The Office’s nationally recognized program is designed to give students not just an understanding of the criminal justice system, but hands-on experience with representing clients. Interns are assigned to work with a staff attorney, writing motions, meeting clients, attending case conferences, reviewing investigation results, and attending consultations with experts. Students certified to practice law may also be given the opportunity to argue motions on behalf of clients in court.

We are looking for students who are committed to indigent criminal defense. Students with a general interest in criminal law or who view being a prosecutor as a possible career choice should not apply. We are looking for students with a passion for working for the underprivileged, the marginalized, and the forgotten in society. We want students with strong written and oral communication skills – who are willing to think like advocates and fight for our clients.

Important dates to be aware of:

Session Application Begin Application Deadline Registration Deadline Start Date Session Ends Orientation
2021 Session 1 Now 1/4/2021 or Until filled 1/4/2021 or Until filled 01/11/2021 05/07/2021 01/11/2021
2021 Session 2 Now Until filled Until filled 06/01/2021 08/07/2021 06/01/2021
2021 Session 3 Now Until filled Until filled 09/07/2021 12/10/2021 09/07/2021

General Information

Internships are offered throughout the year and are broken up into 4 sessions. We have opportunities for applicants interested in working with our adult clients at our downtown office. There are also limited number of positions available in our Juvenile office as well as in our Investigations Unit. All internships are unpaid. The cost of travel, living expenses, insurance and accommodations are the responsibility of the intern. The Office cannot accept responsibility for costs arising from accidents or illness incurred during the internship.

Interns may receive academic credit if an agreement is made between the Public Defender’s Office and the intern’s college or university. Work-study is offered only if the Office portion is covered by the school.

Upon acceptance, interns will attend an Orientation prior to their start date. Most interns bring their own laptop computer, but we also have a computer lab for interns to use.

Investigations Unit Intern

Do you like to be the first person to know the rest of the story? All kinds of people have something interesting to say and if you would like to talk to them the Investigation Unit may be your dream intern assignment.

Public Defender Investigators do a variety of things including: reviewing police reports,
witness statements and pictures taken by the police, interviewing witnesses, taking photographs, measuring distances, serving subpoenas and reviewing and retrieving documents.

If you’re smart, curious, a good listener and a quick learner please apply to be a Public Defender Investigator intern.

Minimum time commitment: two days a week, sixteen hours a week, three months, one semester or one quarter.

An in-person interview may be required.

Deadlines & Requirements

Applicants must be a law school student or a recent law school graduate. Applications must be submitted by the deadline date (See Chart). Students must be willing to work the minimum number of hours and duration specified by their internship season.  (See Chart).  No split summers will be accommodated starting Summer 2012. Students may not participate in the internship program for shorter periods of time. Students must be able to start by the Start date (See Chart). Students must attend an IT orientation on or before their start date (See Chart). Students are not permitted to start prior to attending an orientation.

Students must submit information for a background check for jail clearance. Jail clearance is required to conduct in-custody jail interviews. Negative results of a background check will not necessarily deter employment.

Although interns are not considered staff members of the Public Defenders office. Interns must comply with all rules and policies applied to staff.  Interns must keep confidential any information obtained at during the course of the internship program. This obligation continues beyond the period of the internship.

At the end of the internship, the intern is expected to complete an evaluation questionnaire on his or her assignment and submit it to the Recruitment Director.

San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is an equal employment opportunity employer. Discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, sexual orientation or national origin is prohibited.

Intern Application

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