Emily De Yoe (2011-12)
Assistant Public Defender, Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago, Illinois
I am currently an Assistant Public Defender in Chicago, Illinois. I represent indigent men and women accused of felonies. In this position I counsel and represent people who have traditionally been denied adequate access to justice. As a public defender I oftentimes litigate on behalf of my clients through motions and trials. I also work closely with prosecutors to try and negotiate just outcomes in criminal cases. PROLAW allowed me to better understand the challenges facing many low-income communities in the United States. Through case-studies of emerging democracies, conversations with classmates, and instruction from development practitioners, I am able to recognize and actively address many injustices in my own legal system. I now work to remedy some of these injustices through my job as a public defender. PROLAW also provided me with practical research and writing skills that emphasize clarity and purpose - both invaluable skills as a litigator. While my career may be unconventional in a traditional development or rule of law sense, PROLAW helped me become a more effective advocate for disadvantaged men and women. Injustices that regularly occur internationally in developing countries also occur in many communities within the developed world, and by working towards ensuring fundamental fairness for my clients I am able to employ the lessons of PROLAW.