Public Defender Clinic


Overseeing Professor:
Christine Cerniglia, Assistant Professor, and
Director of Clinical and Experiential Education
Adjunct Professors:
Soraida Justiniano,  Assistant Public Defender
Sixth Judicial Circuit
Ed Abare III, Assistant Public Defender
Sixth Judicial Circuit



Program Description:
Students will actively participate in the criminal justice system and perform the functions of an Assistant Public Defender through all facets of case management, including representing clients during jury and non-jury trials. Students will further develop core competencies in advocacy skills and substantive knowledge required to serve as an Assistant Public Defenders through a combination of experiential learning and classroom instruction. Most trials are set for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Students should not schedule other classes or other obligations for those days.

Placement Locations:
• Sixth Judicial Circuit (Criminal Justice Center: Clearwater)

Program Requirements:
• 213 hours per semester;
• Weekly classroom component;
• Weekly case review sessions;
• Five (5) reflective papers.

Eligibility Requirements:
• Successful completion of four semesters and at least 48 credit hours;
• Be in good academic standing;
• Successful completion of Professional Responsibility, Evidence, Trial Advocacy, and Criminal Procedure (Criminal Procedure Investigation/adjudication OR Florida Criminal Procedure OR Federal Criminal Procedure); and
• Must have received a Notice of Registrant Clearance from The Florida Board of Bar Examiners or expect to receive one at least eight weeks before participating in a clinic program.

Application Requirements:
• Submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline (for more information, see; and
• Timely submit additional documentation as required for this program. (Students are notified of additional requirements after applying and being provisionally placed in the program.)