Orleans Public Defenders

The mission of the Orleans Public Defenders Office (OPD) is to provide each eligible client with client-centered legal representation of the highest quality – zealous, conscientious, caring, professional, ethical and skilled – whether in criminal, juvenile or municipal/traffic court.

WHAT YOU DO

Client Services: Students serving in Client Services perform initial intake for clients with OPD. Tasks include but are not limited to intake interviews, bond calls, preparing case files, and documentation of client information for each case in a personalized intake memo.

Investigative Unit: Students serving with the Investigative Unit will be assigned to and work directly with a staff investigator. You will work together within a cluster of attorneys and other support personnel to produce the best possible outcome for the client in each individual case. Please click here for a detailed description and list of tasks you could do while serving with the Investigative Unit.

Students serving in either program at OPD must sign up for and attend 10 volunteer shifts (one shift per week). All shifts are scheduled to be 4 hours long, but may end early. Therefore, students must be willing to serve more hours than most service learning courses require, possibly up to 40 hours.

WHAT YOU LEARN

Client Services: Students will learn the ins and outs of the criminal justice system in New Orleans and the defendants' initial interaction with the system. They will also develop interpersonal and communication skills by interacting with everyone involved in the system from indigent arrestees to the lawyers representing them. They will also gain experience in interviewing, memo-writing and critical thinking.

Investigative Unit: OPD Investigative Unit Program for service learners is designed to give students hands-on exposure to criminal defense representation in New Orleans. This includes direct client contact, engagement with community members, and coordinating with various social service and professional entities.

INTERACTIONS

Adults who are facing criminal charges or prosecution • who have been incarcerated • with a criminal history • with low literacy • juveniles transferred to adult court

PRESERVICE REQUIREMENTS

  1. Attend an on-campus session • Thurs, Sept. 8 • 6-8pm • Multimedia room 2, Monroe Library • Bring your resume, pen and paper.
  2. Students interested in serving with OPD should be prepared to have their resume reviewed.
  3. Students will also be required to attend on-site training sessions. 
  4. Complete online cell phone etiquette training
  5. Complete online email etiquette training.

DAYS & TIMES

  Mon - Fri Sat Sun
Client Services 8:30am - 12:30pm;
1:30pm - 5:30pm;
5:00 - 8:00pm
9am - 12pm;
3pm - 7pm
9am - 12pm;
3pm - 7pm
Investigative Unit Please contact Ms. Heisser to set up your weekly, 4-hour shift

Students serving in either program at OPD must sign up for and attend 10 volunteer shifts (one shift per week). All shifts are scheduled to be 4 hours long, but may end early. Therefore, students must be willing to serve more hours than most service learning courses require, possibly up to 40 hours.

TRANSPORTATION
2601 Tulane Avenue, Suite 700
Maps & directions

Biking • 30 min 
Public transit • 50 min 
Driving • 12 min

CONTACT
Allie Mitchell
Client Advocate, Client Services
amitchell@opdla.org
504.827.7047

Ginger Parsons
Social Work Supervisor, Client Services
gparsons@opdla.org
504.827.8182

Nicole Heisser
Investigator Supervisor
nheisser@opdla.org
504.827.8175