Transitions in Defender Work at the School of Government

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know of some changes in the work we do at the School of Government for defenders and others who work in the North Carolina court system. The short version is this: I will go half-time beginning July 1 this year; the School intends to hire a new faculty member to work in criminal law, with a focus on issues affecting defenders; and Phil Dixon will become the director of the Public Defense Education program at the School. Read on for more details.

On July 1, I enter “phased retirement” at UNC, which allows me to work half-time for the next three years. It’s not really retirement, yet, but I get to work less. I will continue to teach, write, and consult in areas in which I have gained some expertise, including self-defense, mental health issues in criminal cases (including capacity to proceed), right to counsel, and expunctions and collateral consequences. I look forward to continuing to work with you in these areas. The best way to reach me remains via my email,

With the reduction in my hours and the work I handle, the School is refilling my position with a new faculty member. You can see the position announcement here. As has been the case with the work I have done over the years, the position will focus on teaching, writing, and consulting on issues of importance for defenders. It will include work for newer defenders, such as training for misdemeanor defenders and new felony defenders. As is also the case now, the position will provide criminal law education for others who work in the court system, including judges and magistrates. It is anticipated that the position will develop the field of criminal evidence, among other criminal law topics. It is an exciting opportunity! I encourage anyone interested to apply!

I also have been serving as the Director of the School’s Public Defense Education program, which with the support of the Office of Indigent Defense Services includes an annual training curriculum for defenders, online defender manuals, and other resources. I am happy to announce that Phil Dixon, Jr., Teaching Assistant Professor and Defender Educator, will become Director on July 1. Congratulations, Phil, and thank you for taking on this role in addition to your substantive work in criminal law. Continue to look for great things from Phil and the rest of the Public Defense Education team: Timothy Heinle, Teaching Assistant Professor and Civil Defender Educator; and Monica Yelverton, Associate Director of Programs and Services. The new faculty member in criminal law will collaborate with the Public Defense Education team in providing education for defenders.

When I left practice in California to join the School of Government in 1991, little did I imagine that I would stay so long and find the work so meaningful. I am not surfing into the sunset just yet, but I want to pause to express my gratitude for your support for more than three decades. I look forward to this next phase and the opportunities it presents.

All my best,

John Rubin