Summer Law Clerk Program
Applicant Requirements: First or Second year law students
The Summer Law Clerk Program is designed specifically for law students who are interested in indigent defense and display characteristics of promising future public defenders. Since its inception in 2010, the demand for the program has increased steadily. Potential law clerk candidates must submit an application, resume, writing sample, and two letters of recommendation (see attachment). All applications and required materials are due no later than 5pm on March 1st.
Applicants who display a strong public interest academic curriculum and exhibit involvement in law clinics and volunteer groups associated with public interest work are ideal candidates for this program. Up to fifteen candidates may be selected to move forward into Round 2, which consists of a 30-minute phone interview with the Executive Director, Ilham Askia. Typically, phone interviewees receive a notification of the final Gideon’s Promise’s decision within two weeks.
Click here to view the profiles of the Gideon’s Promise 2013 Summer Law Clerks.
Our current partner offices serve as internship site locations. These offices either have full-time attorneys who have gone through our training program or public defender chiefs who have worked with our programs. Internships begin in early-June and can last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.
We understand the value of an amazing internship experience and how that experience can impact one’s career aspirations. Therefore, we host a mandatory three-day orientation for our law clerks prior to the internship in late May. The first day of orientation is held at our office. Interns are welcomed into the Gideon’s Promise community and given a more formal overview of the program, its benefits, and expectations. The subsequent days consist of a joint orientation held by Gideon’s Promise and The Southern Center for Human Rights. These orientations give more insight into the role of a public defender, by introducing investigative research tactics, legal writing, and the client-centered representation model to the students. There are also informative panel discussions.
All law clerks are required to create weekly journal entries of their experience, maintain a weekly activity time-sheet log, and complete an evaluation. The completion of these assignments is required for the distribution of academic credit and contributes to the overall experience in the program as well. The assignments allow interns to be more actively engaged in their experience and make it easier for them to recall memorable experiences. The evaluations assist our staff in assessing law clerks’ experiences at their respective offices and provide valuable feedback on all program aspects.
The affirmations below illustrate the value of Gideon’s Promise’s Summer Law Clerk Program:
“This summer I was placed by Gideon’s Promise in Augusta, GA at the Augusta Circuit Public Defender’s Office. My experience in Augusta has been better than anything I could have anticipated. My summer began with a two day orientation in Atlanta, GA with Gideon’s Promise and other organizations that have similar goals and ideals. This orientation was a great introduction to the work I would be experiencing in the next few months. It also gave me the opportunity to meet with students and attorneys interested in the same things as me. After hearing different speakers and becoming more passionate about indigent public defense I was ready to start my internship. Upon arriving in Augusta and meeting with my supervisor, I quickly learned that a day in the life of a Public Defender is somewhat of a whirlwind. Within the first few hours at my internship I observed as my supervisor met with clients, went to court to handle several matters and go visit clients at jail. As the summer progressed I learned that there really was no “typical” day. I was able to work on an appeal involving an armed robbery from several years ago, watch a jury trial from start to finish and have client interaction. In the last couple of weeks of my internship, I have been able to learn how to represent clients in bond hearings and preliminary hearings. Although, I was nervous at first, the Augusta Circuit Public Defender’s Office was extremely supportive and helped me to be comfortable speaking in the court room. I was very proud to be able to represent clients in court and feel confident that I was representing them well. Overall, my experience with the Augusta Circuit Public Defender’s Office through Gideon’s Promise will be something that I carry with me through the rest of my legal career. I now have a better understanding of the criminal justice system, and what an integral part the public defender’s office plays in fighting for the rights of indigent clients.”
– Jessica McArdle, 2L Roger Williams University School of Law
Jessica is also an award recipient of the Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Education Award for completing over 300 hours of service in our Summer Law Clerk Program.
Click here to read From SPDTC Summer Law Clerk to Indigent Defense Advocate
If you would like to apply to the Summer Law Clerk Program please complete the following application:
Early Decision Applications Due on December 16th at 5pm (ET), the final date to submit your application is March 1st by 5pm (ET)