Semesters offered:




The Federal Defender Program provides representation to indigent criminal defendants in Federal Court. The Federal Defender also represents some death-row inmates challenging their convictions and/or sentences in federal habeas corpus litigation.

Students working with the Federal Defender program will help in drafting documents, motions and briefs in U.S. District Court, the Court of Appeals, and occasionally in the United States Supreme Court. Students will help in interviewing witnesses, preparing cases for pretrial hearings, and will assist the attorneys in preparing cases for trial and sentencing hearings. Students are considered to be an integral part of the "defense team," and can do almost anything, short of actually speaking in court as the attorney of record.


Prerequisites: Open to second and third-year students

Preferences: None


  • At the time of application, students must submit a short paragraph or statement indicating why they want to work for the Federal Defender Program.
  • Students who choose to participate in this externship may have to work more hours than required by the school. Students must have flexible schedules to accommodate the court schedules of the cases on which the student is assisting.
  • Students who currently work or who are doing externship programs with any prosecuting or investigative agency are not eligible to participate in this externship.