Frances Lee Watson

Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of Law School Clinical Programs

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 111J
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225

Phone: (317) 274-5551
Fax: (317) 274-8901


B.S., 1976, Ball State University
J.D., 1980, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


Criminal defense clinic, law and forensic science, public defender internship, trial advocacy competition, lawyering practice


Frances Lee Watson originally came to the law school in the fall of 1990 to assist as a supervisor in the criminal defense clinic. She left the law school from 1993 to 1995 to serve as the first chief public defender of the Marion County Public Defender’s Agency. As the chief executive of the newly created county agency, she was responsible for the development of comprehensive office policy. She returned to the school in 1995 to resume her work as a clinical professor.

Professor Watson’s years in practice have involved work as a deputy state public defender at the trial and appellate levels and representation of the police department and elected officials as an assistant corporation counsel for Indianapolis/Marion County. She is a member of the Federal, Indiana, and Indianapolis Bar Associations and a master of the American Inns of Court.

She is a member of the Committee on the Civil Rights of Children for the Indiana State Bar Association. She also is a member and officer of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union and the Craine House, a correctional facility for women. Professor Watson serves on the Board of the IUPUI Forensic Science Initiative.