The Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California is accepting applications for Summer 2021 undergraduate intern positions.  The interns will be stationed in our Los Angeles, Riverside, and Santa Ana offices.  The goal of our internship program is to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn the different roles and responsibilities of employees in a public defender office.  The Federal Public Defender’s Office is committed to the client-centered pursuit of justice by aggressively advocating for the constitutional rights and inherent dignity of indigent individuals who are accused or convicted of crimes.

Responsibilities: Interns will predominately work with paralegals, investigators, and legal assistants on cases in our non-capital habeas unit in our Los Angeles office and trial units in our Riverside and Santa Ana offices.  Interns working in our non-capital habeas unit will work on cases with clients who allege that their state convictions are invalid due to federal constitutional violations.  The interns who work in our trial unit will work on cases with clients who are accused of committing a federal crime.  Some assignments may include legal and investigative research, assisting with field investigation, preparing cases going to trial, helping with document management using litigation tools, attending court proceedings, and any other projects that arise.  All interns will be put on case teams and will have a support system to help with their learning experience.

Requirements: Candidates must show an interest in public service or social justice in the criminal justice system; must have excellent oral and written communication skills; must be detail-oriented with strong organizational skills; must be technologically savvy and able to use computer applications; and can work well independently and in teams.

Selection Criteria: A background investigation is required as a condition of employment.  Applicants may not be related to judges or public officials in the Central District of California.

How to Apply: Apply by emailing a cover letter, résumé, and a list of three references in a single PDF document to Cuauhtemoc Ortega, Federal Public Defender, at with the subject line: UNDERGRADUATE INTERN APPLICATION.  All application materials must be received by April 26, 2021.  No phone calls please.

The Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California is committed to equal opportunity in the workplace.  All applicants, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or age, are encouraged to apply.