UCLA School of Law alumnus Travis Bell ’17 has received the first Ambassador Award ever presented by Gideon’s Promise. The award goes to a person who supports the Gideon’s Promise mission to raise the standard of indigent defense by building a movement of public defenders.
Bell, who was a student in UCLA Law’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, won a prestigious Gideon Fellowship in 2017, after which he worked in Alabama at the Montgomery Office of the Public Defender.
There, in addition to his regular work as a public defender, Bell stood out by recruiting for Gideon’s Promise’s Law School Partnership Project, which led to a significant number of applications to his Montgomery office, and spearheading a summer law clerk program that brought in leading members of the legal community to workshop trial skills.
Gideon’s Promise is named for the Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right of indigent defendants to adequate counsel. It is a nonprofit organization that seeks to strengthen public defender offices and representation of indigent defendants across the country. The Law School Partnership Project provides employment and training to recent law school graduates committed to public defense. Several UCLA Law graduates have earned fellowships through the program.