OPD is seeking individuals interested in criminal justice and indigent defense for our Investigative Internship program.
OPD hosts a semester-long Investigator Internship program year-round. Interns in the program assist staff investigators with case preparation and investigation on criminal cases in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Municipal Court, and Juvenile Court.
An Orleans Public Defender Intern Investigator’s work will directly impact the outcome of a client’s pending criminal case, while increasing the quality of representation and meeting the organization’s mission and vision. Intern investigators work with attorneys and staff investigators for the comprehensive and independent investigation that every client is entitled to by the law. This leads to the timely progression of a case through the criminal justice system and less time innocent clients sit in jail awaiting their day in court.
WHAT INTERN INVESTIGATORS DO?
Intern investigators assist OPD staff investigators with investigation on criminal cases, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, throughout the streets of New Orleans. As an Intern Investigator, you will have a significant impact on your clients’ cases and it may be your work that could prove your client’s innocence and save them from an unjust conviction.
Interns are involved with all aspects of criminal defense investigation—both field and office related activities—and will frequently assist with other aspects of case and trial preparation. Daily tasks will vary based on the type of case, investigative tasks required, as well as the stage of the case (e.g., pre-acceptance, motions hearing, trial, or sentencing).
Typical duties can include but are not limited to:
• Canvassing for surveillance;
• Canvassing for ear/eye witnesses;
• Using various resources to locate witnesses, verify information, and conduct background checks;
• Identifying and interviewing potential witnesses;
• Re-visiting and assessing crime scenes;
• Documenting crime scenes and evidence post law-enforcement investigation;
• Writing investigative memorandum;
• Obtaining various records;
• Preparing trial exhibits;
• Potentially testifying regarding the work they have done.
WHAT DO INTERNS GAIN FROM THIS PROGRAM?
This internship will give you unique insight into the criminal justice system and criminal defense representation, particularly in New Orleans. This includes direct client contact, engagement with community members, and coordinating with various social service and professional entities.
You will be in a position to have a profound impact on peoples’ lives—one that many do not get an opportunity to experience. The experiences and stories you will hear can provide you with a solid foundation for a diverse number of academic disciplines and future careers—from law to the social sciences. Your experience in our internship program will also demonstrate responsibility and commitment to public service to both graduate and law schools.
Although the program is unpaid, you may be eligible to receive academic credit for your participation in the program depending on your school’s requirements. It will be your responsibility to arrange to receive academic credit for your internship, though we are happy to assist you as necessary.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?
We do not require prior experience in criminal investigation or specific academic backgrounds for the investigative internship. All interns will participate in an extensive training program that includes the methods of proper defense investigation, strategies for talking to witnesses, and other skills needed to become a successful investigator. The qualities of a successful intern investigators are responsibility, good judgment, ability to empathize, strong organizational skills, and commitment to community service.
Candidates should carefully evaluate their other commitments and responsibilities (both curricular and extracurricular) in deciding if they will be able to dedicate the time this internship demands. During the fall and spring terms, interns are expected to dedicate at least 10 – 15 hours per week. During the summer terms, interns are expected to dedicate at least 20 hours per week, although priority is given to applicants who are committed to work full-time (30 – 40 hours per week). The work intern investigators do is critical to the effective representation of our clients and OPD expects interns to be diligent, responsible, and live up to these commitments. While the hours are flexible, please note this is not a 9-5 desk job. In order to meet the needs of the case, flexibility for occasional irregular hours or weekends is a must.
To be eligible, candidates must be able to attend the full training program at the beginning of the term. If you are unable to attend the training in its entirety, please contact the Investigator Supervisor. If a sufficient number of candidates are unable to attend the training on the scheduled date(s) an additional training may be added.
Availability of a Vehicle
Due to the amount of fieldwork required in this internship, at least one intern in every intern partnership must have a vehicle. Therefore, we try to accept the same number of interns with vehicles as without. While we will make every attempt to accept enough Intern Investigators with vehicles so that every partnership has access, the unexpected can and does occur. In the event that an intern investigator with a vehicle withdraws from the program at the last minute, an intern investigator without a vehicle may be limited to in-office or in-court work. We encourage anyone who may be able to secure access to a vehicle for the duration of the internship to do so. Intern investigators can be reimbursed for their work-related mileage at the State of Louisiana rate.
Spring 2021 (14 weeks)
Application Deadline: November 6, 2020
Interviews: Week of November 16 – 20, 2021
Acceptance Notice: November 23, 2020
Mandatory Training: January 23 – 24, 2020 [Sat & Sun]
Term of Service: January 23 – April 30, 2021
Summer 2021, Class 1 (10 weeks)
Application Deadline: March 12, 2021
Interviews: Week of March 22 – 26, 2021
Acceptance Notice: March 29, 2021
Mandatory Training: May 31 – June 1, 2021 [Mon & Tues]
Term of Service: May 31 – August 6, 2021
Summer 2021, Class 2 (9 weeks)
Application Deadline: April 9, 2021
Interviews: Week of April 19 – 23, 2021
Acceptance Notice: April 26, 2021
Mandatory Training: July 12 – 13, 2021 [Mon & Tues]
Term of Service: July 12 – September 3, 2021
Fall 2021 (12 weeks)
Application Deadline: June 25, 2021
Interviews: Week of July 5 – 9, 2021
Acceptance Notice: July 12, 2021
Mandatory Training: September 11 – 12, 2021 [Sat & Sun]
Term of Service: September 11 – December 3, 2021
Spring 2022 (14 weeks)
Application Deadline: November 5, 2021
Interviews: Week of November 15 – 19, 2021
Acceptance Notice: November 22, 2021
Mandatory Training: January 22 – 23, 2022 [Sat & Sun]
Term of Service: January 22 – April 29, 2022
HOW TO APPLY
Those interested in the program must submit the following to Apply to OPD Here ;
1. Online application
2. Cover Letter (Statement of Interest)
4. Transcript (unofficial)
5. Class Schedule (if registered for classes during the term you are applying for)
Incomplete applications will not be considered. All documentation should be submitted in PDF format. If we are unable to open your documents due to formatting issues, that will be considered an incomplete application. Applicants selected for an interview will be contacted for further information. No phone calls please.
OPD is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants for employment will be considered without regard to race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, national origin, disability, veteran status or sexual orientation.