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Alicia Miller Turned an Interest in Social Justice into a Career as a Public Defender

Having grown up near Cincinnati in West Chester, Ohio, Alicia Miller ’14 is a home grown Bearcat in this year’s graduating class.  A graduate of Lakota West High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University.  After her undergraduate years, she spent some time handling broken automobile glass insurance claims with Safelite Solutions.  It was during this time that she prepared for the LSAT and law school applications.

“I decided to come to UC Law to work with the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice,” said Miller, adding that UC’s great value and proximity to friends and family were also factors contributing to her decision.  Upon arriving, she found she made the right choice, noting the outstanding dedication of the faculty and staff at the college and the support, guidance, and mentoring she has benefitted from.

Miller has been tremendously involved in her three years of law school. She externed with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center where she researched the “school-to-prison pipeline” and worked with Cincinnati residents, helping them expunge and seal criminal records.  She conducted research on the issue of food deserts in Cincinnati in another externship with the Center for Closing the Health Gap.  Then, she has the opportunity to  represent indigent clients while she externed with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.  Finally, Miller has been involved with numerous student organizations, including Advocates for Children, the Black Law Student Association, the Freedom Center Journal, and the Law Democrats.

Upon graduation, Miller will be working with the Marion County Public Defender Agency in Indianapolis – first as a post-graduate intern. She will transition to working on misdemeanor cases when she receives her positive bar results.  “I hope to expand into juvenile criminal defense, as well as adult felonies,” she shared. “After getting experience in those areas I hope to direct a public defender’s office someday and positively shape the way that indigent criminal defense is administered in my jurisdiction.”

In reflection on her law school experience and chosen career path, she shared the following:  “My advice to those who may be interested in criminal defense is to trust that things will work out and not to let financial constraints keep you from pursuing your dreams. Find mentors within the criminal defense realm who will ensure that you get every opportunity to become a better advocate for clients.”  Miller has found that UC Law has provided her with these mentors, and has propelled her towards her dreams.  “I feel incredibly blessed to have found what I hope to spend the rest of my career doing.”