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The Bronx Defenders Summer Legal Internship

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The Bronx Defenders (BxD)—an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx—seeks passionate second-year (2L) law students committed to public defense to join our Criminal Defense, Family Defense, Immigration Defense, Civil Action, and Impact Litigation Practices for our 2023 Summer Internship Program.

Overview

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 400 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 developed a groundbreaking, nationally recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for the people we work with. 

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 transformation at the local, state, and national level. We take what we learn from the clients and communities that we work with, 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 receive extensive training in various legal disciplines and play an integral role in holistic defense. Legal interns receive a comprehensive orientation with an introduction to all of our interdisciplinary practice areas and special projects; technical skill training and simulations; and anti-oppression workshops. Our legal interns gain invaluable client interaction experience, participate in a summer-long intensive legal skills training series, and may have the opportunity to advocate for clients in legal settings.

Our 2023 Summer Internship will begin on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, and end Friday, August 4, 2023.

Responsibilities

Legal interns assist attorneys in every aspect of client representation. These responsibilities may include, but are not limited to: 

  • preparing for hearings and trials
  • interviewing clients and witnesses
  • conducting legal research
  • writing legal motions
  • connecting clients with key services and resources, and 
  • representing clients in court, pursuant to the Student Practice Order 

Legal interns also have the opportunity to observe or work as co-counsel on cases in a variety of judicial venues (i.e. Criminal Court, Civil Court, Family Court, Immigration Court, Administrative Hearings, etc.). Each legal intern works alongside attorneys in the Immigration, Civil Action, Criminal Defense, Family Defense, and Impact Litigation Practices.

Criminal Defense Practice (CDP)

Our Criminal Defense attorneys zealously advocate for individuals charged with criminal offenses in the Bronx. They appear in various proceedings, including arraignments, hearings, and trials in criminal court, as well as concurrent proceedings, such as Superintendent’s suspension hearings and Department of Motor Vehicle refusal hearings. Criminal Defense attorneys collaborate with attorneys and advocates in other practice areas to provide our clients with comprehensive representation that avoids or mitigates the many enmeshed consequences that may arise from our clients’ contact with the criminal legal system. With that goal in mind, Criminal Defense attorneys must be prepared to both litigate and engage in skillful negotiations with judges, prosecutors, and other actors involved in the systems our clients must navigate. Legal interns in CDP will be expected to assist Criminal Defense attorneys in all aspects of their work. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to defending individuals charged with criminal offenses.

Civil Action Practice (CAP)

Our Civil Action Practice provides comprehensive legal services to our clients and their families by fully integrating civil representation with our Criminal and Family Defense Practices. Our goal is to minimize the severe and often unforeseen fallout from Criminal and Family Court proceedings while facilitating the reintegration of our clients into their communities. Our Civil Action Practice attorneys and advocates provide comprehensive representation to assist our clients in overcoming civil legal barriers to housing, eviction, employment, and public benefits, as well as address instances of police misconduct, criminal record errors, and civil forfeiture. Legal interns in CAP will be expected to assist Civil Action Practice attorneys in all aspects of their work. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to defending and advocating for individuals in civil legal proceedings.

Family Defense Practice (FDP)

Our Family Defense attorneys are at the forefront of a movement to provide holistic representation to parents who are fighting allegations of child abuse and/or neglect. They are dedicated to fighting on behalf of clients whose parental rights are in peril while working on long-term solutions to promote the reunification and stability of families. Family Defense attorneys collaborate with attorneys and advocates in other practice areas to provide our clients with comprehensive representation to avoid or mitigate the many enmeshed consequences that may arise from our clients’ contact with the family regulation system. To that end, Family Defense attorneys must be prepared to both litigate and confidently engage in skillful negotiations with judges, the Administration for Children’s Services, and other actors within systems our clients must navigate. Legal interns in FDP will be expected to assist Family Defense attorneys in all aspects of their work. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to defending parents charged with abuse and/or neglect with the goal of reunifying families.

Immigration Practice (IMM)

Over a decade ago, BxD developed the model of integrated criminal defense and immigration representation. Our immigration attorneys work closely with our clients throughout the pendency of their cases in both criminal and family court to avoid or mitigate negative immigration-related consequences. Immigration attorneys represent clients in deportation proceedings in both detained and non-detained settings, provide affirmative immigration services, and pursue community-based systemic litigation and advocacy to challenge unforgiving federal immigration laws. Since November 2013, our Immigration attorneys have also worked as assigned counsel at the Varick Street Immigration Court under the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), the first-ever universal representation project in immigration court. Legal interns in the immigration practice will be expected to assist Immigration attorneys in all aspects of their work. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to defending non-citizens charged with criminal offenses in immigration proceedings. 

Impact Litigation Practice (ILP)

Our Impact Litigation Practice collaborates with all other practice areas to identify, develop, and litigate challenges to various systemic violations and injustices that affect our clients, including racially and ethnically discriminatory policing practices, unequal access to housing and employment, government seizure of property, curtailments of parental rights in family court proceedings, immigration-related abuses, and other forms of governmental misconduct. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to social justice and systemic change, and possess exceptional research, writing, and data collection skills. 

Qualifications

For all practice areas, applicants must demonstrate:

  • Experience working in and with racially and socioeconomically marginalized communities
  • Commitment to challenging systemic injustice and carceral systems 
  • Commitment to directly defending people ensnared in family, criminal, civil, and immigration legal systems
  • Commitment to fierce advocacy, and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of clients
  • Strong research, writing, and oral advocacy skills
  • Strong communication and active listening skills
  • Ability to think critically and creatively in a fast-paced setting
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and non-lawyers 
  • Ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate, and connect with people with various backgrounds, identities, and experiences 
  • Strong analytical skills and capacity to employ non-legal resources 
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Ability to multitask, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment 
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback, demonstrate introspection, and shift behavior accordingly
  • Ability to exercise good judgment, discretion, and confidentiality around sensitive issues
  • Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level

Applicants must be second-year (2L) law students currently enrolled in law school.

The Bronx Defenders (BxD)—an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx—seeks passionate second-year (2L) law students committed to public defense to join our Criminal Defense, Family Defense, Immigration…

Details at a Glance

  • Application Deadline
    October 15, 2022
  • Payment
    Salary
  • Stipend / Wage
    0

How to Apply

To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If writing a cover letter is not accessible to you, you may upload your resume as a document and separately upload a video or audio statement instead of a cover letter if that is more accessible to you. Your cover letter or video/audio statement should share why you want to do this work at our office, some key lived and/or professional experiences that have prepared you for this position, and any additional information you would like for us to consider. This information allows us to understand your distinct perspective, experience, and potential beyond the work history summarized on your resume. Your cover letter may be up to one page if written or up to 3 minutes if an audio/video statement. Please remember that you may submit a written cover letter or an audio/video, but not both, and applications without either will not be considered. The start date for this position is immediate or as soon as possible.


You will be contacted via email if you are selected for an interview. Interviews for applications submitted to us directly outside of career fairs and OCIs will be conducted virtually on a rolling basis through October 15, 2022. 

If you have any further questions, please email Thanisha Pariage, Recruiting and Hiring Manager, at Thanishap@bronxdefenders.org

 

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 work with.



To apply, please visit our Career Portal at the link provided, select the position of interest and upload your resume and a cover letter in one document when prompted. If writing a…

Location

Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Bronx, NY
Associated Location
360 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451, United States

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