McGeorge School of Law

Federal Defender Clinic

In the Federal Defender Clinic, students have a rare opportunity to represent indigent defendants charged with misdemeanors in federal court. The students work on cases under the joint supervision of Assistant Federal Defenders and Cary Bricker, a McGeorge faculty member. Clinic students draft legal memoranda, argue motions, handle jury and bench trials, and develop a working knowledge of criminal and sentencing statutes. Clinic students have represented clients in more than 100 cases in U.S. District Court since the Clinic opened in 2009, and they have won some impressive victories. Federal judges and members of the bench regularly comment on the written and oral advocacy skills of our clinic students.

"Not only did the Clinic shape and solidify my conviction to work in public interest, but it also honed real-life lawyering skills. I was able to share these professional skills with public defenders in Santiago, Chile in a two-week summer training program. With those two unique and challenging experiences made possible by McGeorge, I now look forward to a third one, working as a trial attorney."

— Matt Fleming '11,Trial attorney at the Federal Defender's office in San Diego


Legal practitioners Rachelle Barbour and John Balazs teach the weekly seminar along with Professor Cary Bricker. Balazs, who served as an assistant federal defender in Sacramento for eight years, is in private practice representing federal criminal clients at trial and on appeal. Barbour is currently serving as an assistant federal defender. Chief Assistant Federal Defender Linda Harter has principal responsibility for supervising the daily clinical work of students at the Federal Defender's Office.

Professor Cary Bricker has significant experience, litigating dozens of jury trials to verdict in federal court in New York. Bricker teaches in the award-winning trial advocacy program and she has repeatedly been selected by students for the Professor of the Year award. She was director of the top-rated Trial Advocacy program at Temple University School of Law and directs the McGeorge mock trial competition team.


Contact Cary Bricker, Professor