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303-764-1400 Applying for a Public Defender

Intermediate Training

One of the best parts of being a public defender is the ability to continually experience professional growth and to build upon core skills that are gained early in the practice.


All deputy state public defenders in trial offices start their practice in county court, handling misdemeanors and traffic cases. Over time, after honing their craft and building their knowledge base, deputy state public defenders transition to district court where they handle felony cases. As a part of that transitional process, lawyers are required and privileged to participate in Bootcamp, a tradition dating back to the very inception of the Colorado state system.

With input from their supervision team, lawyers are typically scheduled for Bootcamp between 1 and 2 years into their practice. In the Bootcamp process, lawyers are given a felony case to handle under the mentorship and guidance of a more experienced felony lawyer. Together, the lawyer and mentor prepare the case as if it were proceeding to trial. The lawyer then attends a four-day training, during which they present their case through various stages of trial.

The Bootcamp session is overseen by the state training directors, and one or two other felony lawyers experienced in complex litigation. Each stage of a Bootcamper’s case presentation is evaluated, and they are offered critique and feedback to further improve their skill set.

Introduction to District Court

When a lawyer has achieved a level of mastery in county court, they may be transitioned to district court where felony offenses are handled. Transitioning to district court requires a lawyer to learn about new processes, sentencing schemes and sentencing options, and tactics in complex litigation.

To help new-to-district court lawyers get started on the road to learning, the Training Unit provides “IDC.” IDC is a one and a half day training that covers topics which are likely to be foreign to new felony lawyers. Lawyers attend IDC at the recommendation of their supervision team.