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About Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

The mission of the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia is to provide and promote quality legal representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in Washington, D.C., and thereby protect society’s interest in the fair administration of justice. Of the 235 staff members, over 100 are attorneys. PDS is a federally funded independent legal organization governed by a board of trustees, and is considered a model for public defender agencies nationwide.

The Criminal Law Internship Program at the Public Defender Service for D.C. has hired intern investigators for over 30 years. Participants are given extensive training before being paired with one or two attorneys. Responsibilities include locating and interviewing witnesses, meeting with and interviewing clients, taking detailed witness statements, performing extensive criminal background checks, serving subpoenas, photographing and diagramming crime scenes, preparing courtroom exhibits, preparing reports regarding investigative activities, assisting with case development and generally assisting their assigned attorney(s) in and out of the courtroom. Approximately 70 percent of an intern investigator’s work is conducted in the field.


Open to all undergraduates, recent college graduates, grad students and law students. All majors are welcome to apply. No experience is required. PDS offers a fellowship program for interns who have participated for at least one term and wish to return.

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Criminal Law Internship Program
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
Public Defender Service District of Columbia
633 Indiana Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 628-1200


Number of Interns: 101 or more
Compensation/Benefits: Academic Credit, Stipend, Unpaid
Duration: N/A
Academic Level: College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, College Seniors, Recent College Graduates, Graduate Students


Washington, DC