student internships

The San Diego County Office of the Public Defender provides law students and other students an unparalleled learning experience through a variety of nationally recognized internship opportunities.  Interns and Post Bars assist skilled attorneys in all aspects of case preparation and courtroom advocacy in a supportive environment with a true mentor system.  We pair novices with knowledgeable practitioners to give interns and Post Bars real world experience while ensuring our clients receive the best representation possible.

Legal Internships are for students currently enrolled in law school.  By the end of the internship, you will have interacted with scores of clients, participated in a variety of court hearings, and researched and written legal arguments for the benefit of actual clients. TO VIEW CURRENT INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, CLICK HERE.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office offers a paid 2L Honors Program each summer as well as volunteer law clerk internship programs throughout the year to students who have completed at least one full year of law school. The internship positions provide invaluable experience to individuals interested in a career in the field of criminal law. Interns have the opportunity to work closely with prosecutors in a wide variety of areas of prosecution and to attend tours of several County facilities. Interns also may attend the weekly noon time Brown Bag series where different legal topics are presented, followed by an open discussion/questions and answers period. Interns may also attend the in-house trainings.


The District Attorney’s Office has internships for 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, 4Ls (part-time) and the takers of the February and July Bar Exams. The sessions are in the fall, spring, February Post Bar period, summer, and July Post Bar. TO VIEW INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES CLICK HERE.

The Office has a variety of general internships available for law students and undergraduate students assisting lawyers, investigators or paralegals as a volunteer or for school credit. Each provides valuable experience for individuals interested in pursuing employment in the criminal justice system. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office offers law students the opportunity to gain the traditional experience in research and writing, as well as practical “hands on” experience of assisting Public Defenders in court. In general, law clerks perform legal research and writing, conduct client intake interviews, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial or disposition. All law clerk work is done under the supervision of a senior Public Defender attorney. Law students who are exploring a career in criminal defense work will find their experiences with the Alameda County Public Defender an invaluable step in their career development.

All law students seeking a position must have completed courses in Criminal Procedure and Evidence and must be eligible for certification under the Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students by the State Bar of California. Applications are accepted continuously, however the bulk are received during On Campus Interviews in the fall. CLICK HERE TO SEE INTERNSHIP INFORMATION.

The majority of our attorney hiring is accomplished through our renowned Summer Law Clerk Program, a rigorous ten-week paid program for second-year law students. The program extends from May through to August. Each year, we conduct on-campus interviews with hundreds of second-year law students from the eight major law schools in Northern California: Hastings, Golden Gate, Davis, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Berkeley, McGeorge, and Stanford. Students from these schools should contact their career services office for details on the on-campus interviews process at each school. Qualified and interested students from other law schools not covered by our interview series should submit a cover letter, resume, and transcript directly to our Director of Recruitment and Development no later than July 1, 2019, for the 2020 Summer Law Clerk Program.

Of the initial pool of interviewed applicants, approximately forty students advance to a second round interview, with clerk positions ultimately offered to eight to twelve clerks. Our Summer Law Clerks are certified under the State Bar of California rules concerning the Practical Training of Law Students. Under attorney supervision, our clerks conduct many different types of evidentiary hearings, including misdemeanor jury trials. The clerks also receive training and mentoring from our most experienced trial attorneys. Based on their performance, each student in the Summer Law Clerk Program is considered for future employment as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

CCPD’s interns, externs and graduate law clerks receive a comprehensive orientation at the beginning of their clerkship, which covers the substantive areas of law most frequently encountered in a public defender office. Each law clerk is paired with an attorney mentor who assures the clerk’s individual goals are met and provides guidance and advice to further the clerk’s professional development.


Summer Internships: Every summer, our office welcomes a class of 20 to 25 full-time volunteer interns. Summer interns are imbedded into one of our 3 offices for a ten-week program that provides an in-depth experience of the day-to-day life of a public defender. Summer internship classes are hired by early spring semester. To apply, send your resume and cover letter by January 31 to Jonathan.Laba@pd.cccounty.us.


Externships: Each semester, our office hosts law students from around the country for course credit. In addition to our general criminal justice externships, we offer specialized programs in racial justice, reentry and juvenile practice. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to Jonathan.Laba@pd.cccounty.us. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

2L Summer Clerkship: Our 2L summer clerkship program provides one of the most hands-on experiences in the state. Over the course of our 10 week paid program, each clerk will have an opportunity to argue motions in court, conduct felony preliminary hearings, and prosecute their own misdemeanor jury trial. Each Law Clerk must be certified by the State Bar to make supervised court appearances. Our office interviews for these positions in August of each year during the On-Campus Interview Process at most California law schools. Almost all of our prior summer 2L law clerks decide to stay on for a post-bar clerkship and entry level DDA position after graduation. If you are interested in applying for this position, please contact DDA Ryan Wagner by email.

Spring Clerkships: Occasionally, our office is able to hire second or third year law students for Spring Law Clerk positions. Spring clerks work in our Law and Motion Unit and respond to motions for the Felony Trial Team. Generally these are motions to set aside an information pursuant to California Penal Code section 995, or motions to suppress evidence pursuant to California Penal Code section 1538.5. Law Clerks will be assigned individual motions and write a written response under the guidance of the unit supervisor. They will also argue the motion in court, including calling and questioning of witnesses as necessary. If you are interested in applying for this position, please contact DDA Ryan Wagner by email. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Accepting resumes, cover letters, and writing samples from law students (1L, 2L, 3L, and 4L) for volunteer internship openings. Send those documents to applications@sjcda.org. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The Sonoma County District Attorney also offers opportunities to work as a Law Clerk. We have both paid and unpaid internships available. Prior to beginning work as a Law Clerk, all applicants must have completed their first year of law school and a course in criminal law. It is preferred that applicants will have completed, or be enrolled in, criminal procedure and evidence. Please send a letter of interest and a current resume. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The Napa County District Attorney’s Office accepts year-round applications for 2L Summer Law Clerkships, and Spring and Fall Post-Bar Clerkships. Our office tailors each program to clerks’ exam schedules, but the typical program length is 10 weeks, and clerks work 40 hours per week. Under attorney supervision, clerks may conduct evidentiary hearings in both misdemeanor and felony cases, respond to motions, assist with research and writing assignments, and handle (either on their own or with an attorney) misdemeanor trials. Clerks also have the opportunity to attend various trainings and other specialty assignments such as parole hearings.

Clerks will be evaluated for future employment with our office. If interested, please submit a résumé and cover letter to Deputy District Attorney Katy Yount at katy.yount@countyofnapa.org.

The Napa Valley Register published an insightful article about the Law Clerk Program in 2018: Napa County DA Launches mentorship program for aspiring prosecutors, June 12, 2018 (PDF).

student post-bar opportunities

The San Diego County Office of the Public Defender provides law students and other students an unparalleled learning experience through a variety of nationally recognized internship opportunities. Interns and Post Bars assist skilled attorneys in all aspects of case preparation and courtroom advocacy in a supportive environment with a true mentor system. We pair novices with knowledgeable practitioners to give interns and Post Bars real world experience while ensuring our clients receive the best representation possible.


For graduating law school students who are taking the California Bar Exam, we offer an intense, full time Post Bar Clerkship. The number of Post Bar positions is limited. The select few who are offered this distinctive opportunity assist attorneys in every aspect of case preparation and advocate on behalf of misdemeanor clients at all stages of the court proceedings. Post Bars also participate in our “Trial Skills Academy”, a comprehensive courtroom advocacy program taught by experienced trial attorneys. TO VIEW CURRENT POST-BAR OPPORTUNITIES, CLICK HERE.

Students who are in their second, third or fourth (part-time/evening) year of law school or who are awaiting State Bar (Post Bar) results are eligible for State Bar certification. In order for a Post Bar to be eligible for certification, the Post Bar student must sit for the State Bar Exam the first time the student is eligible to take it. Depending on the assignment, these students will have the opportunity to observe court hearings, conduct routine felony preliminary hearings, present evidence at suppression motions and handle matters that appear on both the felony and misdemeanor motions calendar. There are some assignments within the office which by their nature have limited opportunities for a certified law student to appear in court, such as the Homicide, Gang, and the Sexual Assault Units. Students assigned to these units will gain valuable experience in the behind the scene preparation of high profile cases. This internship is unpaid.


The District Attorney’s Office has internships for 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, 4Ls (part-time) and the takers of the February and July Bar Exams. The sessions are in the fall, spring, February Post Bar period, summer, and July Post Bar. CLICK HERE TO VIEW OPEN POST-BAR POSITIONS.

Post-Bar Legal Assistants perform legal research and writing, conduct client intake interviews, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial or disposition. All legal assistants are compensated and must be certified under the Rules Governing the Practical Training of Law Students by the State Bar of California or admitted to the State Bar. Applications for post-bar legal assistants are accepted during On Campus Interviews and from July to December. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Our post-bar Law Clerk positions are only available to candidates who have participated in our Summer Law Clerk program.
Volunteer opportunities during the academic year for 2L and 3L law students are filled on an as-needed basis. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

CCPD’s interns, externs and graduate law clerks receive a comprehensive orientation at the beginning of their clerkship, which covers the substantive areas of law most frequently encountered in a public defender office. Each law clerk is paired with an attorney mentor who assures the clerk’s individual goals are met and provides guidance and advice to further the clerk’s professional development.


Graduate Law Clerkships: Our office offers several compensated post-bar clerkship positions for law school graduates. The one-year clerkship term begins in August. Hiring begins in the fall of the preceding year. Applications are due by the 3rd Monday in October. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to Robin.Lipetzky@pd.cccounty.us. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Every fall, our office opens up recruitment for DDA-FT positions. This is an entry level position. Applicants can apply who are awaiting results for the California Bar Examination.

All interested applicants are encouraged to subscribe for the position on the county’s HR website to ensure notification of future recruitments. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The Napa County District Attorney’s Office accepts year-round applications for 2L Summer Law Clerkships, and Spring and Fall Post-Bar Clerkships. Our office tailors each program to clerks’ exam schedules, but the typical program length is 10 weeks, and clerks work 40 hours per week. Under attorney supervision, clerks may conduct evidentiary hearings in both misdemeanor and felony cases, respond to motions, assist with research and writing assignments, and handle (either on their own or with an attorney) misdemeanor trials. Clerks also have the opportunity to attend various trainings and other specialty assignments such as parole hearings.

Clerks will be evaluated for future employment with our office. If interested, please submit a résumé and cover letter to Deputy District Attorney Katy Yount at katy.yount@countyofnapa.org.

The Napa Valley Register published an insightful article about the Law Clerk Program in 2018: Napa County DA Launches mentorship program for aspiring prosecutors, June 12, 2018 (PDF).

STUDENT WRITING COMPETITIONS

The Academy for Justice and Arizona State Law Journal Present: The Criminal Justice Reform National Writing Competition This national writing competition seeks to promote legal scholarship centering on criminal justice reform. Applicants may write on any topic related to criminal justice reform. Articles must be no longer than 7,500 words (including footnotes). Applicants should include a cover page indicating their school and year of graduation. Applicants must be enrolled full-time at an ABA-accredited law school at the time of submission.

Email article submissions to AJ.ASLJ.crimlawwritingcomp@gmail.com by April 15, 2020. Winners will be notified by July 31, 2020. $1,000 in prize money will be awarded and articles will be considered for publication in the Arizona State Law Journal Online. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.

2020 American Inns of Court Warren E. Burger Prize for Writing The American Inns of Court invites judges, lawyers, professors, students, scholars, and other authors to participate in its 2020 Warren E. Burger Prize. Authors should submit an original, unpublished, 10,000–20,000 word essay on a topic that addresses the issues of excellence in legal skills, civility, ethics, and professionalism. The winning essay will be published in the South Carolina Law Review and the author will receive a cash prize of $5,000. The submission deadline for the 2020 Warren E. Burger Prize is July 1, 2020. More information is available on the American Inns of Court website. TO LEARN MORE, CLICK HERE.

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Points of Contact

RACHEL BROCKL

Interim Director of the Litigation Program

  • 415-369-5212
  • rbrockl@ggu.edu

ROXANA ARAUJO

Litigation Center Baxter Fellow

  • 415-369-5213
  • baxterfellow@ggu.edu

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