Employment

Law Student Internship (Summer 2022)
Please note that this posting is for 2022. The 2021 application period has closed.

The Federal Public Defender Office for the Districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island is proud to sponsor a summer criminal defense internship for rising 2L and 3L law students interested in public service. Our office offers a unique and up-close opportunity to learn about the federal criminal process and public defense in a friendly, inclusive, and collegial environment.

One or more internship positions are available in each of our three offices (located in Boston MA, Concord NH, and Providence RI). Our goal is to provide firsthand experience in federal public defense and guide students who wish to build public interest careers.

What We Do

The Federal Public Defender Office is a publicly-funded law office that provides legal representation to persons charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. We are appointed to represent the accused upon arrest and through the completion of all appeals, including the U.S. Supreme Court and federal habeas corpus review. Charges we defend against include economic crimes, child pornography crimes, drug offenses, weapons offenses, immigration offenses, and violent crimes.

Who We Are

We are committed to cultivating a culture of acceptance and connectedness that honors the diverse backgrounds of the people we represent. We are an equal opportunity employer.

We employ attorneys, paralegals, defense investigators, information technology specialists, and legal assistants. We work together to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent and to a fair sentence if convicted. We provide a vigorous defense at trial and, if the defendant is convicted, on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by developing mitigation evidence and presenting judges with fully developed views of our clients as people, not criminals.

Who You Are

We value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better representation occurs when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. In recruiting members of our team, we welcome the full spectrum of humanity. We embrace the unique contributions that you can bring in terms of your culture, ethnicity, education, opinions, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, religion, disability, economic status, and sexual orientation.

We are interested in your talent, intelligence, dedication, persistence, and desire to see all people treated fairly and respectfully, no matter the allegation or circumstance.

The Summer Internship Program

The summer internship program will inform students’ understanding of the federal criminal justice system and build skills to best represent our clients.

Interns at the Federal Public Defender Office may engage in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Attending court and shadowing attorneys.
  • Researching and drafting legal memoranda and motions.
  • Helping to develop trial and sentencing strategy.
  • Assisting in our appellate, habeas, and certiorari practice.
  • Assisting in investigations, including collecting factual and mitigating information.
  • Reviewing discovery.

Each intern will be assigned to a lawyer mentor. Substantive editing feedback will be provided to help each student develop at least one piece of written work into a writing sample.

Preferably, students will be able to devote 40 hours per week for at least nine weeks, beginning June 1, 2022. While each student will be based in one of our three offices, opportunities may be available for students to attend hearings and trials in other districts. Students are required to abide by the FPDO’s confidentiality policy, and to act at all times in the best interest of the FPDO’s clients.

This is an unpaid internship; however, we will work with your schools to meet criteria for credit or financial support, if available.

Feedback will be provided along with a formal evaluation, if requested.

How to Apply

Interested students should submit the following documents in a single PDF to MA_Internships@fd.org:

  1. A one-page cover letter that (a) explains your interest in the Federal Public Defender Office; (b) lists any criminal law classes or clinics you have taken; and (c) addresses any personal experiences you have had in the criminal justice system.
  2. A one-page resume.
  3. A writing sample (no more than five pages, please).
  4. Two references or letters of recommendation.
  5. Specify which office(s) you are interested in working in (Boston, Concord, and/or Providence).

Please combine all of these materials into a single PDF titled “lastname.firstname.summer2022”.

Questions and applications can be directed to MA_Internships@fd.org. The positions will be open until filled. Candidates will be interviewed and hired on a rolling basis. We typically finish hiring by mid-January.


Visit fd.org for employment opportunities in other Federal Defender offices.