In this episode of WesternState Coffee Talk, we travel out to a very warm Riverside and venture into the depths of the Riverside County Public Defenders Office. We are lucky enough to sit down with some current Western State students, as well as some alumni who are making a difference in Riverside through the PDs office. We meet the legend, Eric Keen (’95), along with two recent alumni, Sam Stone (’16) and Zoha Kahn (’16), and also two current students, Laura Mergenthaler (’18) and Cesia Alvarez (’19). Eric is the Supervising Deputy Public Defender most recently in charge of the Public Defender’s training program. Sam and Zoha are current first-year public defenders, and Laura and Cesia are working there for the summer.
In our hour-long talk, we discuss what brought each to law school, why they chose the Public Defenders Office, and what their typical day is like. They also share a little bit of advice for succeeding not only in law school, but about how to be best prepared to succeed in the Public Defenders Office.