Legal Externship Program Alum. Finds Calling at Arizona Public Defenders


Jared Keenan ('08)
Jared Keenan ('08)

Jared Keenan (’08) took a risk after graduation, moving to a new and rural town far from his east coast home to pursue a public interest career. The risk paid off. Jared works for the Mohave County Public Defender’s Office in Kingman, Arizona, and cannot imagine doing anything else.

As a Public Defender, Jared’s days are packed with court appearances, client interviews, and writing.  He carries about 75-80 cases and works exclusively out of the Justice Courts, which have jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses.  The bulk of Jared’s work includes simple drug possession charges, assaults, domestic violence, criminal damage and DUIs.  Since receiving his bar number in June, Jared has conducted several bench trials, and he is scheduled for his first DUI jury trial in December. 

 “Working in a rural county in Arizona is both interesting and frustrating at times,” said Jared. “I enjoy contact with my clients and the variety of work that I do.  Overall, I can’t imagine a better job than being a public defender, knowing I get to fight for indigent defendants’ rights every day!”

As a student, Jared participated in the Legal Externship Program, where he interned for Judge Patti Saris at the Massachusetts Federal District Court.  He also spent one summer working for the Civil Litigation Program.  He became interested in criminal litigation his 2L year spring break while volunteering on a BU Law-sponsored pro bono trip to New Orleans to provide legal assistance to displaced residents of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  On the trip, Jared heard a public defender from Atlanta speak and was intrigued by the work.  He then met a student in BU Law’s Criminal Clinic, who encouraged him to seek jobs in public defense after graduation.

“I enjoy almost total freedom concerning how I wish to handle my caseload,” said Jared. “The work is just so interesting that I actually cannot believe I ever considered doing anything other than criminal defense.   I am so glad I made the move to Arizona to explore this line of work. ”