PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

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raekaya
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PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby raekaya » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:26 pm

This is a thread to help people decide where to intern/post-bar based on what responsibilities they might be given at that office. If you have experience in an office (or have friends there), please share what law students/post-bars are allowed to do there (eg. can interns argue motions, do prelims, cross/direct at trial, etc.? )
Feel free to add any other relevant information about the office too, including their loyalty to their interns when it comes to hiring, etc.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:20 pm

Richmond, VA: full use of 3L practice certificate, interns get a supervising attorney who they basically work for during the entire summer. Most interns get at least a handful of misdemeanor trials, plenty of bail hearings, independent client contact.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:25 pm

LA County PD: Interns/post-bars are not allowed to appear on record. Tons of different offices you can be assigned to, some trial units, some not. You don't get to choose your assignments.

*Edited to specify it's the PD's Office
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:33 pm

Los Angeles DA:
1Ls typically limited to motions, memos (if the assigning deputy actually needs one), research, discovery requests, calling and confirming witnesses for trials/hearings, copies, trial notebooks, and transcriptions. You'll be doing more of the latter than former. A glorified admin.

2Ls and above: all of the above plus preliminary hearings, 1538.5 motions, 995 motions, speedy trial motions, etc. Can do misdemeanor jury/court trials. Second chairing also possible. Depending on the supervisor, you may not be able to touch certain cases such as anything involving violence or DUIs. Compton is known to give the most in court work/opportunity to get into trial.

Post-bar interning is available but must leave after bar results come out. No guarantee of hiring. Not very loyal because everyone and their moms intern at LA. Who you know gets you in the office.

San Bernardino DA:
Mostly same as above, but you are given much wider variety of cases. Can also do certain felony trials. Very loyal office that tries to push their volunteers into the office and gives them a leg up, but that does not mean a guaranteed hire.

Has no official post-bar program, but takes volunteers who graduated from law school. If you are an attorney, you can become a volunteer DA and do trials/prelims/hearings on your own without supervision. You will not get your own courtroom and run calendar, however, like the other volunteer prosecutor programs.

Riverside DA:
Typical intern duties like LA. For 2L summer program, they have a trial competition amongst the interns that I believe is mandatory. The higher ups and the DA judge the competition. They mainly hire people who interned at their office. Kind of like Biglaw SA positions, they will ask you back post-bar if they want you in the office. They also open hiring to the outside every once in a while. Unsure about volunteer attorneys.

Orange County, CA DA:
Again, typical intern duties. For post-bar, they have a fellowship program with certain schools. Your school has to have an agreement with the office in order for you to be eligible to apply to it. Job offers are made through that fellowship program. They also open hiring to the outside once in a while. Unsure about volunteer attorneys, but you can elect to do a Trial Advocacy program through the LA county bar association(?) that costs thousands of dollars which will place you at the OCDA as a deputy DA doing all of the stuff low level DAs do.

Last, interning/volunteering is what you make of it. If you are seen as skilled, competent, and are a go-getter, you will get the chance to do significant cases.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:55 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:LA County: Interns/post-bars are not allowed to appear on record. Tons of different offices you can be assigned to, some trial units, some not. You don't get to choose your assignments.

Post-bars can still appear on the record because they can still get certified by the state bar, unless some policy changed in the office that I'm not aware of. They don't take attorney volunteers anymore. And you do have a choice of your assignment if it is available. Central Trials Prelim Unit and Compton are pretty much perpetually full year round.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby esq » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:45 pm

San Diego Post Bar: Pretty awesome. They give you a well thought out binder full of information that you'll need to know. Solid one week training up front, providing training and putting post-bars through the ringer on voir dire, openings, directs, cross and closing. You then go through a full moot-trial and critique in front of your peers and all the hiring supervisors. Good workshop on how to do read and process all the paperwork. Then they cut you loose into groups that rotate and appear on the record for almost all aspects of misdemeanor work. There is a system of assigning work that you do on the side of all your misdemeanor appearances. These assignments can really have you do anything (though menial stuff is not assigned), and assures that serious trial work is assigned to every post-bar as well.

The PDs in San Diego set a really high standard, it seems, and I haven't bumped into one yet who isn't extremely professional and competent. These guys take their work seriously and it's reflected in the culture downtown and the way that everyone in the court system seems to work with PDs (i.e., they don't look at PDs like they're doormats in San Diego).

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:LA County: Interns/post-bars are not allowed to appear on record. Tons of different offices you can be assigned to, some trial units, some not. You don't get to choose your assignments.

Post-bars can still appear on the record because they can still get certified by the state bar, unless some policy changed in the office that I'm not aware of. They don't take attorney volunteers anymore. And you do have a choice of your assignment if it is available. Central Trials Prelim Unit and Compton are pretty much perpetually full year round.


Just because the CA bar certification allows you to do things, that does not mean the office will. Some office's are more squeamish about potential due process concerns in letting a law clerk appear on the record.

Ventura Cnty PD: Can appear on the record to argue for expungements and to do simple things (eg. continuances, setting a case for trial or taking a plea deal if you are in an intake courtroom). You can interview clients under the supervision of an attorney. You can't argue motions, do prelims, etc. but you can write up all the things leading up to it. You can sit second chair at trial too (and help with all the trial prep), you just can't get up and say anything.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:LA County: Interns/post-bars are not allowed to appear on record. Tons of different offices you can be assigned to, some trial units, some not. You don't get to choose your assignments.

Post-bars can still appear on the record because they can still get certified by the state bar, unless some policy changed in the office that I'm not aware of. They don't take attorney volunteers anymore. And you do have a choice of your assignment if it is available. Central Trials Prelim Unit and Compton are pretty much perpetually full year round.


Just because the CA bar certification allows you to do things, that does not mean the office will. Some office's are more squeamish about potential due process concerns in letting a law clerk appear on the record.

Ventura Cnty PD: Can appear on the record to argue for expungements and to do simple things (eg. continuances, setting a case for trial or taking a plea deal if you are in an intake courtroom). You can interview clients under the supervision of an attorney. You can't argue motions, do prelims, etc. but you can write up all the things leading up to it. You can sit second chair at trial too (and help with all the trial prep), you just can't get up and say anything.

Did not realize the poster was talking about the PD. It just said LA County and I assumed it was the DA. Oops. In that case, yeah some PDs offices let you appear on the record and some don't.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:35 pm

Contra Costa County PD.

1Ls: write motions, occasionally write a research memo. watch openings, closings, etc. when there's time for it. interns are encouraged to view other types of court proceedings as well, incl. arraignments, motions, etc. during summer, there are trips arranged to the local jails and juvenile hall.

2Ls and 3Ls (assuming certified by PTLS): write motions, mostly 995s, but also in lims, pitchess, hobbs, appeals, etc. very rarely write a research memo. argue 1538s and misc. misdo motions, and once you get some experience under your belt, argue 995s, even appeals. if you're proactive and ask the misdo attys for motions to argue, you'll be in court often (though in martinez the requirement that a supervising atty be barred for two years is abided by; rounding up an atty w 2 yrs experience can be tough sometimes). students do not do trials, no exceptions to that rule. CoCo is not big on students "second-chairing." they are big on students viewing trials when time allows for it. occasionally meet clients in jail.

post-bars: no specialized training program like San Diego, other than a basic 2-day intro regarding nuts and bolts of criminal defense and the county itself. lots of writing, particularly 995s for homicides and other serious crimes. high expectations for motions by post-bars; if your writing/research is not consistently rock-solid, a handful of attys will call you out and potentially scuttle your chances of getting promoted to a misdo gig. argue all types of motions. post-bars are strongly encouraged to argue motions as often as possible. no trials, very rarely second-chair. meet clients in jail.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:39 pm

Travis County (Austin) DA (felonies):
2Ls with bar cards can appear on the record. Not a ton of training available but you are assigned to a particular court with 4-5 attorneys and they provide substantial mentorship. Make sure you get a bar card ASAP so you can work up to something more serious. They do not hire entry level people though, so it might be more worth your time to work for the County.

Travis County Attorney (misdemeanors):
2Ls with bar cards can appear on the record. You might get a trial, but it very much depends on your judge (some never have trials) and your trial team. Probably you will at least get a bench trial or pre-trial hearing. You watch a lot of videos and take notes. You aren't allowed to participate in plea bargaining at all.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby iShotFirst » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:19 am

Supervisor in Miami State Attorney Office here:
if you intern in:

Felonies you will probably do very little, depends on DC but most do legal research, observe court, etc.

Juvenile also they dont seem to do much because the ASAs dont have much to do either.

Domestic Violence division interns do everything an ASA does except for probation violation calendar. Interns get thrown in pretty quick into calendar slots (arraignment, drug court, etc) because they are often short staffed. Trials a possibility if intern schedule allows.

I have no experience with County court but I would imagine they do similar stuff to domestic violence interns and there are more opportunities for bench trials there which an intern would probably be allowed to participate in without much fuss.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:16 pm

Federal Defenders of San Diego:
Students can't appear on the record, but can do everything else. For summer interns, there is a training program led by one of the more experienced attys where you go through a different part of trial every week (jury selection/opening/direct/cross/closing) and you get some practice out of it in lieu of getting actual court time. Interns get a fair amount of experience interviewing clients before bail hearings but spend most of their time researching/writing memos/motions.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby werther » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:31 pm

As a 2L/3L extern with the Philadelphia DA's office, I was allowed to do non-felony trials. They were usually drug possession or retail theft cases, but the experience was invaluable to me. Plea bargaining/direct/cross/summations. I highly recommend it.

I also know that the Philadelphia DA loves to hire out of their extern pool. I know externs there from Drexel who got offers. On the other hand, my pal from a T14 didn't even get an interview there (and he's no slouch).

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby sd5289 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:00 am

Manhattan (New York County) DA:

They have a well-oiled summer intern program there. Assuming you take the position seriously, you'll get to write at least one response to a 440 motion (post-conviction motion) and will more than likely get to second seat a trial (most interns get to, but it largely depends on whether cases actually go or the defendant pleads right before trial). You'll definitely be asked to do research for ADA's, and may even be asked to write a research memo on a particular area that the ADA's are running into a lot (I wrote two of these). You'll also definitely be asked to listen to Riker's calls (admissions, incriminating statements about the case, etc.).

You will also get to "shadow" ADA's in arraignments, ECAB, and in a calendar part. Depending on what kinds of cases the ADA you're with is writing up, you may have the opportunity to write a case or two up yourself. Manhattan also has a trip up to the police academy firing range in the Bronx, and there are weekly lectures (Wednesdays if I remember correctly) about big news cases the office has handled over the years. You can also sign up for "brown bag" lunches with ADA's from particular bureaus who will discuss a particular case in the past.

What I found is that if you work hard while you're at the office, you'll get a lot more opportunities than what I outlined above. I ended up responding to a number of 440s, and also wrote a response to a complicated motion to dismiss with an incredibly unique set of facts. I've used that response as my writing sample since, and it's always generated questions during my interviews for my 2L summer position as well as my interviews with the DA's offices this past year.

Also, if you get into the summer intern program at Manhattan, you will have a guaranteed 1st round interview for permanent hiring. If you are a 2L, you will do that 1st round near the end of the internship.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby kapital98 » Sun May 24, 2015 7:44 pm

Rochester, NY PD's office:

Typical intern duties. You do a lot of research and writing. Almost entirely memos. You also do a lot of transcription. Depending on the attorneys you work with you might also be able to write motions. The attorneys are happy to let you sit in on client interviews or go to court whenever you want. They don't work you to death. Actually, one of the biggest problems is that they don't have enough work to give to all the interns. A friend and I often did not have work and just sat in the office trying to kill time. Nothing changes when you pass the bar and eventually get your license. The office has a policy of not letting licensed interns have their own caseload or arguing in court. I was told it was tried in the past and creates a considerable burden on the staff because interns are constantly leaving and making the office hold the bag.

On a positive note, the staff is incredibly nice and the work is usually very interesting. There are not many other places where you can come into contact with "A" felonies on a consistent basis and do significant research projects.

I've been told by several senior attorneys that the office prefers people to intern at their office before hiring them. That was true of many of the Town Court attorneys I worked with. It's certainly possible to gain employment without interning. There are two rounds of interviews. The first round is with 6 attorneys from different departments. They ask you a number of hypothetical legal questions and personal questions. The second round is with the official Public Defender.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Displeased » Thu May 28, 2015 8:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Richmond, VA: full use of 3L practice certificate, interns get a supervising attorney who they basically work for during the entire summer. Most interns get at least a handful of misdemeanor trials, plenty of bail hearings, independent client contact.


This is true at most, probably all, PD offices in Virginia. I've worked or interned at about half a dozen PDs in Virginia, at every single one if you had a third-year practice certificate you got to use it. Mostly bond hearings, like you said, but they do handle the occasional shoplifting trial, drive on suspended, or maybe a closely supervised DUI case.

You won't get a jury trial though, I can almost guarantee that. Sometimes people expect to have a bit part in a jury as an intern, but it just ain't going to happen. In my experience, the average assistant public defender in Virginia probably does 1 to 3 jury trials a year, with maybe some exceptions for jurisdictions where the Commonwealth regularly demands juries. Point is, juries are so few and far between, they aren't going to let an intern handle one.

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Re: PD and DA Internship/Post-Bar Details By Office

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:49 am

Cook County PD: Felony Trial

1L Summer Intern

Super chill internship. Most attorneys work 9:30-2:30 unless they have trial. Not too much BS work. No transcribing, 1Ls don't get to argue, but 2Ls with a 711 license get a decent amount of trial work. My work mostly consisted of court watching, taking notes, creating and organizing case files, reviewing evidence and witness statements for trial, writing jury instructions and drafting motions in limine.

There's a boat party each summer that has an open bar, plus there a few other events that you'll get invited to. Overall experience 9/10. Chicago in the summer is amazing. Too bad they don't do pre-bar hiring.




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