The Office of the Defender General offers unpaid internships for law school students, both in our Central Office located in Montpelier and in our county public defender offices. Clerkships for attorneys may also be available. Internships and clerkships can be either full or part-time, and provide an opportunity to improve research and writing skills and gain an in-depth understanding of criminal and juvenile law. If you are interested, please send a cover letter and resume to the appropriate contact listed below.
Central Office: There are four internship or clerkship options in the ODG’s Central Office: Appellate, Juvenile Defender, Legislative, and Prisoners’ Rights.
Appellate: Appellate interns assist in researching and writing appellate briefs in criminal and juvenile cases and provide legal research to public defenders in special trial court cases. Appellate interns may have an opportunity to present oral argument before the Vermont Supreme Court. Contact: Dawn Matthews, Appellate Defender.
Juvenile Defender's Office: Juvenile Defender interns provide legal representation to juvenile clients in a variety of settings, including administrative hearings at the juvenile detention center and caseplan review meetings. The internship includes a great deal of client contact, as well as some specific research assignments. Contact: Marshall Pahl, Juvenile Defender and Deputy Defender General.
Legislative: Legislative interns assist the Defender General in monitoring criminal and juvenile justice issues at the Vermont statehouse during the legislative session from January until early May. Legislative interns attend House and Senate committee meetings, discuss issues with legislators as directed by the Defender General, and conduct research as needed. Concern for the rights of criminal defendants, professionalism, discretion and full confidentiality are required. This internship is usually one to three days, Tuesday through Friday morning, depending on the intern's availability and the legislative schedule. Contact: Marshall Pahl, Deputy Defender General.
Prisoners' Rights: The Prisoners' Rights Office (PRO) litigates a wide variety of civil, criminal and administrative cases, working to protect the constitutional rights of prisoners in such areas as unlawful convictions, medical care, and parole violations. The PRO internship offers experience in developing research and writing skills, drafting complaints and motions, making courtroom/parole board presentations, investigating cases, performing client outreach at the prisons, and assisting with legislative advocacy. PRO has the flexibility to tailor the internship to the needs of the intern. This is a fast-paced, challenging office; common sense and a sense of humor are a must. Contact: Jill Paul Martin, PRO Attorney.
County Public Defender Office: Staff office clerkships may include client and witness intake and interviews, bail review, discovery analysis, legal research and writing, analysis of evidence, motion practice, and assisting with plea agreements, trial preparation and sentencing argument preparation. All work is supervised by public defender staff attorneys. Please contact the individual public defender office or Gina Puls, HR & Special Counsel.