The Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois offers a year-round Student Intern Program for volunteer law students in our Chicago and Rockford offices. The program provides our interns the unique opportunity to receive hands-on experience in the preparation of the defense of criminal cases in federal court.

Interns, under the direct supervision of Staff Attorneys, typically conduct legal research, draft memoranda of law, assist in drafting and developing pretrial and trial motions as well as appellate briefs and habeas corpus petitions. The program encourages interns, when possible, to assist with trial preparation and case investigation, including reviewing discovery, meeting with clients (which may necessitate jail visits), assisting with witness interviews, conducting street investigations, and helping plan case strategy. We encourage interns to observe court proceedings; from initial appearances and detention hearings before a U.S. Magistrate Judge to motion hearings, change of plea hearings, trials, and sentencings before the U.S. District Court as well as oral arguments in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Interns providing services during the school year must commit to a minimum of 12 hours per week. Summer interns must commit to 40 hours per week. While the interns work on an unpaid basis, we do accept students who receive funding from their law schools or public service organizations. Additionally, we work with students who wish to receive school credit for their internship.

Interested students should submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample via email to Applications for the fall semester must be received by July 15. Applications for the spring semester must be received by November 15. Applications for the summer internship program must be received by February 15th. Applications accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.