Thursday, January 27, 2022

Frankie Hedgepeth ’22 Awarded E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship

Frankie Hedgepeth

Frankie Hedgepeth ’22 will spend two years gaining academic and practical experience in courtroom advocacy.

Frankie Hedgepeth ’22 has been named one of three recipients of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program awarded by Georgetown University Law Center. The program provides two years of academic and practical experience in courtroom advocacy.

“When I received the offer, I was both excited and incredibly grateful to learn that not only would I have the chance to do exactly what I’d dreamed of doing for work right away, but I’d get to do it in an environment where mentorship and rigorous training would help me to develop as an advocate,” Hedgepeth said.

With dreams in high school of being an English teacher, Hedgepeth later decided he wanted to become a public defender and entered law school.

“I’ve always regarded teaching — whether in a formal classroom or in a less traditional way — as the most meaningful use of knowledge,” said Hedgepeth. “I believe the best use of any skill or expertise is to share it with other people so they can improve their own lives and create some positive change for the world they exist in.”

Although he didn’t know what the day-to-day work of a public defender looked like prior to law school, his experience for the past three years as an intern with the Peter Gruber Challenging Mass Incarceration Clinic (CMIC) at Yale Law School provided clarity to his career aspirations.

“I’m particularly grateful to Professor Miriam Gohara who in addition to being my clinical supervisor, advised me about careers in indigent defense and counseled me about navigating life as a lawyer,” he said. “If I could have designed my ideal first legal job from scratch, it would have been some blend of indigent defense and clinical teaching.”

Gohara, a Clinical Associate Professor of Law, said, “I was thrilled when Frankie decided to pursue and was awarded the Prettyman Fellowship. It was a pleasure watching his client-centered advocacy burgeon over all three years of law school, and Frankie’s interest in teaching and commitment to being a public defender made him an ideal candidate for the Prettyman.”

Prior to working as an intern in CMIC, Hedgepeth also worked as a legal intern for The Bronx Defenders and the San Francisco Public Defender’s office.

The two-year Prettyman Fellowship begins with six weeks of comprehensive study of criminal law, procedure, evidence and trial practice. Under the close supervision of a network of professors with experience in criminal trials, the fellows will litigate misdemeanor and felony cases. In year two, the fellows will focus primarily on supervising students and sharing in classroom instruction in the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Criminal Justice Clinic, and the Juvenile Justice Clinic. At the conclusion of the program, fellows will receive a master’s degree in Advocacy.

Georgetown University Law Center established the E. Barrett Prettyman Program in 1960 with the goal of providing high-quality representation to adults and adolescents accused of crimes and providing law school graduates with training in criminal trial advocacy and clinical teaching.

“I know that when I finish this fellowship, I’ll be more prepared and better trained to do the work I’ve wanted to do for years,” Hedgepeth said. “That knowledge provides a great deal of comfort for me when I think about what the immediate future will look like.”