UCLA Law 3L Travis Bell ’17 has been selected as the UCLA Gideon Fellow for 2017 and will work at a public defender office in Alabama as part of the Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership Program. Bell is a student in UCLA School of Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.
Gideon’s Promise, named for the Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right of indigent defendants to adequate counsel, is a non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen public defender offices and representation of indigent defendants across the country. The Law School Partnership Program provides employment and training to recent law school graduates committed to public defense.
Bell will work in the Montgomery Office of the Public Defender in Montgomery, Alabama. He previously held internships at the Baltimore County Office of the Public Defender in Maryland; the Colorado Public Defender in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the Bronx Defenders in New York; and the Mecklenburg County Public Defender in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a Gideon’s Promise Summer Fellow. During his tenure at UCLA, Bell co-founded the Criminal Justice Law Review and served as special projects chair of the Criminal Justice Society. In that capacity, he conceived of, planned and executed a day-long student-training program on client-centered advocacy.
The David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy is one of the nation’s most innovative and successful law school public interest programs, training students to engage in sophisticated representation of traditionally underserved individuals, communities and interests.
The Law School Partnership Program is a joint effort of Gideon’s Promise, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, participating law schools and public defender offices across the nation. It is a three-year program that supports recent graduates who are committed to public defense with training and permanent employment in a public defender office in the deep South.
This year, 14 fellows from 10 U.S. law schools will provide representation to clients in Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina.