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Start Your Legal Career in Texas Public Defense

This page provides a list of public defender offices in Texas that have legal internship programs for law school students.

If you are a public defender office that would like to add your office to the page or update any of the information on this page, email info@tidc.texas.gov with the office's information.

Apply for a Legal Internship

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Client interviews; Research and writing; Court observation; In-court representation; Identification of social/medical services for clients; Policy
Training: Mixture of both formal and informal/ad hoc training.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Between 25%-35% of their time is spent on this.
Timeline: No specific deadline.
How to Apply: https://www.dallascounty.org/government/public-defender/application.php 
Contact: Paul Blocker, Paul.Blocker@dallascounty.org

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Client interviews; Research and writing; Court observation; Investigation; In-court representation; Mitigation; Identification of social/medical services for clients; Policy; Administrative tasks
Training: No formal training for interns. The intern’s supervisor trains on an ad hoc/needed basis.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Between 25%-35% of their time is spent on this.
How to Apply: https://epcounty.com/hr/careers/internships.htm 
Contact: Frank Chelly, Fchelly@epcounty.com

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Research and writing; Court observation; Administrative tasks; Interns observe all aspects of our work, but they have no primary responsibilities over clients and cases.
Training: No formal training for interns. The intern’s supervisor trains on an ad hoc/needed basis.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Between 25%-35% of their time is spent on this.
Timeline: Rolling deadlines. Summer interns are usually picked in Spring.
How to Apply: http://harriscountypublicdefender.org/internships/ 
Contact: Sarah Wood

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Research and writing; Court observation; Investigation; Review and digest capital trial records; Visit clients; Interns observe all aspects of our work, but they have no primary responsibilities over clients and cases.
Training: Initial training and orientation. Ongoing supervision by dedicated intern supervisor.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: None.
Timeline: Rolling deadlines. Summer interns are usually picked in Fall.
How to Apply: For more information, visit http://ocfw.texas.gov/office-of-capital-and-forensic-writs/employment/law-student-clerkships/. To be considered, send: (1) a letter of interest and (2) a resume to internship@ocfw.texas.gov
Contact: Sarah Brandon, internship@ocfw.texas.gov 

Available Periods: Spring; Summer
Experience: Client interviews; Research and writing; Court observation; Investigation; Mitigation
Training: Formal training for interns.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: None.
Timeline: Begins recruiting in the Fall of the year prior.
How to apply: http://www.rpdo.org/internship/
Contact: Ray Keith, Chief Public Defender, rkeith@rpdo.org

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Client interviews; Research and writing; Court observation; In-court representation; Investigation; Mitigation; Identification of social/medical services for clients; Policy; Administrative tasks
Training: Mixture of both formal training and ad hoc/supervisor training.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Between 35%-50% of their time is spent on this.
Timeline: Fellowships will be posted in February 2023.
How to Apply: https://www.trla.org/clerkships-internships 
Pay: The law graduate program pays new graduates while they study and take the bar exam. They do not have to report to work until after they take the bar exam. They get paid solely to study and take the test (paid fellowship starting in 2022).
Contact: Adriana Rodriguez, Director of Recruiting for all of TRLA, adrianarodriguez@trla.org 

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall; Post-Graduation
Experience: Client interviews; Research and writing; Court observation; In-court representation; Investigation; Mitigation; Identification of social/medical services for clients; Policy
Training: No formal training for interns, but supervisors train on an ad hoc/needed basis.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Under 25% of their time is spent on this.
Timeline: Apply anytime.
How to Apply: Reach out to the contacts below.
Contact: David Bost, david.bost@co.wichita.tx.us, Jarret Noll, jarret.noll@co.wichita.tx.us

Available Periods: Spring; Summer; Fall
Experience: Research and writing; Policy development; Oral presentations
Training: Initial orientation and training programs. Mixture of both formal and informal/ad hoc training.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: None.
Timeline: TIDC participates in the annual Public Student Career Fair at UT Law for summer intern recruitment. Interns for Fall and Spring are considered on a rolling basis.
How to Apply: Complete this application form.
Pay: Unpaid; UT Law students may receive up to $6,000 for a full summer internship or $3,000 for a half summer internship (or other amount subject to TIDC's agreement with UT Law).
Contact: Kristin Meeks, Policy Analyst and Internship Lead, info@tidc.texas.gov

Available Periods: Summer (9-week placements)
Experience: Research and writing; Court observation; Client interviews; In-court representation and potential trial experience
Training: Rural criminal practice bootcamp; mixture of formal training and supervisor training.
Court/Oral Advocacy Experience: Depends on student eligibility for Texas student bar card.
Timeline: Begins recruiting in the Fall of the year prior.
How to Apply: https://www.smu.edu/Law/Centers/Deason-Center/Work/Action/Rural-Summer-Externship-Program 
Contact: Kenitra Brown, Engagement Director, kenitra@mail.smu.edu 

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