Criminal Defense Internship for Law Students

The Federal Community Defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Trial Unit) is pleased to accept applications for our 2023 Summer Criminal Defense Internship for law students who are interested in public service and criminal law. Our goal is to develop diversity in the field and to provide first-hand experience in public defense.

The Federal Community Defender represents clients charged with federal crimes, including, but not limited to, immigration violations, drug and weapon offenses, violent offenses, and computer and white-collar crimes.  The mission of the Office is to provide high-quality criminal representation to indigent defendants at all stages of the federal criminal justice process.

Students are expected to devote 40 hours per week for a ten-week program beginning June 5, 2023.  Successful candidates will be current law students who have completed Criminal Procedure and Evidence coursework.  First-year law students may apply, but preference will be given to second-year law students.  Work study and/or course credit through an accredited law school are welcome.  Students are required to abide by The Federal Community Defender confidentiality policy and to act at all times in the best interest of the Federal Community Defender Office clients.

This is an unpaid internship; however, we will work with schools and other resources to meet the criteria for credit or other support, if available.

This program will introduce students to the federal criminal justice system and how we represent

our clients. A brief overview:

  • Students will review discovery, research and draft memoranda and motions, and help develop trial and sentencing strategy.
  • Students will have an opportunity to attend court proceedings (though attendance is not required), shadow experienced attorneys, work on assigned cases and assist fact and mitigation investigators.
  • Upon certification, and subject to court needs, the Legal Intern represents indigent federal probationers who are participants in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Supervision to Aid Reentry (“STAR”) Program (a.k.a. “Reentry Court”). 
  • In addition, as part of ongoing training and development – and under the supervision of the responsible Assistant Federal Defender – the Legal Intern may assist attorneys with case preparation, investigation, trial strategy and any other assigned tasks.
  • Substantive educational sessions covering all stages and facets of a federal criminal case will be presented by the Federal Community Defender Office.

Qualified students are encouraged to apply electronically by submitting a cover letter, resume, writing sample and one professional letter of recommendation in .pdf format no later than January 13, 2023, to Jennifer Nimmons Herman, Attorney Advisor, at  Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.  

The Federal Community Defender  is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital/parental status, gender identity, gender expression or any other status or classification protected by federal law. We encourage students of all backgrounds to apply.