Christopher Chino ’21L » Washington and Lee University


Christopher Chino ’21L is from Norfolk, Virginia, but has lived across the United States. After graduating from W&L Law, Chris began working for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office and currently represents impoverished clients in low-to-high felony cases. He has managed cases ranging from his 150 to his 250 and has been tried by jury about 14 times in the past year. When he’s not working he enjoys spending time in the mountains. Chris will continue to work in the field of defense, and recently, Public Defender’s Camden office accepted a job offer at his office’s New Jersey office.

Did you want to go to law school and work as a public defender?

necessarily. As a journalist, I wanted my work to have a positive impact on the community, and I went to law school for the same purpose. As a law student, I was able to explore different areas of the legal field and found that a career in public defense best suited my interests and background.

What did you learn in your current role last year?

The most important thing I’ve learned is that the ability to converse with people outside the legal field in a natural way is invaluable within the field. are looking at the system in an emotional way. Effectively infusing that raw emotion into your expressions and truly listening to what people have to say can lead to great results and connections.

How did you find your current job?

I was pointed in the direction of the Colorado public defender’s office by Kiyomi Bolick ’10L, a W&L law graduate. She took the time to put me in touch with other public defenders and walk me through the interview process.

What legal issues do you deal with on a daily basis?

We handle a variety of legal issues. We handle many different types of lawsuits, from assault to securities fraud. It’s hard to describe a typical day, as my daily schedule changes with upcoming trials and motion hearings, but part of it is usually spent in prison meetings with clients. will be

What do you like about your current job?

From my law school experience, I quickly learned that I would enjoy this job because I really enjoy meeting and spending time with clients. Alternatively, while law school requires a holistic view of the legal field as a whole, my work over the past year has allowed me to see impact on a broader level as well. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in an attempt to level the system that negatively impacts those who lack the necessary funds for active representation.

I enjoy going to court. Fighting for clients in court is a great experience. If the judge reads a not guilty verdict from the jury as a result of that fight, that’s even better.

Which W&L class or experience do you think most helped prepare you for this job?

I believe that the internship program was a particularly beneficial experience for the type of work I was preparing for. External training allowed me to work for the Philadelphia Bar Association in a position very similar to that of a licensed attorney. When I started filing lawsuits and managing cases as a public defender, that real-world experience gave me confidence in my abilities. In addition, the Criminal Procedure course taught by Professor King and Professor MacDonnell was very helpful and provided a great resource.

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