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Internships

The ABA Death Penalty Representation Project provides unpaid internships for Fall, Spring and Summer semester undergraduate and law students. Previous experience with or knowledge of the death penalty is not required.

Due to the volume of applications we have received, we are no longer accepting internship applications for Summer 2021. 

We are now accepting applications for fall and spring legal and undergraduate  internships on a rolling basis until they are filled. 

*Please note that all future internships will be held remotely until otherwise indicated.

What We Do

The ABA created the Project in 1986 in order to better inform the bar and public about the lack of representation available to death row inmates. We address this urgent need by recruiting competent, volunteer attorneys, offering counsel training and assistance, and working for systemic reform to ensure that individuals facing a sentence of death are represented at every stage of the proceedings by competent counsel.

Legal Internship

The Legal Internship is available to current law students for the duration of a semester or summer. Interns work a flexible part-time schedule during the fall and spring semesters (15-20 hours) and full-time (35 hours) during the summer. This is an unpaid positionvbut students may seek outside funding or academic credit for their work. 

  1. Legal Research: Legal interns conduct legal research on a variety of topics related to capital punishment and representation to assist the Director and staff attorney in their work. Legal interns research current case law for amicus curiae briefs and attorneys with death penalty cases, and on occasion, legal interns may be asked to assist with drafting portions of ABA amici and presidential statements. 
  2. Policy Research: The Project promotes systemic change in the capital defense system. Interns research state and federal statutory law in relation to the appointment of counsel, standards, compensation, and procedure.
  3. Case Summaries: The Project recruits volunteer lawyers to represent indigent inmates on death row. Interns research the cases of unrepresented inmates and help prepare case summaries provided to law firms considering pro bono cases. If appropriate, interns may be invited to listen in to recruitment calls with volunteer firms and others in the capital community.
  4. Case Research: The Project regularly receives requests from public defenders, pro bono counsel, and occasionally inmates and their loved ones, requesting assistance in their cases. Interns may be asked to research the facts of the case and report their findings to Project staff. 
  5. Newsletter & Blog: The Project publishes a quarterly newsletter called the Project Press that is distributed to our contacts in the capital community. Interns propose and write death penalty-related content for the newsletter that includes state repeal efforts, Supreme Court decisions, and other noteworthy developments. Interns will also be asked to produce posts on breaking news and developments for the Project Blog.
  6. Attorney Resources: Legal interns may assist with the maintenance and development of the Project’s library of online resources for attorneys representing capital defendants, which includes summarizing court opinions citing to the ABA Guidelines. 

Undergraduate Internship

The Undergraduate Internship  is for a current college student or recent graduate for the duration of a semester or summer.  The intern will work a flexible part-time schedule during the fall and spring semesters (15-20 hours) and full-time (35 hours) during the summer.  This is an unpaid position, but students may seek academic credit for their work.

  1. Newsletter & Blog: The Project publishes a quarterly newsletter called the Project Press that is distributed to our contacts in the capital community. Interns propose and write death penalty-related content for the newsletter that includes state repeal efforts, Supreme Court decisions, and other noteworthy developments. Interns will also be asked to produce posts on breaking news and developments for the Project Blog.
  2. Case Research: The Project regularly receives requests from public defenders, pro bono counsel, and occasionally inmates and their loved ones, requesting assistance in their cases. Interns may be asked to research the facts of the case and report their findings to Project staff. 
  3. Website: The Project maintains a website that contains resources for attorneys representing capital defendants.  Interns may be asked to assist with keeping the site records updated and posting new items.  A working knowledge of website maintenance and social media is helpful.
  4. Editing: The Project maintains thousands of resource materials on the death penalty from both national and international sources.  The intern may be asked to edit and format these documents and keep detailed accounts of all files. Applicants with great attention to detail are highly preferred.
  5. Other duties as assigned: Interns are encouraged to explore areas of interest to them while interning at the Project, and creativity and initiative are highly valued.  Interns are expected to be self-starters, motivated, and interested in contributing significantly to the Project and its mission.

Communications Internship

The Social Media Internship is available to current students for the duration of a semester or summer, who has an interest in the subject matter and is skilled with social media and communications. The interns will work a flexible part-time schedule during the fall and spring semesters, and during the summer (5-10 hours). This is an unpaid position, but students may seek academic credit for their work. 

  1. Social Media: The Project maintains an active social media presence that is followed by reporters, lawyers, academics, advocates, and the public. Interns research and post content on the Projects social media pages and are encouraged to explore ideas that diversity content and increase the Project's online presence and exposure. 
  2. Contact Database: The communications intern will be asked to regularly review our database of volunteer lawyers and Project supporters and update contact information as necessary. 
  3. Newsletter & Blog: The Project publishes a quarterly newsletter called the Project Press that is distributed to our contacts in the capital community. Interns propose and write death penalty-related content for the newsletter that includes state repeal efforts, Supreme Court decisions, and other noteworthy developments. Interns will also be asked to produce posts on breaking news and developments for the Project Blog.

To Apply

Send a cover letter, resume, and 1-2 writing samples, to deathpenaltyproject@americanbar.org.

Deadline

We accept applications on a rolling basis.

If you have any questions, please send an email and a member of our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.  No phone calls please!