Internships/Volunteer Opportunities

Law Student Volunteer Internship Program

The Law Office of the Public Defender provides law students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn more about the criminal and juvenile justice systems by participating in our Law Student Volunteer Internship Program as a volunteer. Each year our office has Spring, Summer and Fall programs.

Application process

Applications are now closed for our Summer 2022 program.

Applications for the Fall program are generally open in June. At that time, we will post a link on this page to the online application for volunteer positions.

Program summary

  • Assignments are typically six- to 12-weeks, at least 12 hours per week.
  • Student volunteers are assigned to specific attorneys and/or on specific projects in any of our divisions.
  • Duties may include assisting with trial preparation, legal research, client interview sessions, discovery conferences, investigations, witness preparation, drafting pre-trial and post-trial motions and motion hearings.
  • Law students holding a qualification under Supreme Court Rule 711 may work in court under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney.
  • Some students may receive academic credit and/or a stipend through their school for their volunteer work, but they must make their own arrangements with their school to receive credit or funding.
  • At the conclusion of the program, students are evaluated by their supervisors, and evaluate their experience with our office.

Qualifications

  • Must: (1) be currently enrolled in an accredited law school, or (2) be a graduate of an accredited law school, but not yet licensed as an Illinois attorney.
  • Must be able to volunteer for a minimum of four weeks.
  • Must be able to volunteer for a minimum of 12 hours per week, during standard business hours (Monday through Friday/ 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
  • Must demonstrate an interest in working with indigent clients.

Preferred qualifications

  • Current eligibility for S. Ct. Rule 711 License (go to this website for information on applying for certification: Representation by Law Students-Graduates-Rule 711 | Illinois Courts)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office, Power Point, Excel and other computer programs relevant to the Law Office of the Public Defender
  • Ability to communicate and interact with culturally diverse clients
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Sound interviewing and interpersonal skills
  • Strong bilingual verbal and written communication skills (Spanish, Polish, etc.)

Application materials

Volunteer applicants must upload the following attachments to be considered:

  • Resume
  • Transcript*, letter of good standing or evidence of intent to sit for the Illinois bar

*Transcripts must be obtained through your academic institution's registrar's office, academic institution's official website or through your academic institution's credential service.

The transcript or letter of good standing must indicate proof of current enrollment in, or graduation from, an accredited law school.

Important notes for applicants

Documents uploaded for previous applications will not be considered. Applicants must upload documents separately for each application.

Failure to provide required documents prior to the closing date will result in disqualification from further consideration.

If a participant in the Law Student Volunteer Internship Program wants to be hired later for a paid position, s/he must apply through the Cook County on-line hiring process to be considered.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a request for reasonable accommodation must be provided prior to starting work at our office.