For Students

The Caprock Regional Public Defender Office Criminal Defense Clinic is offered as a full-year graded course. Participants earn six credit hours per semester (2 for classroom component and 4 for case work) for a total of twelve credit hours. Participants are limited to third year law students and a maximum of 12 students are selected for this clinic.

The Caprock Regional Public Defender Office Criminal Defense Clinic provides a community service by representing defendants in criminal cases who would otherwise be unable to afford their own legal representation. Cases involve misdemeanor and juvenile offenses in a fourteen county region. A majority of the communication with clients will be by teleconference. Students are closely supervised at all stages of their cases by Donnell Yandell, Chief Public Defender, and Charles Pelowski, Assistant Public Defender.

By the end of the course, each student will have represented up to eight clients. Students are fully responsible for their cases, from intake through disposition. The classroom component of the clinic focuses on skills development, ethics, and case strategy related to criminal law. Students also have the opportunity to hone their writing skills by drafting motions.


  • 3L status
  • Not on scholastic probation (if student goes on academic probation during the clinic, he or she will be withdrawn from the course)
  • Evidence
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Professional Responsibility
  • (Recommended: Texas Criminal Procedure, Trial Advocacy, and/or moot court or mock trial experience.)


  • Students may not be concurrently enrolled in this class and another clinic or externship.
  • Students may not have outside employment if enrolled in this course.
  • Students may not sit for the February bar exam.

Also see: Student Selection Policies and Application Form (login required)

Student Selection Process

A Mandatory Information Session for students interested in participating in the Clinical Programs is held in February of each year. Information is provided by the Clinic Directors regarding each individual clinic, as well as the process for student selection. Students interested in applying to one or more clinics are instructed to complete the required documents and complete an application on or before the deadline announced during the information session. Documents to be attached include the clinic application (indicating which clinics you are applying to), resume with references, unofficial transcript, and a two-page narrative (for each individual clinic you are applying to) indicating why you are interested in a particular clinic. All clinics are by invitation only. Applications are reviewed by the Clinic Directors. Some Clinic Directors may conduct interviews (some may not depending on the demand), and offers are made to students by the Clinic Directors with a deadline for you to accept the offer. During open registration, the Registrarís office enrolls you for the clinic. You will not be able to enroll yourself. For more information on the Student Selection Process and to learn more about each clinic, please visit: