Nathan Fennell

  • Hosted by Texas Fair Defense Project
  • Sponsored by Shearman & Sterling LLP, Thomson Reuters
  • Service location Austin, Texas
  • Law school Stanford Law School
  • Issue area Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Nathan will design, advocate for, and implement robust public defense services in Texas to serve the legal needs of indigent arrestees, starting in Austin/Travis County and applying lessons from that process across the state.

The quality of counsel low-income defendants in Texas receive varies widely based on where they are arrested and what kind of indigent defense system the county has established. While everyone is entitled to counsel for most offenses, the systems and lawyers providing representation have limited oversight – meaning that defendants with deficient attorneys often have no recourse. When people don’t receive adequate representation they are more likely to be incarcerated, convicted, and sentenced more harshly than people with a zealous defense.

Before law school, Nate worked to provide legal and holistic support services to indigent defendants and their families at the Orleans Public Defenders, where he realized the importance of adequately-resourced defense counsel to vindicate the rights of defendants. He believes that vigorously defending individual rights in criminal cases is critical to advancing not just fundamental fairness but also broader issues of economic, racial, and gender justice.

Fellowship Plans

Before law school, Nate worked to provide legal and holistic support services to indigent defendants and their families at the Orleans Public Defenders, where he realized the importance of adequately-resourced defense counsel to vindicate the rights of defendants. He believes that vigorously defending individual rights in criminal cases is critical to advancing not just fundamental fairness but also broader issues of economic, racial, and gender justice.

When someone has a zealous advocate, it doesn’t just change that one person’s life—it can be transformative for their family and the community as a whole.

Nathan Fennell /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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