Skip to main content

The future indigent defense leaders program

Supporting New Generations of Texan Defenders

The Texas Future Indigent Defense Leaders program (FIDL) connects promising young lawyers with nationally renowned training and mentorship that will help guide them through their crucial early years and beyond. FIDL is an innovative partnership between the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), Gideon’s Promise, the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, and the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC). 

Previously, young Texas lawyers in the FIDL program traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Gideon’s Promise CORE 101 intensive training. Now, with the help of TCDLA, that training is coming home to Texas, taking the young lawyer bootcamp created by MacArthur Genius Award Winner Jon Rapping and tailoring it for Texas law and practice.

This year, 30 young lawyers will have the opportunity to be a part of history, as the inaugural Texas FIDL class. This three-year program begins with a two-week intensive bootcamp in San Antonio and returns for weekend trainings every six months for three years.

In addition to the CORE 101 training, FIDL fellows will also receive a scholarship to the Annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law, the seminal criminal defense conference presented by TCDLA. The 30 Fellows selected will be expected to participate for the full three years of the program and will receive a scholarship covering their room, board and travel. 

Applications will be open from November 15 – December 20th.  Young lawyers with less than four years’ experience are invited to apply. Sign up to be notified of when applications open. 

For questions, please contact William Cox or Melissa Schank at

Applications open until November 30, 2022

We invite all attorneys with less than four years to apply. Applications for the 2023 class have been extended until November 30, 2022. Questions? E-mail

For current participants

FIDL Resources

The FIDL program pairs innovative mentoring with the world-class training provided by Gideon's Promise. Download the resources used in the program below. If you're interested in applying, please review these materials before your interview. 

FIDL Mentor Meeting Log 

Use this resource to keep track of meetings with your mentor. (This is an Excel file). 

FIDL Checklist 

Use this resource to see what tasks you must complete with your mentor. 

FIDL Performance Guidelines

Use this resource to learn best practices for indigent defense. 

FIDL Manual

Use this manual to read the rules and regulations related to the program. 


Cookie Notice

Find out more about how this website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience.

Back to top