“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Welcome

    This website has been a long time coming; we hope it was worth the wait. The website is designed to provide useful information to our clients, their families and friends, and to all Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorneys. We welcome your comments.


Who We Are

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the effective assistance of counsel to every person accused of committing a crime. Our office, the Federal Defender Program Inc., was created to provide that assistance to all persons in the Northern District of Illinois who need but cannot afford to hire counsel in a criminal case. Our office is an independent, non-profit community defender organization, governed by a Board of Directors. Created in 1965 pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. section 3006A, we were the first stand-alone federal defender office in the country and continue to serve as a model for other offices. We are passionate about justice and defend our clients using a team approach. Our staff consists of lawyers, investigators, legal assistants, litigation support paralegals, a computer specialist, administrative and clerical personnel, and a mitigation specialist. Our main office is in downtown Chicago and we have a branch office in Rockford, Illinois, which serves people in the Western Division of the District.

What We Do

First and foremost, we are committed to providing the highest quality representation to every client we are appointed to represent. We do that by bringing a client-centered approach to every case. That means we consider each client and each case to be unique. We bring the collective wisdom of our entire defense team to every case and believe our clients are an important part of that team.

As a community defender office, our office works together with and manages a Panel of over 100 private attorneys from the community who have applied to become and have been accepted as Criminal Justice Act Panel members by the Panel Attorney Selection Committee. Panel Attorneys are an integral part of the defense of clients in need of representation in this District. Panel Attorneys must meet the same high standards as our office Staff Attorneys.

Our office is committed to training law students, our staff and our Panel. For law students, we run a year-round intern-at-law program that provides students with an opportunity to see first-hand how a federal defender office works and, during the summer, to participate in training developed specifically for them. For our staff and Panel, we provide on-site training, live support, and informative emails throughout the year, as well as opportunities to attend national training events to ensure all counsel remain on the cutting edge of the law.

Where We Are

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Federal Defender Program – Chicago Office

55 E. Monroe St., Suite 2800
Chicago, IL 60603
FAX: 312-621-8399

Federal Defender Program – Rockford Branch Office

401 W. State St., Suite 800
Rockford IL 61101
FAX: 851-961-3300