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Legal Internships

1Ls

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office offers a volunteer law clerk internship program throughout the year to students who have completed at least one full year of law school. The internship positions provide invaluable experience to individuals interested in a career in the field of criminal law.

Interns have the opportunity to work closely with prosecutors in a wide variety of areas of prosecution. Interns may also attend our in-house trainings. Students who have completed at least their first year of law school are placed with units where they will be involved primarily in legal research-related assignments (subject to attorney approval and supervision), including:

  • Legal Interns may assist in the preparation of felony and misdemeanor prosecutions and be allowed to observe courtroom activities
  • Legal Interns will be responsible for a wide variety of both clerical and legal tasks including review of case files and production of discovery.
  • Legal Interns may be asked to review transcripts and listen to tapes and or CDs.
  • In addition, they may be asked to assist with any of the functions performed by high school, undergraduate, graduate or paralegal interns, depending on the needs of the office or unit.

Internships are unpaid, and while the office does not require a full-time commitment, a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week is required.

2Ls

The Certified Legal Intern Program of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office offers volunteer positions to law students who are interested in a career in the field of criminal law. Interns are expected to answer defense motions, conduct legal research, and appear in court with a supervising attorney. All Certified Legal Interns work closely with Assistant District Attorneys in all phases of prosecution. Interns may be assigned to work in any one of a variety of divisions within the office, as well as to any of the locations served by the office, according to staffing needs.

In addition to the Hall of Justice, branch offices are located at the Juvenile Youth Guidance Center, the Special Operations Department and the Community Justice Court. In an effort to broaden the legal experience, the intern is given the opportunity to rotate into different assignments within the office to assist in their legal proficiency and expertise in particular practice areas.

Students who apply for this program must be prepared to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week in their assignments. While consecutive days are desirable, they are not mandatory.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Students must be completed with courses in Civil Procedure and Evidence.
  2. Must apply for and be certified by the State Bar of California. Certification allows interns to research, write, and argue motions, and present evidence at suppression motions and conduct hearings in the Superior Court under the direct supervision of an experienced prosecutor. Additionally, interns may gain valuable experience in preparation of high profile cases or assist in the preparation of serious felony cases including such crimes as rape, felony assault, kidnap or murder trials.

The District Attorney’s Summer Law Clerk Program is designed to recruit the most qualified 2L law clerks and train them for highly skilled legal work within the office. This program is only offered in the summer, and only 2Ls are eligible to apply.

The program is designed as an intensive 12-week training program to provide 2L clerks with exposure to the different units within the office and the practical experience necessary to become effective litigators. Through the program, our Summer Clerks are asked to tackle demanding legal research and writing assignments, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings, and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial. Additionally, Summer Clerks will receive extensive training to assist in their legal proficiency and expertise in particular practice areas.

A limited number of Summer Law Clerks will be eligible to receive a stipend for successful completion of their duties.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Students must have completed courses in Civil Procedure and Evidence.
  2. Must apply for and be certified by the State Bar of California.* Such certification status allows those Certified Legal Interns to research, write, and argue motions, present evidence at suppression motions and conduct hearings in the Superior Court under the direct supervision of an experienced prosecutor. Additionally a Certified Legal Intern may gain valuable experience in preparation of high profile cases or assist in the preparation of serious felony cases including such crimes as rape, felony assault, kidnap or murder trials.

3Ls

The Certified Legal Intern Program of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office offers volunteer positions to law students who are interested in a career in the field of criminal law. Interns are expected to answer defense motions, conduct legal research, and appear in court with a supervising attorney. All Certified Legal Interns work closely with Assistant District Attorneys in all phases of prosecution. Interns may be assigned to work in any one of a variety of divisions within the office, as well as to any of the locations served by the office, according to staffing needs.

In addition to the Hall of Justice, branch offices are located at the Juvenile Youth Guidance Center, the Special Operations Department and the Community Justice Court. In an effort to broaden the legal experience, the intern is given the opportunity to rotate into different assignments within the office to assist in their legal proficiency and expertise in particular practice areas.

Students who apply for this program must be prepared to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week on their assignments. While consecutive days are desirable, they are not mandatory.

Please note that the 3L Certified Legal Internship Program is only offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Students must be completed with courses in Civil Procedure and Evidence.
  2. Must apply for and be certified by the State Bar of California. Certification allows interns to research, write, and argue motions, and present evidence at suppression motions and conduct hearings in the Superior Court under the direct supervision of an experienced prosecutor. Additionally, interns may gain valuable experience in preparation of high profile cases or assist in the preparation of serious felony cases including such crimes as rape, felony assault, kidnap or murder trials.

Application Deadlines

Please see the Summary of Application Deadlines for Law Students section for more information on upcoming Sessions.

*Depending on the number of applications received, recruitment can close at any time

All applicants must complete and submit the following materials in our online application portal: 

  1. Cover Letter—Please address to Donald du Bain, Chief of Organizational Management & Training, and indicate the specific program(s) that you are interested in applying for. 
  2. Resume
  3. Adult Background Investigation Form
  4. A copy of photo identification
  5. Writing Sample – No longer than 10 pages in length

Email any questions to: SFDAInternship@sfgov.org

Fall 2023 Session Dates: September 5, 2023 – December 8, 2023 (14 Weeks)

Application Deadline: July 28, 2023

Spring 2024 Session Dates:  January 22, 2024 – May 3, 2024 (14 Weeks)

Application Deadline: December 8, 2023

Summer 2024 Session Dates: June 3, 2024 – August 9, 2024 (14 Weeks)

Application Deadline: April 5, 2024 

Outside Employment Disclosure

California Government Code §§1125 through 1127 prohibits local agency officers and employees from engaging in activities that are incompatible, inconsistent, in conflict, or inimical with their agency employment. As a volunteer intern with our office, interns are bound by these sections of the Government Code. Students selected for any of the intern programs are advised that they may not perform any work (paid or unpaid) for any criminal defense attorney during the pendency of their internship with this office. This applies even if the criminal defense work is in a different county. Students who have other outside employment/incompatible activity during the pendency of their internship must disclose this to our office for review prior to accepting the internship.

Should an intern engage in outside employment/incompatible activity after commencing the internship, the intern must immediately advise the Internship Program Manager. If the outside employment/incompatible activity is deemed to fall within the prohibitions of California Government Code §1125 through 1127, the intern will not be able to remain in our program. If an intern has any questions concerning other employment/incompatible activity, they should contact the Program Director.