Welcome to the Baltimore City Public Defender Internship Program!
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender's Baltimore City office provides a wide variety of volunteer experiences for current students, law school graduates, paralegals, and attorneys. Our program provides an unmatched exposure to the criminal justice system in one of the country's busiest urban jurisdictions. Law students and recent law school graduates join our team as law clerks, while undergraduate students join our team as interns. Each law clerk and intern is fully integrated into our holistic, client-centered team representation model and works closely with attorneys, investigators, paralegals, social workers and other staff to make sure that each and every client gets the very best defense.
We seek applicants with a commitment to serving disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and communities through the delivery of comprehensive, innovative, and aggressive criminal defense services. We value effective written and oral advocacy and a creative approach to problem-solving on behalf of our clients.
Internships and clerkships are available in the spring, summer, and fall and are awarded on a rolling basis. The process is competitive and applicants are encouraged to apply early. All positions are unpaid.
For social work students and graduates interested in internships in Baltimore City, including social work field placements, please contact OPD's Director of Social Work Services, Lori James-Townes, MSW, LCSW-C at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-767-8460.
Baltimore City is by far the largest single public defender office within Maryland's state public defender system and one of the largest single offices in the nation, with more than 150 attorneys practicing in the following divisions:
Central Booking Intake Facility/Pretrial Detention Litigation
Neighborhood Defenders/Expungement Advocacy
Misdemeanor Jury Trial
Juvenile Court Division
Youthful Defendant Unit
Our District Court attorneys staff each of the three District Courts, which handle primarily misdemeanor cases and are located in East Baltimore, Northwest Baltimore, and South Baltimore. The Felony Trial, Misdemeanor Jury Trial, and Youthful Defendant Unit attorneys are all located in downtown Baltimore within a few blocks of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Youthful Defendant Unit attorneys represent children charged as adults in both adult and juvenile court. Our Juvenile Court Division attorneys handle felony and misdemeanor delinquency matters and are housed within the Juvenile Justice Center on the eastern edge of downtown Baltimore. Neighborhood Defender staff are located at our Park Heights office in Northwest Baltimore and work with clients to obtain expungements and minimize collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement, while our Central Booking staff work inside the city's booking and intake center located a few blocks north of our downtown offices and focus on obtaining pre-trial release for recent arrestees.
Course Credit and Outside Funding Opportunities
Many interns and law clerks receive course credit; please contact your college or university for more information. Some interns and law clerks are also able to secure outside funding through grants, scholarships, and fellowships. We work closely with selected students to complete required paperwork for course credit or financial assistance.
What our former interns and law clerks have to say:
"My summer at the PD's Office was definitely one of the most memorable aspects of my legal education. Exciting, fun and eye-opening, I gained substantive experience and real insight into the day-to-day of a Baltimore PD. Even though I ended up working in the corporate field, I wouldn't trade my summer experience for anything."
Ted T., associate at Proskauer Rose in New York
"Clerking for the Baltimore City Public Defender's Office was one of the most rewarding experiences I could have asked for as a law student. The attorneys helped me hone practical skills required for being a tenacious advocate that I could never have learned in a classroom. They gave me many responsibilities that directly impacted cases, from drafting motions to on-site interviewing and investigation. Most importantly, the internship cultivated a true dedication to our clients and to the fundamental fight for justice that I take into the courtroom with me to this day."
Marianne R., current Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City and former OPD Baltimore City law clerk
The "City Summer" Law Clerk Program
Our summer law clerks benefit from a week-long initial training program which covers the basics needed for a successful law clerk experience. Each division may include additional training tailored to a particular practice area (such as juvenile law). This program is taught by experienced attorneys and social workers from both inside OPD and in private practice. Former clients are also integrated into the training to provide law clerks with an additional perspective on criminal defense practice. Summer law clerks also take advantage of our weekly brown-bag lunch talks by prominent local lawyers and criminal justice professionals as well as trips outside of the office; recent examples include tours of the Chief Medical Examiner's office and a local hospital's sexual assault forensic examination program.
Each summer clerk is assigned to a division within Baltimore City and works closely with a team of attorneys, social workers, investigators, and other staff. We strive to match summer clerks with divisions based on preference, experience, and office needs. Typical assignments include legal and factual research, drafting motions, interviewing witnesses and visiting clients who are detained in jails, prisons, and juvenile detention facilities. Clerks can expect substantial client contact and a broad introduction to indigent defense practice in a fast-paced environment.
Our summer program begins in May and lasts for approximatley 10 weeks.
How to apply
Applicants should apply through Maryland Office of the Public Defender's Recruitment Division. Applications may be found online at
For specific information and questions about Baltimore City internship and law clerk opportunities, please contact Natalie Finegar, Deputy District Public Defender, at email@example.com or 410-333-4900.
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