Internship Position Description
Legal Assistant - Public Defender's Office (unpaid position)
Name and Location of Agency/Department Requesting Intern:
Office of the Public Defender Offices located in Santa Ana, Fullerton, Orange, Westminster and Newport Beach.
Functions of Agency/Department:
The role of the Public Defender’s Office is to provide high quality legal representation to clients in an efficient and cost-effective manner. If a person accused of a crime is financially unable to hire a lawyer, the law requires the appointment of counsel for that person. In addition to defendants in criminal cases, counsel is appointed to represent minors in Juvenile Court cases, parents in dependency cases, and a variety of persons in mental health cases.
Interns may work with trial attorneys, investigators, investigative assistants, paralegals, and clerical staff in the Superior Court office or one of the satellite offices. Areas of law include the defense of serious or violent felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile dependency and mental health. The primary responsibility of the interns will be to observe and take part in client interviews and prepare written reports of the interviews. Duties may also include photocopying and organizing paperwork, conducting case file searches to obtain contact information, conducting internet research, entering case information into a computer program, preparing subpoenas, serving legal documents, and observing courtroom proceedings.
The internship is best suited for undergraduate students or recent graduates majoring in Criminal Justice, Forensics, Law, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, or closely related fields. In addition, students or recent graduates contemplating law school or studying for the LSAT will find this internship extremely valuable.
Skills, Training or Qualifications:
Computer skills, especially Microsoft Office Suite, and bilingual language skills (Spanish and Vietnamese) are desirable. Applicants with previous experience working with at-risk populations or the poor are highly desirable. This internship is for the philanthropic, intelligent and compassionate.
Minimum of 12 - 15 hours per week for 3 - 6 months. Summer break placement will be considered. Hours may be scheduled Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Applicants able to schedule the maximum hours/duration listed for the internship typically gain a more in-depth experience.
Benefits Available to Intern:
Although this is an unpaid position that does not lead to permanent employment, interns are offered an opportunity to explore career options, build resumes, apply academic knowledge to the workplace, network with professionals in their fields of interest and gain hands-on experience.
Required Background Screening:
Prior to placement, applicants must undergo a background check that includes live scan fingerprinting. A Social Security number and a valid driver's license or state-issued picture identification are required to process the background screening.