In April, the Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) invited four attorneys from the Office of the Cook County Public Defender to speak with students about the realities and myths of a career as a public defender. Students interested in becoming public defenders had an opportunity to receive career advice and to learn about the pivotal role public defenders play in challenging our nation’s criminal justice system.
Public defenders Ashley Shambley, Katie Calhoun, Joey Cavise and Theodore Thomas shared their experiences and answered students' questions. Shambley shared her personal experience with police violence and racism, and how these experiences led to her desire to advocate for poor communities of color. Calhoun addressed students' concerns about transitioning into practice, common student fears about preparedness, and how she navigated those concerns and now comfortably and confidently carries her caseload. Cavise and Thomas advised students on what classes to take and other opportunities available at DePaul to help them in their training to become successful advocates.
"This was an incredible panel that reaffirmed my commitment to fight for justice as a public defender," said Max Suchan, a third-year student. "I would encourage younger students to attend similar events in the future, and get involved with the Center for Public Interest Law.”