Law Internships

The Habeas Corpus Resource Center (HCRC) – a San Francisco judicial branch entity charged with representing clients in capital post-conviction litigation – is now accepting law student applicants for our Summer 2024 Intern Program. Full-time and part-time internships are available.

HCRC's Summer Internship Program

HCRC attorneys represent persons sentenced to death in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings. We investigate and review the constitutionality of California capital convictions and sentences and file petitions alleging the ways in which our clients’ constitutional rights were violated in their capital trial and sentencing procedures. Interns assist case teams in all facets of this work, attend a multi-day training program with interns from other Bay Area defense organizations, and participate in activities designed to introduce them to multiple aspects of the field of capital defense. We intend to offer an in-person internship program at our San Francisco office for Summer 2024.

Applicants should possess strong research and writing abilities, communication skills, and cultural sensitivity, and must be appropriately discreet with confidential information. Knowledge of substantive and procedural legal principles of criminal and constitutional law, provisions of the United States and California Constitutions, and the rules of evidence and conduct of proceedings in California courts is helpful but not required. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and HCRC generally accepts up to six interns per internship period. Both rising 2Ls and rising 3Ls are considered for summer internship positions.

Pursuant to ABA guidelines and varying polices among law schools as to when current 1Ls may apply for summer internships, we will not accept applications from current 1Ls until December 1, 2023, and we will not begin to review those applications until December 15, 2023. We will review and consider all applications received between December 1st and December 15th with the same priority. Current 1Ls are encouraged to apply during this two-week window, but applications will be reviewed until all positions are filled. Pursuant to California judicial-branch policy, interns must be eligible to work in the United States.

Because we are unable to provide compensation to interns at this time, we will work with applicants to obtain academic credit for internships, and also consider applicants interested in part-time internships that allow interns to work at a paying job while interning with HCRC. Applicants may also seek funding through their law school and other sources. Our summer internship is either full-time (40 hours per week), or part-time (24 hours per week). The internship is ten weeks long, beginning in either the last week of May or the first week of June. Exact dates are set by HCRC, and all interns should be available to start on the same day in order to attend multi-day training offered in conjunction with other defense agencies. Interns are also included in office-wide trainings and other opportunities for skill development throughout the internship.

HCRC Academic Year Internships

HCRC also considers requests to intern during the academic year. Please follow the instructions below to apply to intern at HCRC during the school year, and indicate in your cover letter the time period during which you would like to intern and the days and hours you would be available.

About HCRC

Located in San Francisco and established in 1998, HCRC is a state judicial branch entity that provides direct legal representation to persons sentenced to death in post-conviction proceedings in state and federal courts in California. Counsel appointed to represent death-sentenced persons in these proceedings review extensive trial records, conduct and supervise new investigation, research and prepare petitions and briefs based on state and federal statutory and constitutional law, and represent our clients in evidentiary hearings. HCRC has an authorized staff of 88 people, including 34 attorneys.

Information Sessions

We will be holding two information sessions to answer questions about our work and internship program. These optional sessions will be held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 3pm PST / 6pm EST and on Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Anyone who is interested in attending a session can register using the following Microsoft Forms link. Additional information sessions may be scheduled throughout the fall.

How to Apply

The Habeas Corpus Resource Center is an equal opportunity employer. HCRC believes that a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace culture enhances the performance of our organization and the quality of representation that we provide to a diverse client base. HCRC welcomes all applicants, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.

Applicants are encouraged to apply via e-mail by submitting the following documents to (1) a cover letter, (2) resume, (3) a writing sample (a legal memorandum or excerpt that is no more than seven pages), and (4) the names and telephone numbers of three references familiar with your skills. In the cover letter, please explain how your life experiences, training, and work experience have prepared you and enhance your ability to work with teams litigating capital habeas corpus proceedings and to work with and understand our clients and their communities. If you speak a language other than English, particularly Spanish, please note the language in your resume.

Thank you for your interest in an internship opportunity with the Habeas Corpus Resource Center!