Internships

TFDP offers internship opportunities for law students. Currently we are unable to offer social work internships or field placements, or internships for students who are not in law school.

Law Student Interns

TFDP law student interns perform a variety of important tasks, gaining valuable experience while making a real contribution to improving the Texas criminal legal system. In the past, legal interns have been involved in all aspects of litigation, from writing dispositive motions to discovery practice to client contact. TFDP interns also have conducted policy research and drafted advocacy materials.

TFDP accepts intern applications for full-time summer positions, as well as for part-time school-term positions. School-term interns often work via email and phone and do not need to be located in Texas. ​We currently only accept applications for law student interns. Other students wishing to volunteer with TFDP are encouraged to fill out our volunteer questionnaire.

Summer 2022 Internships

We're accepting applications for summer 2022 interns from 9/7/21 through 1/31/22. The internship description and application instructions are below, and a PDF version is available here.

The Texas Fair Defense Project uses a combination of impact litigation, direct representation, and policy advocacy to combat the criminalization of poverty in Texas. We have won landmark litigation victories at all levels of the court system, helped to pass major criminal reform legislation, and directly assisted hundreds of individual clients. 

We are seeking talented law students to assist our attorneys in all aspects of their work. Interns will likely work in the following issue areas: access to quality counsel; bail reform and pretrial justice; modern-day debtors' prisons; license suspension for nonpayment of criminal justice debt; and other issues related to the criminalization of poverty. Interns will be responsible for legal research and writing and factual development, including court observation, reviews of court files and other court data, and interviews with witnesses, clients, and potential clients. Interns may also assist with discovery, motion practice and drafting sections of policy reports. Interns may also contribute to amicus briefs filed in civil and criminal litigation that will likely have a significant impact on access to justice at a statewide level. 

Interns will also assist TFDP staff to evaluate and resolve intakes from indigent defendants who have been denied access to counsel or have been threatened with jail for unpaid criminal justice debt they cannot afford to pay. In addition, interns will work directly with people caught up in the criminal system during our pro bono clinics, which have helped hundreds of low- income Texans clear warrants, satisfy fines and costs, and reclaim their driver's licenses. Depending on interest, interns may also assist with TFDP's policy advocacy. TFDP works with directly-affected people and community groups to advocate for reform at both the state and local level. In the past, interns have helped write influential policy reports and helped to draft successful legislation. 

TFDP is looking for summer interns who are committed to social justice, especially in the context of criminal justice reform. Potential interns should have strong research, writing, and communication skills. They should be able to work independently and as a part of a team. We prefer interns who can dedicate at least 10 weeks of their summer to TFDP. We encourage interns to spend their summer working at the TFDP office in Austin, TX but will likely also have remote opportunities depending on the most up to date information available from the CDC and local health officials. 

The internship is unpaid for students who are able to access funding through their school or other funding sources. We will work to meet the needs of students who do not have access to outside funding to ensure finances don't prohibit them from being a part of TFDP's internship program.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to kkisnorton@fairdefense.org.

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Because poverty is not a crime.

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