Texas Defender Service (TDS) – Capital Defense Internships

Legal Interns

Please note that Texas Defender Service is no longer accepting applications for its Summer 2020 Internship Program. Please check back for future opportunities to apply.

Texas Defender Service (TDS) seeks talented law students committed to capital defense work to serve as summer law clerks in its Austin office. TDS attorneys work to ensure that defendants charged with capital murder receive the best possible representation at the pre-trial, trial, and post-conviction stages of their cases. 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. TDS post-conviction attorneys provide direct representation in direct appeals, as well as in state and federal habeas corpus litigation.

TDS seeks law students for full-time summer 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 and records reviews. When possible, students will also attend local trainings, hearings, 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 persons charged with the death penalty or who are already on death row is critical and demanding work. TDS requires interns to have a firm belief in the need for unflinching, zealous 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, please send a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample, and a list of two references to:

Katy Hutchinson
1023 Springdale Rd. #14E
Austin, TX 78721