Participant Profile: Aaron Clemens
Where I work
Palm Beach County, Florida, Office of the Public Defender.
My job title
Assistant Public Defender
My job function
Handled all sorts of cases thus far, currently handling clients facing mandatory life sentences (gun crimes, child sex abuse, repeat offenders), non-death penalty homicides, and sexual predator civil commitment cases.
Description of employer
Carey Haughwout is the elected PD. She is a highly respected trial attorney with vast experience who personally involves herself in all death penalty cases and attorney development.
Interest in public service prior to Georgetown Law
Knowing about the LRAP program and the top notch clinical training program were big reasons I attended GULC.
Specific event, class or professor who inspired me to enter into public interest/government employment
Sam Dash cemented my desire to become a public defender when I took criminal procedure as a 1L. His fire, energy and eloquent dedication to his students and the Constitution remain inspiring beyond belief to this day.
Steps taken while at Georgetown Law to pursue a career in public interest
Almost every class I took centered on public interest.
My involvement with OPICS while at Georgetown Law
I did my pro bono pledge and used OPICS for my job search.
My experience with public interest positions since graduating Georgetown Law
I remain in the job I took before graduation. I also worked pro bono as a volunteer attorney with the ACLU to represent a disabled elderly man arrested by police and prosecuted for trying to record police in public: we secured a favorable settlement. http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/Ballance.pdf
How LRAP benefits enable me to remain in a public interest career
The LRAP support has been essential to reduce the temptation to seek another job with better compensation. What I like most about my position Even when the work is frustrating, I feel that I regularly help people. I am part of the system that can too severely punish people, but I try my best to fight injustice and educate.
What I am most proud of in relation to my work
It is important to show each client that they are not alone and that if they are punished, it's only after they got a fair shake.
My overall opinion of LRAP
I love it!