Clinic Student Accepted into Gideon's Promise

January 30, 2019

Criminal and Juvenile Defense clinic student Krista Chaska 2L has been accepted into Gideon’s Promise, a highly competitive summer law clerk program.

Named after Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainright, Gideon’s Promise is a non-profit organization placing law clerks and new public defenders in underfunded offices mostly throughout the Southern U.S. Through offering myriad opportunities for law students and attorneys alike to strengthen public defender training, they seek to fulfill their mission of “[transforming] the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.”

Chaska was accepted into the Summer Law Clerk program, which places current law students with a Gideon’s Promise partner office for a 6-10 week internship. She will be clerking in Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana, which currently has the highest incarceration rate in the country. 

What drew you to apply for Gideon’s Promise Summer Clerkship program?

“When I began designing the Juvenile and Criminal Defense Clinic this past semester and started working at the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office, my passion for public defense grew and solidified immensely. While working through these two experiences, the grave injustices within the criminal justice system became very apparent and I knew that I wanted to look for an opportunity where these injustices where consistently being identified, questioned, and reacted to in order to improve the system. Gideon’s Promise’s mission of creating a generation of public defenders who want to implement change through a client-centered approach to legal representation really resonated with me and was the main reason I applied to the program!”

Why did you specifically select St. Tammany Parish as your office location?

“After researching the different office placements, St. Tammany Parish was a location that instantly stood out as a unique challenge. St. Tammany Parish is reported to have more individuals incarcerated per capita than anywhere in the world lending to its nickname ‘St. Slammany.’ While the injustices within the system exist in every courtroom around the nation, and any office placement would have held so much room for change, the opportunity to go to St. Tammany and help push back against these disparate rates of incarceration was the reason I chose this as my top office placement.”