Growing up in South Louisiana in a family of socially-minded attorneys, 2018 LSU Law graduate David Hogan says he always “harbored an appreciation and interest in fighting for justice and protecting those who do not have the means to do so themselves.”
As a law student, Hogan was a member of the Trial Advocacy Board and he took every available criminal course offered at LSU Law, including the Juvenile Defense Clinic, where he provided full representation to a juvenile in delinquency proceedings.
“I knew when I entered law school that I wanted to help people and soon realized I could be of the most service as a public defender,” says Hogan. “I completed externships with a criminal court judge in the 19th JDC and with the EBR Public Defender’s Office. I worked for the MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans during the summer of 2017 and learned about civil rights litigation. Finally, I returned to the EBR Public Defender’s Office in August 2017 and worked as a student investigator, responsible for client interviews, field investigation, and research.”
After graduating cum laude and passing the Louisiana Bar Exam, Hogan joined the East Baton Rouge Office of the Public Defender, where he routinely works on misdemeanor cases, low-level felonies, and some violent crimes as an Assistant Public Defender.
“Having to manage a caseload of roughly 150 active files has been a steep learning curve, but I thankfully have support from other attorneys in the office,” he says. “While I learned the basics of becoming an advocate in law school, I now apply that knowledge daily, continue to learn, and fight for members of our community that the criminal justice system marginalizes and tramples over if no one stands up for them.”
Hogan was one of five recent LSU Law graduates who work in public service positions in Louisiana that received $5,000 in May through the Loan Repayment Assistance Program established earlier this year with support from the Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation.
ReAzalia Allen (’15), Teddi Buller (’19), Alex Hertenstein (’16), and Fahreta Muminovic (’15) were the other recipients of the inaugural awards through the program, which aims to remove the barriers to public interest practice for those who have incurred significant debt to finance their legal education.
Allen is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Section 27, Division J, Civil Court at the 19th Judicial District Court, working under the supervision of Judge Trudy M. White. Buller is Judicial Law Clerk for the Hon. Charles G. Fitzgerald, District Judge of the Fifteenth Judicial District Court in Lafayette. Hertenstein works alongside Hogan as an Assistant Public Defender at the East Baton Rouge Office of the Public Defender, and Muminovic is Senior Staff Attorney at Catholic Charities Archdioceses of New Orleans—Immigration Legal Services.
“I am proud of our law school’s decision to assist those alumni who share this mindset and commitment to justice,” Hogan says of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, adding that his award will “take some stress off my financial obligations, which is greatly appreciated. I look forward to continuing to help people and my community as I progress throughout my career as a public defender.”
Hogan is continuing his legal education through a public defender’s office partnership with Gideon’s Promise, a non-profit organization that specializes in training public defenders across the country through an intensive two-week program known as Core 101. He completed his initial training last August and will participate in follow up training every six months until he graduates from the program in the spring of 2022.
“I am committed to a career in public interest and being a public defender. In the next five years I hope to graduate from Gideon’s Promise and take on more serious felonies in my position,” he says. “My decision to pursue this career has never been motivated by money. The fact that my law school is now seeking to help graduates who pursue careers in public interest is wonderful.”