The Federal Defender Program offers non-funded positions for a ten-week period during the summer to law students. We conduct interviews through the Public Interest Legal Career Fair at New York University and the Public Sector Career Fair at Georgia State University. Students can also apply directly for the summer program via email to FDPGAN_Internship@fd.org. The application period for that is open from September 15, 2022 until January 15, 2023. To be considered, applications must include a resume, writing sample, and a cover letter.
There are three divisions within the Federal Defender Program: the Trial Unit, the Capital Habeas Unit, and Appeals Unit. The Trial Unit does traditional criminal defense of indigent people charged with federal crimes. Students participating in this program will be assigned to one or two attorneys and engage in considerable courtroom observation as well as legal research and writing. Trial Unit interns will be expected to attend weekly “Group Meeting” on Tuesdays, where attorneys brainstorm and discuss their cases. The Capital Habeas Unit represents indigent defendants sentenced to death in the state courts of Georgia. Students participating in this program will focus on investigation and legal research. The two attorneys in the Appeals Unit represent clients both on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court and in post-conviction motions filed in the district courts based upon new, retroactive changes in the law. Interns in this division will spend much of their time researching and writing but will also have opportunities to meet clients and attend the Group Meetings and court hearings in trial and appeals courts. All interns are expected to attend an in-house lecture series featuring presentations by various attorneys and investigators on topics relevant to federal and capital legal practice. Students should specify the unit – Trial, Capital Habeas, or Appeals – that they are applying to. Students cannot split time between units.
The summer program will run from Monday, June 5, 2023, through Friday, August 11, 2023, and we anticipate that it will be in-person. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, interns might not be able to visit clients in jails and prisons depending on the unit and the state of the pandemic at the time.
Any additional questions regarding the Federal Defender Program's internship program may be directed to Courtney O’Donnell at Courtney_ODonnell@fd.org.