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First Public Defenders Career Fair draws more than 180 employers & law students


Fri, Oct 19th 2018 06:50 pm
On Friday, the first Public Defenders Career Fair was held at the University at Buffalo's Center for Tomorrow. Hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Law, partnering with the Chief Defenders Association of New York (CDANY) and the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA), this event drew more than 180 law students and employers from throughout New York and beyond.
In April 2017, New York state enacted statewide reforms intended to improve the right to counsel for people charged with a criminal offense, who cannot afford to hire an attorney. Amendments to New York County Law § 722-e and the addition of Executive Law § 832 (4) enacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and supported by the New York State Legislature encourages and enables each criminal defense provider of legally mandated representation to furnish high-quality, effective representation for every client. These recent legislative reforms offer public defense providers across the state the opportunity to hire additional attorneys, investigators, social workers and support staff and develop other resources to further their efforts in improving the overall quality of mandated representation.
To facilitate this hiring, CDANY, NYSDA, and the University at Buffalo School of Law created the Public Defenders Career Fair. This event provided applicants with a view of the diverse offerings for employment in public defense in New York.
"This is an important moment for New York state's indigent defense community. Today's career fair provides an opportunity for public defender offices across the state to showcase their offices and the work they do. CDANY looks forward to supporting the needs of indigent defense offices throughout the implementation of the recent legislative reforms," said Tina Luongo, CDANY president.
Thirty public defender offices representing over half of New York state's counties attended the Public Defenders Career Fair to recruit students and graduates. These students and graduates numbered came from far away as California. 
Lisa Patterson, vice dean for career services for the University at Buffalo School of Law, said "The University at Buffalo Law School is thrilled to be part of this historic event. As New York state's law school, UB is committed to fostering careers in service to underrepresented populations."
CDANY values the partnerships it shares with colleague bar associations in New York, including NYSDA.
"With the infusion of state funding to public defense offices through the legislative expansion of the Hurrell-Harring settlement, this is an opportunity for new attorneys who want to enter public defense to receive the training, supervision, and manageable caseloads necessary provide high-quality representation to clients. NYSDA is excited to join with the Chief Defenders Association of New York and the University of Buffalo School of Law to present the first New York State Public Defenders Career Fair," said Charlie F. O'Brien, NYSDA's executive director.

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