Legal Advocate

The Legal Advocate

The Pima County Legal Advocate’s Office represents individuals who cannot afford an attorney and are charged with crimes allegedly occurring in Pima County. The only way to obtain an attorney from the Legal Advocate’s Office is by court appointment. The court may also appoint the Pima County Public Defender's Office, the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office, or the Office of Court Appointed Counsel to represent indigent individuals charged with crimes.

About the Legal Advocate

The Legal Advocate's Office was established in 2017 to defend indigent criminal defendants who cannot be represented by the Pima County Public Defender’s Office or the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office due to conflict or case overload.

Mission

Our mission is to provide first-rate legal representation to all of our clients. We strive to ensure that the poor receive the same access to justice as the rich, the disenfranchised receive the same Constitutional protections as the connected, and the powerless receive the same Due Process as those in power.


Our Office

The attorneys and staff in the Legal Advocate’s Office are highly skilled and well trained to protect the Constitutional Rights of their clients.  

 

Kevin Burke

Kevin M. Burke

Legal Advocate

Burke earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1988; an M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles in 1993; and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2000. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2000 and the State Bar of Arizona in 2004. After law school, Burke was an Associate Attorney for the private firm O’Melveny & Myers, LLP in Los Angeles from 2000 to 2003, where he specialized in civil litigation. He then went on to become a Criminal Defense Attorney for the Orange County Alternate Defender’s Office from 2003 to 2005. He moved to Arizona in 2005 and became a Defense Attorney in the Law Offices of the Pima County Public Defender. There he worked as a Defense Attorney as well as a Trial Team Leader, Chief Assistant Public Defender, and Interim Public Defender. He left the Public Defender’s Office in 2017 to become the first Pima County Legal Advocate. Burke has also been a Professor of Practice of Criminal Law and the Criminal Law Clinic at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. In 2004 the Orange County Deputy Public Defenders Association awarded Burke the Don Sims Attorney of the Year Award, and in 2014 the Arizona Public Defender Association awarded him the Outstanding Attorney Award.

 

Walt Palser

Walt Palser

Attorney

Palser graduated Cum Laude from the University of Arizona in 1995, and earned his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1998. He gained admission to the State Bar of Arizona in 1998 and clerked for the Honorable Clark Munger, Pima County Superior Court Judge, from 1999 to 2000. In 2000, Palser started working as a Defense Attorney in the Law Offices of the Pima County Public Defender, where he worked as a Defense Attorney as well as a Trial Team Leader. He left in 2017 to become a Defense Attorney at the newly created Pima County Legal Advocate’s Office. In 2011, the Arizona Public Defender Association awarded Palser the Outstanding Performance Award. 

 

Cynthia Yializis

Attorney

Yializis graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006, and earned a B.S. from the University of Arizona in 2001. She was admitted to the State Bar of Pennsylvania in 2006 and the State Bar of Arizona in 2014. Before joining the Legal Advocate’s Office at its creation in 2017, Yializis was a Defense Attorney at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office from 2014 to 2017. She also has been an Associate Attorney at Fox Rothschild (2006-2009), ran her own solo law practice (2010-2012), was an Immigration Specialist at the University of Pittsburgh (2011-2012), and was the Assistant Director of the Center of International and Comparative Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (2012-2013). In addition, she has performed pro-bono appellate work with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (2007-2014) and was a writer and editor for NOLO (2010-2013). 

 

Kate Verenna

Kate Verenna

Attorney

Verenna graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona in 1999, and earned her law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2002. She was admitted to the State Bar of Colorado in 2002 and the State Bar of Arizona in 2003. She was a Deputy Public Defender for the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office from 2003 to 2006, and a Criminal Defense Attorney with the Frankfurt Law Office, P.C. from 2007 to 2015. She was an attorney with the Pima County Public Defender’s Office from 2016 until 2017, when she joined the Legal Advocate’s Office. In 2015, the National Trial Lawyers Association designated Verenna a top 100 Trial Attorney.



John Repovsch

John Repovsch

Attorney

Repovsch graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Law in 2015, and earned his B.A. from Northwood University in 2008. He was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 2016. He clerked for the Honorable Scott Rash, Pima County Superior Court, from 2015 to 2016. As a law student, Repovsch received practical criminal defense experience as a Student Attorney with the Pulaski County Public Defender in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a Defense Attorney at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office from 2016 until he left to join the newly created Legal Advocate’s Office in 2017. 



Kevin Gillooly

Criminal Investigator

Gillooly spent over 30 years working for the City of Tucson Police Department in a variety of capacities, where he acquired extensive knowledge and expertise related to conducting many types of investigations. Immediately prior to joining the staff of Pima County Legal Advocate’s Office in 2017, he was an investigator at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office since 2013. There he assisted and worked closely with many representing attorneys, so that clients received fair treatment and positive outcomes with their individual cases. Gillooly graduated from Palo Verde High School, and he holds an associate degree from Pima Community College. In Gillooly’s spare time, he is an enthusiast of bird watching and antique car restoration.

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Legal Advocate

 

33 North Stone Avenue, Suite 1850
Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone: (520) 724-9872
Fax: (520) 770-4166

Monday - Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

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