court, etc. In addition, the offices look for people who are zealously client-protective and respectful of the client’s decision-making prerogatives. Unfortunately, the majority of public defender offices will not hire individuals until after they have passed the bar.

To find public defender offices in the Washington, D.C. Metro area and throughout the country:


OCPD puts together a handout which provides guidance on preparing for a career as a public defender, as well as a list of alumni public defenders who are available to speak with students. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact OCPD, at (202) 319-5132 or


Office of Career and Professional Development

3600 John McCormack Road, NE
Cardinal Station, Suite 163
Washington, DC 20064-0001

Phone: 202-319-5132  
Fax: 202-319-4734

Career & Professional Development Staff