Texas Defender Service (TDS) – Capital Defense Internships

Legal Interns

Texas Defender Service (TDS) seeks talented law students committed to capital defense work to serve as summer law clerks in its Austin and Houston offices.  TDS attorneys work to ensure that defendants charged with capital murder receive the best possible representation at the pre-trial, trial, and post-conviction stage of the case.  TDS lawyers and mitigation specialists regularly consult with defense teams on trial strategies, legal briefing, mitigation investigation, preparing to present or challenge forensic evidence and expert witnesses, voir dire, and other issues that arise during the pre-trial and trial stages. Additionally, TDS lawyers and mitigation specialists work on post-conviction litigation and consulting, and attorneys often act as lead counsel in federal habeas corpus litigation.  TDS also has a policy division committed to achieving critical reforms in the Texas criminal justice system.  To elevate the level of defense representation across the state, TDS regularly organizes and provides trainings to attorneys, mitigation specialists, and investigators in Texas.

TDS seeks summer law students for full-time internships to assist in all aspects of TDS’s work.  Summer law interns must be capable of performing both high-level legal research and briefing along with ground-level intensive investigative work.  When possible, students will also attend local trainings, trials and oral arguments.  Students will receive training on how to conduct mitigation investigation in capital cases both in preparation for trial and post-conviction briefing.  They will receive regular feedback throughout the summer on both written and investigative work.

Applicants must be enrolled in a J.D. or L.L.M. program.  TDS strongly encourages 1L students (rising 2Ls) to apply. Candidates must possess excellent oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work well with others in a team-based approach.  Representing inmates charged with the death penalty or who are already on death row is vital and fascinating work, but it is generally not popular.  TDS requires interns to have a firm belief in the need for unflinching, partisan advocacy on behalf of all indigent persons facing or under a sentence of death.  Internships are unpaid, but TDS will provide any necessary documentation or assistance in applications for scholarships or fellowships.

To apply for Spring or Summer 2019 Internships: Please send a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample, a list of two references, and your preferred location (Austin or Houston).  Please send the above materials to:

Naomi Fenwick
1927 Blodgett St.
Houston, TX 77004