Public Defender Clinic

3 - 5 Credit Hours

(variable credit enrollments available: requires 42.5 hours per credit)

Overseeing Professor
Christine Cerniglia, Associate Professor, and
Director of Clinical and Experiential Education
[email protected]
Adjunct Professors:
Sara Mollo,  Public Defender
Sixth Judicial Circuit
Tara Anderson, 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. Please keep either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday's open for trial days.

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

Program Requirements:
• 42.5 hours per credit;
• Weekly classroom component;
• Weekly case review sessions;
• Multiple 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 one upper-level Criminal Procedure course (Florida Criminal Procedure OR Federal Criminal Procedure [adjudication or investigation]); 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, visit our Clinics and Externship page); 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.)

Please note this clinic is NOT available during the summer semesters. 

A look into the Clinic Part 1

A look into the Clinic Part 2

Additional Videos

Clinical Education: The Classromm Component

Public Defender's Clinic