Graduate Law Clerk Program
The Department staff includes post-graduate law clerks who may be assigned to any of our three offices in Martinez and Richmond. Graduate law clerks assist attorneys with legal research and motion preparation, client interviews, assisting attorneys in trial, and other assorted tasks of value to the Department in fulfilling its mission to effectively represent our clients. If certified by the State Bar of California, graduate law clerks may be permitted to litigate motions in court under the supervision of the assigned attorney.
The positions are filled for one year terms that begin in mid to late August. For information about pay see the job description here:
Applying For a Graduate Law Clerk Position
Students interested in a Graduate Law Clerk position should send a resume and cover letter to Robin Lipetzky, Public Defender.
The deadline for applications is the third Monday in October. Applicants who qualify for an interview will be contacted to schedule an interview in November. Hiring decisions are completed by January.
Summer Law Clerk Program
Each summer the Department hires approximately 20 volunteer and work-study law clerks who have completed either one or two years of law school. Students who attend a law school with which the department has work study contracts may receive work study funding. Other students work as volunteers or receive grants from their law schools to work in our office.
Summer law clerks work with attorneys on their cases by researching and writing pretrial motions and performing a wide range of other research and case preparation duties. Interested students may be assigned to work closely with attorneys engaged in jury trials. Law students certified by the State Bar may have the opportunity to argue motions in court under the supervision of an attorney.
We strive to make the summer program as meaningful as possible for our summer clerks. In addition to providing diverse and challenging assignments, we encourage law clerks to accompany attorneys to the jail to visit clients, to view court proceedings, and to attend tours we organize of criminal justice facilities such as San Quentin State Prison and Contra Costa County’s “Ranch” for juvenile offenders.
We accept applications for summer law clerk positions beginning in October and complete hiring in March.
Law Student Externship Program
The Department maintains close working relationships with a number of Bay Area law schools which offer student externship programs for course credit. Our philosophy regarding our extern program mirrors our philosophy regarding our summer law clerk program: We work to make the experience as rich, diverse, and meaningful as possible. Externs have an opportunity to be exposed to, and participate in, the daily work of our staff attorneys, with responsibilities similar to those of our summer law clerks. We strive to serve as mentors and role models for students who may later enter the practice of criminal law or other careers related to social justice.
Applying for Our Summer Law Clerk or Externship Program
Students interested in an externship or a summer law clerk position should send a resume, cover letter and writing sample (if available) to Maya Nordberg
To get quick answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Employment FAQ section.