The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

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DavidYurman85
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The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:44 pm

Either as a law clerk or as an intern? I was offered a spot in their investigative internship program and it seems pretty cool--lot of hands on experience.

Any opinions? Feel free to pm. Thanks!

awesomepossum
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby awesomepossum » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:47 pm

DavidYurman85 wrote:Either as a law clerk or as an intern? I was offered a spot in their investigative internship program and it seems pretty cool--lot of hands on experience.

Any opinions? Feel free to pm. Thanks!



I didn't do it but I looked into it. I ended up taking an appellate defenders job instead. The DC program seems a little less law a little more investigation. It looks like fun though... as long as you don't get shot.

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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:49 am

Hey.

I actually work at PDS DC as an investigative fellow (basically a paid intern) right now. I've been there for a few months. Feel free to ask me anything.

In general, I really like it. It is a lot of hands on experience, the people are cool, and it's something I believe in. The poster above was right to say that it's less law and more investigative. However, if you work for one of the more open attorneys they are very willing to answer your questions and talk about the legal maneuverings of the case. Also, you can always go watch one of the PDS attorneys in court if you have a little down time which is a cool experience.

The job can be frustrating. You pretty much spend all of your time charging out into one of DCs many hoods trying to talk to people who don't want to talk to you. If you can live with that, I'd say it's definitely worth it.

r14

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DavidYurman85
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey.

I actually work at PDS DC as an investigative fellow (basically a paid intern) right now. I've been there for a few months. Feel free to ask me anything.

In general, I really like it. It is a lot of hands on experience, the people are cool, and it's something I believe in. The poster above was right to say that it's less law and more investigative. However, if you work for one of the more open attorneys they are very willing to answer your questions and talk about the legal maneuverings of the case. Also, you can always go watch one of the PDS attorneys in court if you have a little down time which is a cool experience.

The job can be frustrating. You pretty much spend all of your time charging out into one of DCs many hoods trying to talk to people who don't want to talk to you. If you can live with that, I'd say it's definitely worth it.

r14



I PM'd you. I'm not sure if you can send anonymous messages?

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DavidYurman85
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:43 am

In the event that you cant-here are my questions:

-What are your typical day-to-day duties and how are they assigned?

-It was my understanding-from the website- that paid fellowships are only offered to returning interns, is this true? I'm not sure if there is compensation for my position or not.

-How often do you interact with the other staff attorneys?

-How do they place interns in the particular divisions and is one "better" than another?

(feel free to pm your response

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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:31 pm

I worked at PDS as an investigative intern and later fellow...loved it. The work is super, super interesting (if you're into crime/investigations work...you'll know pretty quickly if you're not).

Are you an undergrad or a law student? Most of the interns and fellows are NOT law students (though a few are/were when I was there), so I think that if you are a law student you might be better off trying to find a job somewhere where you can use your legal training. As an investigative intern, you won't do legal stuff at all. The job suited me because I did it as an undergrad and thus (obviously) had no legal skills, but if you are working towards developing those you're not going to be doing legal research or talking to clients about the nuts and bolts of their cases, etc. You will get some pretty sweet opportunities to work with people who really need your help, though.

As to your specific questions--investigative interns spend a lot of time tracking down witnesses and clients, conducting interviews and taking statements, writing memos, serving subpoenas, and just generally assisting your attorney. You (and usually a partner) will be assigned to a specific attorney and you work on that attorney's cases. Depending on the level of your attorney, he/she could focus on anything from Felony I cases (murder, rape etc) to lower-level felonies and misdemeanors. You interact with the staff attorney you work for usually every day, and other lawyers on occaision. It's not really clear how they place the interns, but I think it has something to do with how well you do in training. As for paid internships for new interns, a few people got them when I was there (paid at a rate of $8/hr), but that might have changed recently since I'm sure they're suffering from a budget crunch like all other government agencies.

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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:00 am

It says i have zero new messages, so I guess that PM didn't work. I don't actually know why I'm bothering to be anonymous about this, no one at PDS would care. Anyway, here goes.

The poster above me is spot on about more or less everything. I was upped to the $8 an hour about a month after I got there, but you do have to specifically apply for it. I'm not sure how competitive it is. While admittedly anecdotal, the three people who I specifically knew applied for the stipend all got it. After you get the $8 I believe the general pattern is that they up you by $2-3/hour each semester that you stay on.

The one quick thing I'd like to point out is that, at least in my class, the vast vast majority of people work in trial (which is where you probably want to be anyway). They give you the choice on the application (I believe it's Trial, Community Defender, Appellate, and Parole or something like that) but you're going to work in trial. In our class a couple of people specifically asked to work in parole so they got to do that.

Anyway, hope all your questions have been answered. Feel free to keep asking. I think both myself and the other poster agree that you should go for the internship if you can. It's been a great experience for me.

Now here's a question I'd like to throw out to the rest of the community: If I'm offered a position as a staff investigator at PDS and work there for 2 years or so, do you think that the sort of thing that could make some (miniscule) difference on a law school app? I know that GPA/LSAT are 90% of everything, but I figured I'd ask. Thanks.

r14

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DavidYurman85
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:It says i have zero new messages, so I guess that PM didn't work. I don't actually know why I'm bothering to be anonymous about this, no one at PDS would care. Anyway, here goes.

The poster above me is spot on about more or less everything. I was upped to the $8 an hour about a month after I got there, but you do have to specifically apply for it. I'm not sure how competitive it is. While admittedly anecdotal, the three people who I specifically knew applied for the stipend all got it. After you get the $8 I believe the general pattern is that they up you by $2-3/hour each semester that you stay on.

The one quick thing I'd like to point out is that, at least in my class, the vast vast majority of people work in trial (which is where you probably want to be anyway). They give you the choice on the application (I believe it's Trial, Community Defender, Appellate, and Parole or something like that) but you're going to work in trial. In our class a couple of people specifically asked to work in parole so they got to do that.

Anyway, hope all your questions have been answered. Feel free to keep asking. I think both myself and the other poster agree that you should go for the internship if you can. It's been a great experience for me.

Now here's a question I'd like to throw out to the rest of the community: If I'm offered a position as a staff investigator at PDS and work there for 2 years or so, do you think that the sort of thing that could make some (miniscule) difference on a law school app? I know that GPA/LSAT are 90% of everything, but I figured I'd ask. Thanks.

r14


Thanks to both of you for the info!

How often do these positions open up and what are the requirements to become a staff investigator? This is actually something that I'm interested in pursuing. I didn't see any info on the site regarding employment outside of law clerk/internship positions (I am in UG btw).

I asked the Internship Coordinator about the $8 stipend, but apparently they are facing budget issues and she's not 100% positive that it will be available. The program seems interesting enough where I would consider accepting w/o the stipend but I would definitely hope to get the paid fellowship if I return for a subsequent semester.

ashtharkun
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby ashtharkun » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:33 pm

Sorry to bring back an old post but I'm just wondering if anyone has any other advice or suggestions? I'm about to apply for the criminal law intern position next spring and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice or tips for the interview or what to expect?

Thanks!

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DavidYurman85
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Re: The Public Defender Service (DC): has anyone worked here?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:28 pm

I ended up having to track the person down for my interview, because I applied right around the holiday and a lot of people were on vacation. By the time I got her on the phone, she was like "let's just do this interview now" and so I ended up with a phone interview (I'm not sure if this is normally the case).

The questions were straight forward and they do a great job of detecting if you're really committed to public service. She asked about my background, the mission and info that I knew about the Public Defender and their services, why I wanted to work there, how I would feel if we were defending a person who admitted they were guilty, and my future goals (she was really encouraging about future plans to attend law school).

They prefer people who can at least make a full-time commitment of 3-4 days per week.She told me that in past years they offered a stipend, but it wasn't in the budget at the time I was applying. I had a friend who interned with them and he says that it was an awesome experience. Apparently, interns get a lot of responsibility, the opportunity to work closely with the attorneys, and their work is actually valued. By the end of his internship, they offered him a paid position. He's a 1L at a T20 and mentioned that both big law and public interest employers looked favorable at the experience during OCI.

Some of the assignments are in neighborhoods with a high crime rate, so you should demonstrate that this is something you're comfortable with. And also that you're comfortable working with different types of people, etc..

good luck!

edit: was offered the position but i didn't accept because of the time commitment.




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