The Bronx Defenders Organizing, Investigation & Advocacy (OIA) Summer Internships 2021

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The Bronx Defenders

Published 27 days ago

July 1, 2021
August 6, 2021
January 27, 2021

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks energetic interns committed to public service and social justice to join our Organizing, Investigation & Advocacy (OIA) Summer Internship Program.


The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 350 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated team-based structure, we have pioneered a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for our clients. 

Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, child welfare, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic reform at the local, state, and national level. We take what we learn from the clients and communities that we serve and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.

Over a period of 10 weeks, The Bronx Defenders Summer Internship Program provides a unique opportunity for interns to immerse in various practice areas and play an integral role in holistic defense. Summer interns participate in comprehensive holistic orientation, gain invaluable experience with clients and community members, and develop critical professional skills.

Role & Responsibilities

Please see available internship opportunities below:


COMMUNITY ORGANIZING INTERNSHIP: Our Community Organizing Project is a vital part of our work here at The Bronx Defenders, fighting for systemic reform, informed by the expressed needs of the Bronx community. Interns will support the Organizing Project in engaging Bronx residents in community organizing efforts around immigration, criminal justice reform, family reunification, education, housing, police accountability and more. Responsibilities will include extensive community outreach, such as phone banking and digital outreach, flyering, door knocking, assisting with training and general membership meetings, and engaging with stakeholders such as educators, elected officials, and organizational leaders in the social justice field. Interns will also have opportunities to learn about our Criminal Defense, Family Defense, Immigration and Civil Action Practices.

Practice Specific Qualifications

  • Must have knowledge and understanding of the systemic issues facing our client population and the Bronx community at large
  • Familiarity with the Bronx community and/or experience collaborating with individuals from low-income communities of color 
  • Must be comfortable working with the Bronx community, remote or in person
  • Must be high energy and creative

INVESTIGATIVE INTERNSHIP: Investigators are a vital part of an interdisciplinary legal team representing Bronx residents charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses in Bronx County Criminal Court. The majority of Investigators’ work does not take place in the office but is carried out in the field: at private homes, on the street, in local businesses, and in the Bronx community. Investigators may also be asked to interview individuals who are incarcerated at both New York City and New York State correctional facilities. Ideal applicants for the Investigator internship will be comfortable working in the Bronx community and possess the personality to engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds, gather evidence and interview reluctant witnesses; the ability to speak Spanish is incredibly helpful in that regard. The schedule of Investigators often varies according to the availability of the witnesses, so flexibility is a plus.

Practice Specific Qualifications

  • Must be comfortable working with the Bronx Community, whether remote or in person.
  • Must be able to transcribe important conversations
  • Must be high energy, creative and solution oriented
  • Schedule flexibility is a plus

PARENT ADVOCATE INTERNSHIP: Parent Advocates are a vital part of an interdisciplinary legal team advocating for parents whose parental rights are in peril and whose children are at risk of being removed into foster care. As part of this interdisciplinary team, Parent Advocates work collaboratively with social workers, legal advocates, and lawyers with the goal of reunifying parents and their children. Parent Advocates work with social service programs and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to garner the necessary resources to support the stability of families in the Bronx. The majority of Parent Advocates’ work does not take place in the office but is carried out in the community and Family Court, as well as at various social service agencies throughout New York City.

Practice Specific Qualifications

  • Must have an interest in and be committed to defending low-income parents charged with abuse and neglect in the Bronx community


CIVIL LEGAL ADVOCATE INTERNSHIP: Civil Legal Advocates are a vital part of our interdisciplinary teams, operating in a variety of venues and providing a myriad of services to our clients. Civil Legal Advocate interns will support advocates in holding the New York City Police Department accountable for misconduct, as well as defending our clients’ property rights and access to housing and public benefits. Intern responsibilities will include various projects such as developing materials for our Know Your Rights guides, participating in our Notice of Claim Clinic to challenge police misconduct, working on our Criminal Record Project by correcting rap sheet errors and assisting clients with applications for Certificates of Relief from Disabilities. Interns will also help to gather documentation to prepare for clients’ hearings, provide support to our community intake program, and work with our Legal Advocates to recover clients’ property confiscated in criminal proceedings.

Practice Specific Qualifications

  • Must have an interest in and be committed to defending low-income individuals in civil proceedings in the Bronx community


General Qualifications

  • Must have a cumulative of at least one year work or volunteer/internship experience in a professional setting, OR, one year of college or vocational education
  • Interest in and commitment to social justice issues, and racial equity specifically
  • Genuine interest in working in and with racially and socio-economically marginalized communities targeted by systemic injustice
  • Interest in supporting individuals navigating the criminal, family, immigration, and civil legal court systems
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to respectfully and effectively communicate, connect and collaborate with people from various backgrounds and experiences 
  • Ability to work well independently as well as collaboratively and respectfully with lawyers and non-lawyers alike from various practice areas in an interdisciplinary team-based setting
  • Excellent time management and organization skills
  • Ability to think critically and creatively under pressure
  • Excellent communication and active listening skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to receive critical feedback constructively, reflect, and shift behavior accordingly
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness 
  • The ability to communicate effectively in Spanish, French, or Wolof is a plus

The summer internship will begin on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, and end on Friday, August 6th, 2021. We anticipate operating the summer internship program remotely due to COVID-19, which means the responsibilities related to client or community interaction will be limited or modified to virtual engagement. We are monitoring the situation and will provide the final intern class with updates as they arise.  

The Bronx Defenders (BxD) – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks energetic interns committed to public service and social justice to join our Organizing, Investigation & Advocacy (OIA…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Hourly

How to Apply

To apply, please visit our career portal at the link above, select the position of interest, click APPLY FOR THIS JOB ONLINE and upload a cover letter and resume in one document when prompted. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. 

Applications will be accepted through Friday, January 27, 2020. You will be contacted by Friday, February 7th if you are to be invited to interview. Only candidates who are selected for an interview will be contacted. Interviews will be contacted via Zoom.If you have any further questions, please contact Thanisha Pariage at No phone calls, please.


*Note on Funding*


Unfortunately, due to limited resources, our internship opportunities are currently unpaid. We encourage applicants to seek funding from their academic institutions or third-party funders, and will share opportunities for financial assistance as we learn of them.

Until we can afford to compensate all interns, we have been offering equity funding to help offset NYC living expenses for interns with demonstrated financial need who reflect the diversity of identities and experiences of communities that we serve to make the opportunity more accessible to marginalized communities. However, due to COVID-19 and the remote nature of the internship, we are not able to provide the same financial support we have in the past, but are committed to ensuring the virtual experience is equitably accessible for all interns. Once the intern class is solidified, we will inquire about individual needs and explore options for support. 

The Bronx Defenders is an equal opportunity employer and is cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We acknowledge the ways in which systemic oppression and injustice can undermine access to professional opportunities and are committed to conducting hiring and promotion processes that are equitable and accessible to those commonly excluded from the workforce. We do not discriminate against and in fact specifically encourage applicants from marginalized communities to apply, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, disabled, neurodivergent, and those directly impacted by criminal, civil, family and immigration legal systems. We value lived as well as professional experience and particularly welcome applications from the Bronx community that we serve. 

To apply, please visit our career portal at the link above, select the position of interest, click APPLY FOR THIS JOB ONLINE and upload a cover letter and resume in one document when…


360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451

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