Legal Internships / Externships

Unpaid Internships & Externships for Law Students

The Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland seeks unpaid part-time interns in our Baltimore and Greenbelt offices for the fall and spring semesters and full-time interns for the summer.  We also can supervise externships, for which students receive course credit from their law schools.  Interns and externs will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with trial and appellate attorneys as well as on-staff investigators.  Interns primarily research legal issues and write memoranda for trial and appellate attorneys.  Interns also may be asked to draft pleadings to be filed in the U.S. District Court, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court.  Past interns have visited detention centers to meet with clients and assisted with field investigations.  Interns are encouraged to accompany lawyers to court proceedings.  We include interns in staff meetings and strategy sessions.  We try to expose our interns to all facets of the federal criminal process and indigent criminal defense work while helping students improve their research and writing skills.

Qualifications.  We prefer to hire students who will have completed their second year of law school by the time the internship or externship begins, although we have hired interns and externs who have completed only one year of law school.  Applicants should have an interest in criminal law and procedure generally and indigent defense and direct client representation specifically.  Applicants need strong research and writing skills as well as the ability to adhere to deadlines. Interested students should send a cover letter, resume, (official or unofficial) transcript, and writing sample to Assistant Federal Public Defender Laura Abelson either by mail (100 S. Charles Street, Tower II, 9th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201) or email (

Deadlines.  To be considered for a fall internship/externship, applications should be sent by July 1.  To be considered for a spring internship/externship, applications should be sent by November 1.  To be considered for a summer internship, applications should be sent by February 1.  Applications are reviewed and offers are made on a rolling basis.