Law Student Externship

The Federal Public Defender Office for the Western District of Washington, operating under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. 3006A, was established with the purpose of ensuring the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel and equal access to justice in federal court.

We offer full-time and part-time unpaid legal externships during the summer and academic year. Legal externs assist attorneys with legal research and writing, help with trial preparation, participate in client interviews, develop case or project strategies, and observe court proceedings. If qualified, legal externs may also argue motions in federal district court.

Applicants should have an interest in indigent criminal defense and possess strong research and writing skills. Successful applicants must be fingerprinted by the U.S. District Court before beginning work with the Federal Public Defender. While FPD staff will assist with this process, the background check may take over two weeks.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, a resume, a short writing sample, references, and an unofficial transcript to Vicki Lai, Assistant Federal Defender ( Please note: We are no longer accepting applications from law students for our Summer 2022 intership program.  We are accepting applications for Fall 2022. 

Thank you.

No phone calls please.