Rhode Island Public Defender

Our mission is to provide high quality representation to our clients, fulfilling the governmental obligation of effective assistance of counsel, fundamental fairness and due process. Our goal is to provide client-centered advice, holistic representation and zealous advocacy. Our commitment is to treat our clients with dignity, compassion and fairness.
Mary S. McElroy, Public Defender

Public Defender Divisions


Criminal Trial

Juvenile Trial

Parental Rights Trial

Appellate Division

Community Partnership


Social Services



Training and Legislation

Rhode Island Public Defender
160 Pine Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-3492


Public Defender Training and Legislation

Michael A. DiLauro, Director

The Director of Training and Legislation serves many roles in the Office of the Public Defender. As Director of Legislation, he is the principal architect of Public Defender legislative initiatives and the "point" person shepherding agency initiatives through the General Assembly and coordinating the many appearances that Public Defender staff make before legislative committees. Along with the Public Defender, he is a frequent spokesperson for the Office in carrying out what the Public Defender believes is a responsibility to the general population of the State of Rhode Island to try to improve the criminal justice process through legislative means.

As Director of Training, he supervises all staff training and works closely with supervisory staff to ensure that training is available for all job categories.

Continuing education is a priority of the Public Defender Office, as the obligation to deliver high-quality and effective representation to clients carries with it the responsibility to improve and maintain skills and to be aware of the evolving changes in substantive law that govern representation. In addition, the Office believes that all employees should be aware, at least in a basic and general way, of the job functions that employees in other job categories have.

The obligation to carry through with continuing education has implications on several fronts. Staff will be obligated to attend certain on-site continuing education and to make every effort to do so if there are conflicting obligations; the Office will bear the financial burden of certain staff education, both on-site and off-site; the Office will permit staff to attend certain continuing legal education sessions on work time, both on-site and off-site, even if the Office does not bear the expense.

The Public Defender not only maintains an active in-house training program, but also collaborates with the Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in their efforts to bring the best available training opportunities to Rhode Island. Information about these training sessions is available here.

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