News - Capital University Law School

Externship Reaffirms Public Defense Career Goal

5/7/2019  -  Working at an externship in the Federal Public Defender Office proved Jordan Singleton, L’19, was on the right track on his professional journey.

“I love this office,” he says.

Mr. Singleton, who also works as a law clerk with the Franklin County Public Defender Office – Juvenile Division, says the externship has “reaffirmed that I want to be in the public defender’s office.”

He learned about the position through Professor Daniel T. Kobil in his Criminal Procedure class. “I heard he did a lot of clemency work,” Mr. Singleton says, “and I was interested in death penalty work since I took a death penalty class offered by Cornell University through a study abroad program in Paris after my first year of law school.”

Professor Kobil, not only told Mr. Singleton about the opportunity, he offered to email someone he knew in the office on his behalf. Mr. Singleton applied and, after an interview, was offered the position. The externship is in the Southern District of Ohio’s habeas unit, where someone may challenge a state court conviction if they believe their constitutional rights were violated.

In his role, Mr. Singleton has performed a variety of research, including examining racism in Cincinnati during the 1990s that was used to defend a current case. “Sometimes, the clients have to go out of the legal realm to make their claim,” Mr. Singleton explains, adding that he has been able to apply his undergraduate education from Ohio Dominican University, where he earned degrees in political science, criminal justice and quantitative methods and data analysis.

Mr. Singleton says he appreciates the “family atmosphere” in the public defender’s office. “What we do is so dark, morbid and exhausting at times, and the office is the exact opposite.”

While he intends to take the bar exam in his home state of Georgia and apply for a public defender’s position there, he also has submitted an application for a fellowship for the Eastern District of Washington/Northern District of Idaho Federal Public Defender Office that he learned about through his externship.