Internship Program


The Internship Program is designed to give interns exposure to the work environment of a Public Defender's Office, including opportunities to observe and assist in legal proceedings and contribute to the work of the criminal defense team. The Program integrates interns into our Office and allows them to assume some of the same responsibilities as our full time personnel.

All interns are supervised by the program coordinator and assigned to work with trial attorney teams consisting of:
  • Attorneys
  • Investigators
  • Mitigation specialists
  • Paralegals
  • Secretaries

Trial & Appellate Opportunities

Internships are available in the trial and appellate divisions of our Office.

Program Projects & Experience

The Internship Program offers interns the opportunity to work with several lawyers on a range of cases, providing an overview of the types of work performed by attorneys in either trial or appellate practice. Interns work on a variety of projects, including:
  • Assisting in jury selection
  • Assisting in trial preparation
  • Attending and participating in witness interviews
  • Attending private conferences with judges in chambers
  • Drafting and editing pleadings
  • Meeting with clients both in and out of jail
  • Observing court proceedings
  • Researching legal issues
  • Reviewing case files
  • Writing legal memoranda

Unpaid Internship

The Public Defender’s Office does not hire law students for paid internships. However, we are able to accommodate a select number of students who can obtain their own funding. Although this is an unpaid internship, students and recent graduates are offered an excellent opportunity to explore career options, build resumes, network with professionals in their fields of interest, and gain hands-on experience.


Please download and complete the Internship Program Application (PDF).

The application must be completed and returned along with a letter of interest and resume to:
Vanessa Smith - Law Clerk/Extern Supervisor
Maricopa County Public Defender's Office
620 West Jackson Street, Suite 4015
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Alternately the application packet (with resume and letter of interest) can be submitted electronically by email.