Law Internships

The Habeas Corpus Resource Center (HCRC) – a San Francisco state judicial branch entity charged with representing clients in capital post-conviction litigation – is now accepting law student applicants for our Summer 2023 Intern Program. Full-time and part-time internships are available.

HCRC's Summer Internship Program

HCRC attorneys represent clients sentenced to death in post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings in which we investigate and review the constitutionality of California capital convictions and sentences, and file petitions alleging the ways 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-based defense organizations, and participate in activities designed to introduce them to multiple contacts in the field of capital defense. We intend to offer an in-person internship program at our San Francisco office for Summer 2023. However, we will continue to monitor official public-health guidelines, and we are prepared to convert the program to a fully virtual format if necessary due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

Our office is in the process of seeking funding for paid internship positions for our Summer 2023 Internship Program, but the timing of the state budgeting process is such that we will likely not know until early next year if this will be possible. We understand this may have an impact on potential funding for grants or additional financial assistance, so we advise any applicants to pursue outside sources of funding until we can determine if the positions will be paid. We will provide all documentation necessary for interns to seek outside funding sources in the event that we are unable to secure funding for paid internship positions.

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, the rules of evidence, and conduct of proceedings in California courts is helpful but not required. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and the HCRC generally accepts up to six interns per internship period. Both rising 2Ls and rising 3Ls (interns who, as of June 30, 2023, will have completed one or two years of law school) are considered for summer internship positions. Pursuant to ABA guidelines and varying polices among law schools as to when 1Ls may apply for work, we will not accept 1L applications until December 1, 2022, and we will not begin to review 1L applications until December 15, 2022. We will review and consider all applications received between December 1st and December 15th with the same priority. 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 have been and may continue to be unable to provide compensation to interns, we will work with applicants in obtaining academic credit through their schools for internships, and also accept applications for part-time internships that allow interns to work at a paying job while interning with the 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. Interns are involved in trainings and other opportunities for skill development throughout their internships.

About HCRC

Located in San Francisco and established in 1998, the 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. The HCRC has an authorized staff of 88 people, including 34 attorneys.

How to Apply

The Habeas Corpus Resource Center is an equal opportunity employer. The 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. The 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) your 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.

We will be holding information sessions on October 21 at noon and October 27 at 6:30 PM to answer questions about our work and internship program. Anyone who is interested in attending a session can register using the Microsoft Forms link below. Please feel free to email with any questions about the information sessions.

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