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Real-world Internship Solidified former OIP Fellow’s Desire to work in Indigent Defense


Chris Collman was an Ohio Innocence Project fellow during the last academic year and co-president of the College of Law’s Public Interest Law Group. He also worked in the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office. Over the summer, he lent some help to John Kennedy, who was working on the Joshua Maxton case. A winner of the Clarence Elkins scholarship, Collman was one of five UC third-year law students selected to intern for the full year at the Indigent Defense Clinic through the Hamilton County PD office.

— By Chris Collman

Chris CollmanI was a fellow with OIP last year. I have been involved with the Hamilton County Public Defender’s office since January 2016.

First, I was with the Guardian ad Litem Division for a semester [providing services in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, investigating what solutions would be in the “best interests of a child” in cases where a complaint has been filed alleging a child to be abused, neglected, or dependent]. Then I was with the Felony Division for the summer and now work with the Indigent Defense Clinic, which allowed me to have my own municipal cases.

OIP was a wonderful experience that really cemented my desire to work in indigent defense. I also learned great investigative and client relation skills. Most important, it taught me the importance of conducting a thorough investigation early on because it only gets more difficult with time.

As for John’s (Maxton) murder trial, I helped review a bit of evidence, but that was it. It was a tremendous win for John, and having watched the case, I am confident that it was the correct decision.