The Cook County Public Defender’s Office is pleased to announce the swearing in of 25 new attorneys who are now Assistant Public Defenders in our office. This group of attorneys joins our professional family and our mission to protect the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation.
“As members of this noble profession, you will have the ability to shape great change, champion the rights of individuals, bring about fairness and justice, and provide a voice for those who have no voice of their own. At this critical time in our State’s criminal justice system, your public service could not be more needed,” Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke said at the ceremony before administering the oath to the new attorneys.
Cook County Public Defender Sharone R. Mitchell, Jr., thanked the new attorneys for choosing public defense as their career and said he was excited for their future and the future of their clients.
“We want you here to do great things. To help people. To be zealous. To build a career where you can leave this profession, this office, this earth, knowing that you made it better than you left it,” he said. Also speaking at the ceremony were the following staff from the Cook County Public Defender's Office: First Assistant Rodney Carr; Chief of Staff Era Laudermilk; and Susan Smith, Chief of the Fourth Municipal District, Maywood.
These new attorneys joined our office through our Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defender Program. In this program, recent law school graduates who have not yet been admitted to practice law in Illinois have the opportunity to work as a Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defender. Pre-licensed Assistant Public Defenders have one year after their start date to get sworn-in to the Illinois bar and then are automatically promoted to Assistant Public Defender I.
The swearing in ceremony took place at the Illinois Supreme Court on the 18th floor of the Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago. Many of the new attorneys were accompanied by family and friends who joined Public Defender Mitchell and his executive staff at a reception following the ceremony.