Alumna crosses the bridge to practice: returns home to Jacksonville as newest assistant public defender

Alumna Ashley Goggins JD/MBA ’12, a recipient of Stetson University College of Law’s Bridge to Practice Fellowship, was hired as an assistant public defender working in the Juvenile Court Unit in the Fourth Judicial Circuit in July.

Ashley Goggins

Ashley Goggins

Goggins shared that she has always had a passion for public service.  “That passion was cultivated during my time in law school,” said Goggins, who served with Stetson’s Public Service Fellows while still a student. With a focus on juvenile justice issues, Goggins also volunteered with legal aid and as a Guardian ad Litem.

Goggins’ Bridge to Practice Fellowship supported her work in the public defender’s office handling felony cases. Launched this year, Stetson’s fellowship gives recent graduates an opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience working as lawyers in public interest environments. To date, nine fellows have worked in public service organizations with attorney mentors through Stetson’s program.

“After graduation, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a public defender, and I wanted to do it at home in Jacksonville,” Goggins said.

On July 1, she became the newest assistant public defender in the juvenile unit.

For students interested in pursuing careers in the area, professors Robert Bickel and Judith Scully have started a concentration in social justice advocacy and Stetson Law students have established a Juvenile Justice Initiative on campus.