Law Student Opportunities

The SFDA's Office has a number of opportunities available for current and recent law school students and PostBars. We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2016 Session, the Spring 2017 Session, and the Summer 2017 Session. More information on internship and clerkship programs, as well as the application process, can be found below.

Legal Internship Program

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 the in-house trainings.

First,second, and third year law students are eligible to apply for part-time internship positions during their respective Fall, Spring,and Summer semesters.* Internships are unpaid. Students who havecompleted at least their first year of law school are placed in areas where they will be involved primarily in legal research-related assignments (subject to attorney approval and supervision.)

  • 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, these volunteer legal interns may be asked to assist with any of the functions listed above for high school, undergraduate, graduate or paralegal interns, depending on the needs of the office or unit.

Although internships with the DA’s Office do not require a full-time commitment, a minimum commitment of 20 hours per week is required.

*Note: Third year law students are ineligible to apply for Summer positions. 

Certified Legal Internship Program

The Certified Legal Intern Program of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office offers volunteer positions to law students who re interested in a career in the field of criminal law. Students must have completed courses in Civil Procedure and Evidence. 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 Deputy District Attorneys in all phases of prosecution. 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.

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.

All Certified Legal Interns are expected to apply with the State Bar fortheir certification. (Current requirements, instructions, and fees for certification can be found at: 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.

Law School Fellows

Students attending participating law schools are eligible to apply for full-time internship positions during their respective Fall and Spring semesters. Internships are unpaid. Fellows typically receive academic credit from their respective law schools in exchange for their work for the District Attorney’s Office. These positions require prior approval from the student’s law school and eligibility for certification by the California State Bar. The goal of this program is to further the student’s understanding of and ability to apply legal principles learned in the classroom to actual legal issues. Law School Fellows will be assigned to specific units within the District Attorney’s Office but will be required to work on other matters when the need arises. Law School Fellows must be self-motivated, well organized and have the ability to efficiently manage a number of responsibilities. Law School Fellows are required to draft legal motions, conduct hearings, and help Assistant District Attorneys prepare cases for jury trial.

Summer Law Clerks

Second year law students applying for the Summer Law Clerk program at theSan Francisco District Attorney’s Office are eligible for certification by the California State Bar. The program is designed to expose Law Clerks to the different units within the District Attorney’s Office while providing them with the practical experience necessary to become effective litigators. Summer Law Clerks participate in an extensive 12 week training program that includes lectures on various aspects of trial work. Clerks perform legal research and writing, litigate motions, conduct evidentiary hearings, and assist attorneys in case preparation for trial. A limited number of Summer Law Clerks will be eligible to receive a stipend for successful completion of their duties.

PostBar Clerks

For law school graduates who have taken the California Bar Exam and area waiting results, we offer an intensive full-time clerkship. “Post Bars” assist attorneys in every aspect of case preparation and advocate on behalf of clients in court proceedings (subject to attorney approval and supervision). All Post Bar candidates will need to be “PTLS certified” by the California State Bar. A limited number of Post Bar Clerks will be eligible to receive a stipend for successful completion of their duties.


Upcoming Sessions & Application Deadlines:

Fall 2016 Session
3Ls, 2Ls, Paralegals, Undergrads and High School students
August 29, 2016 – December 16, 2016 (16 weeks)
Application Deadline:  September 9, 2016
Spring 2017 Session
3Ls, 2Ls, 1Ls, Paralegals, Undergrads and High School students
January 9, 2017 – May 19, 2017 (19 weeks)
Application Deadline:  January 6, 2017
Summer 2017 Session
2Ls only
May 22, 2017 – August 18, 2017 (13 weeks)
Application Deadline:  November 18, 2016
1Ls, Paralegals, Undergrads and High School students
May 30, 2017 through August 18, 2017 (12 weeks)
Application Deadline:  February 17, 2017


Internship Application Process

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office receives applications forour Internship programs from candidates who have attended law schools in California and throughout the United States. The number of potential applicants well exceeds the number of interns accepted into each program. Students applying for any one of the programs must submit a completed packet at the time of application. A detailed list of the documents an applicant needs to submit is listed below.

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 Program Director, Deputy District Attorney Wade Chow. 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.

All students will be required to complete a Criminal Record Check Information with the submission of their application packet. These forms are thoroughly reviewed by our Bureau of Investigation, and students are encouraged to be candid. Acceptance into any one of the Internship Programs is conditional upon the candidate passing a background check.

Due to the high number of applications received for all of the programs, the following applications deadlines will be strictly enforced. Beloware the application deadlines for all internship positions. Deadlines apply to all current interns and new applicants. 

All applicants must complete and submit the following materials in one combined PDF file in the following order

Upon acceptance you may be asked to furnish the following: 

  • Current Unofficial Transcripts (PDF)
  • Three References (PDF)
  • School Verification

NOTE: Submissions that fail to meet the previous guidelines will be rejected immediately. 

Email questions and application material to: