Law Student Summer Internships
BDS has many relationships with local educational institutions, including clinical study programs from New York University Law School (the Offender Re-Entry Clinic, the Family Defense Clinic and the Community Defender Clinic), the Youth Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School, the Criminal Defense Clinic of St. John’s School of Law and the CUNY Law School Family Law Concentration Clinic.
Brooklyn Defender Services also offers full-time summer internships to law students who have completed their second year of law school and have a commitment to public defense. The internship program lasts eight weeks. Intern duties may include legal research and writing, representation of clients in arraignments (under supervision), court appearances, client and witness interviews, trial preparation and investigation assistance.
Our law student summer internship program is extremely competitive and positions are limited. To apply for a criminal position, please send a cover letter and a resume to Jillian Modzeleski at email@example.com and Ashley Kloepfer at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in a family defense internship contact Ambika Panday at email@example.com.
All internships are volunteer positions. However, BDS will work with students to secure funding from outside sources or class credits where available.
Internships are also available with the BDS Immigration Practice in three focus areas: Padilla, where attorneys work closely with BDS criminal defenders to avoid or minimize negative immigration consequences of their noncitizen clients’ criminal cases pursuant to our obligations under the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky; the Youth and Communities Project providing BDS clients and Brooklyn residents with affirmative immigration benefits and removal defense; and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), a first-in-the-nation program that provides legal representation for indigent New Yorkers in detained removal proceedings. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and at least two references to Sophie Dalsimer at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Summer Internship” in the subject heading.
Postgraduate Law Fellowships
Brooklyn Defender Services hosts fellows to work in our office on special projects. Each year, we aim to identify law student fellowship applications that meet our mission of serving underprivileged clients in Brooklyn through innovative proposals. These include Equal Justice Works fellowships, Skadden fellows, and Soros fellowships among others. We additionally welcome law students from around the country whose law schools have fellowship placement options, particularly post-graduate fellowships. Applications for fellowships for the upcoming year are now closed.
BDS Immigration Practice Summer 2018 Internship
Description and Responsibilities:
The Immigration Practice of Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) seeks summer 2018 law student interns. BDS is one of the largest public defense providers in the United States. We represent more than 45,000 clients per year in a variety of legal proceedings in New York City, primarily indigent criminal, family, and immigration defense.
The Immigration Practice has three primary focus areas: Padilla, Youth and Communities, and NYIFUP.
First, Padilla attorneys work in close collaboration with BDS criminal defenders to avoid or minimize the negative immigration consequences of their noncitizen clients’ criminal cases, and to ensure clients are fully advised of those consequences pursuant to our obligations under the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky. In some cases, Padilla attorneys continue to advocate for BDS clients after the criminal case is disposed. We advocate against our clients’ immigration detention, defend them in immigration removal proceedings, and provide assistance applying for immigration benefits.
Second, the Youth and Communities Project provides a full range of immigration legal services to BDS clients and Brooklyn residents, including removal defense and affirmative immigration benefits such as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), permanent residence, and victim and trafficking visas. We both identify clients in-house through our criminal and family defense practice and also participate in external clinics in close partnership with numerous community-based organizations.
Third, BDS serves as assigned counsel under the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project—a first-in-the-nation program that provides legal representation for indigent New Yorkers in detained removal proceedings at the Varick Street Immigration Court and in non-detained removal proceedings if our efforts result in the clients’ release. NYIFUP attorneys provide ongoing representation to clients facing immigration detention and deportation on a wide array of defenses, applications, and other creative advocacy efforts.
Initially, Immigration Practice interns will be assigned to one of these three practice areas with the opportunity to work with multiple attorneys. Based on interest, previous experience and capacity, the intern may also be able to be work in other practice areas.
We seek dynamic students currently enrolled in law school with a demonstrated commitment to defending immigrants accused and/or convicted of crimes. Applicants should have a strong substantive background in immigrant rights, criminal justice, and/or social justice issues. Applicants should also possess the ability to perform nuanced legal research and writing, to communicate clearly and effectively with clients, and to be a team player.
All internships are volunteer positions. However, BDS will work with students to secure funding from outside sources or class credits where available. Most summer interns work full-time for 10-12 weeks, although we will consider split summers on a case by case basis.
Spanish, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, or other second-language fluency is preferred but not required.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and at least two references to Sophie Dalsimer at email@example.com. We are no longer accepting applications for summer 2018. Inquiries for term-time positions are still welcome.
Education Unit Internship
The Education Unit provides legal representation and informal advocacy to our school-age clients and the school-age children of our clients. As a legal and social work team, we work to improve our clients’ access to education, and a significant portion of our advocacy relates to school discipline, special education, reentry from incarceration and suspension, and enrollment in credit recovery or high school equivalency programs.
- Collaborate with attorneys and social workers in the criminal, family and immigration practices to address the educational needs of BDS clients;
- Conduct legal research on various special education issues and draft corresponding memos;
- Assist in special education and school disciplinary matters, including conducting client interviews, sending and following up on record requests, and attending meetings with an education attorney or social worker; and
- Help clients and their families navigate services and opportunities available through the NYC Department of Education.
- A current 1L or 2L with a demonstrated commitment to social justice;
- Interest in working on behalf of youth and their families involved in the criminal, family welfare or immigration systems;
- Able to work in collaborative teams;
- Strong legal research and writing skills; and
- Proactive, flexible, and able to think both creatively and practically.
The position will be full-time and will last approximately ten weeks. The anticipated start date for summer interns is June 6, 2018. All internships are volunteer positions. However, BDS will work with students to secure funding from outside sources or class credits where available.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with the subject line “Summer 2018 Education Internship.” We will accept applications on a rolling basis up until April 1, 2018. Candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.
Investigative Assistant Internships
BDS seeks undergraduates and recent college graduates with an interest in and a commitment to social and criminal justice issues for our Investigative Assistant Internship. Investigators locate, interview and take detailed statements from the witnesses, run background checks on witnesses and police officers, review video surveillance footage, draft and serve subpoenas, photograph and diagram crime scenes, and transcribe audio recordings. Investigative assistants additionally provide administrative assistance to the investigator team.
While some of the investigative assistant’s work will take place in the office, much of it will be out in the field—in private homes, in local businesses, on the street and in the greater community. Ideal applicants should be comfortable working all over Brooklyn and should possess characteristics necessary to approach and interact with strangers about sensitive subjects. Candidates must be able to work in a collaborative setting and be able to produce high-quality written work.
The internship has a rolling admission deadline, and start and end dates can accommodate academic schedules. The internship will start with an intensive, multi-disciplinary two-week training where the interns will rotate shadowing some of our staff investigators. Investigative assistants will learn about our progressive approach to representation, our different practice areas and the laws and ethics involved in investigation. Following the initial training period, investigative assistants will continue to receive ongoing training and supervision from an experienced staff investigator who will serve as a mentor and will be responsible for assigning cases.
Required qualifications and abilities:
– Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
– Interest in criminal justice, especially the fields of criminal defense and the rights of the accused
– Strong writing ability
– Fluency in another language is highly desired, but not required
This internship is unpaid. We strongly encourage interns to apply to grants, fellowships or any other funding available through school or third-party organizations. Interns will be provided with unlimited monthly metro cards for the duration of their internship.
To apply, submit a resume and cover letter to Bailey Kilkuskie at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Investigative Assistant Application.” Please specify which cycle you are applying to work for and if you will be working full or part time (e.g., Summer 2018, full time). Resumes and cover letters will only be accepted by email; no phone calls, please. If selected for an interview, applicants will be notified on a rolling basis.”