Who Should Apply?
For anyone contemplating a career in law or criminal justice, this internship is an excellent opportunity for hands-on learning and experience in the field. Interns have an opportunity to learn about the law by being involved in all aspects of its practice. Also, interns are surrounded by attorneys who are willing to speak candidly about life as a law student and lawyer. As a result, interns leave with a fuller understanding of the legal system and specifically of the criminal justice process. They also are able to make informed decisions about whether or not this work is appropriate for them, and have a source for recommendations and job advice when they leave.
This internship, however, is not right for everyone. First, LCLC is a public defense nonprofit with all of the tight deadlines and long hours involved in trial work. Interns will certainly have time for interests outside the office, but those who mind working odd and sometimes long hours will not enjoy the pace of this work. Second, some people find criminal law too emotional and criminal defense law incompatible with their beliefs. LCLC represents persons charged with criminal offenses, and some are uncomfortable with the defense role in the adversary process. Third, this internship centers around investigative field work. Interns need to travel throughout the city to accomplish their investigations. Those areas will often include places that are reputed to be tough. If a potential applicant is extremely uncomfortable with the notion of working in urban communities, this may not be the right internship. This does not mean, however, that interns do not often have some trepidation about working in unfamiliar communities – some apprehension is common.
So why should you apply? The best interns usually want to learn about the law by actually working in it. By the end of this internship, every intern should have an opinion about our adversarial system of justice that is well-grounded in fact and experience. This position is also a chance to perform some needed public service. The indigent clients who come through our office have no funds to pay for investigators, yet cases are often won or lost on the basis of investigation. If you believe that the quality of legal representation should not be determined by the income of the accused, you have a place in this program.
Our interns play a vital role in the defense team and are treated as professionals with real substantive responsibility. At LCLC, interns are exposed to a wide range of criminal cases and make a significant contribution to improving the way that justice is administered. This is also a small program, so the investigations supervisor and attorneys are able to devote individualized attention to investigative interns. As a community based non-profit, importance is placed upon developing an understanding of clients’ experiences, the relationship between the defense role and the justice system, and the ways that current trends in law affect the criminal justice system.
In conclusion, if you are interested in a challenging and substantive experience in the field of criminal law, we invite you to apply. The experience that you will receive, the skills you will develop, and the professional growth that you will gain guarantees that this will be a full and rewarding experience.
Program Dates: 2018-2019
|Term||Starting Date||Ending Date (minimum)|
|Spring 2019||January 7, 2019||May 17, 2019|
|Summer 2019||May 28, 2019||August 16, 2019|
|Fall 2019||August 26, 2019||December 13, 2019|
Online Application Form
Application Deadlines and Notification Dates
The priority application deadline for each term is noted below. It is important to note, however, that summer, fall, and spring terms are made on a rolling basis, so it is advisable to apply early. Occasionally, positions may still be available after the final application deadline – contact the Investigations Supervisor to inquire about availability. Applicants will receive a decision on their application no later than the notification date listed in the chart below.
|Term||Application Deadline||Notification Deadline|
|Spring 2019||December 15, 2018||January 1, 2019|
|Summer 2019||March 1, 2019||March 31, 2019|
|Fall 2019||June 1, 2019||June 30, 2019|
The internship is open to students at accredited four-year colleges, community colleges, college graduates, or graduate students in Chicago, Illinois. With respect to undergraduate students, juniors and seniors are preferred, but freshmen and sophomores are sometimes accepted. Participants from a variety of academic majors are generally accepted, and all majors are eligible. Previous exposure to or experience in the fields of law, criminal justice, or public service is helpful but is not required.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate that they can devote a sufficient amount of time to this internship. (See time requirements for explanation.) LCLC needs interns who can make their investigative responsibilities a significant priority. Interns must also be able to demonstrate strong communication skills in the application process. The ability to easily communicate with persons of differing backgrounds, values and cultures, and to document work in written form that is appropriate for use in court, is crucial to investigative work.
Other Supplemental Application Materials:
Some applicants choose to submit additional materials with their applications. Applicants are welcome to submit additional materials. Some examples include:
- publications, such as articles written for a paper
- writing samples (other than essays)
- projects/proposals developed for a previous job
- descriptions/copies of awards that have been won
Regardless of the additional materials submitted, all normal requirements of the application still apply. For instance, a separate writing sample cannot be substituted for responses to the essays.
Process of Selecting Interns
Each applicant will be evaluated based upon the quality of the application, the strength of input from references, and the overall quality of past work and academic performance. Applicants who feel that they are lacking in a specific area should not be discouraged from applying – the strength of applicants is assessed by looking at qualifications collectively. No prerequisite course work or prior related experience is necessary, but some understanding of the criminal justice system is helpful.
The Investigations Supervisor will attempt to conduct in person interviews with each applicant during the evaluation period. Letters of recommendation and are not required but are sometimes helpful. If an applicant wishes to submit such letters, they may be included in the application packet or emailed separately. For full consideration, any additional materials should be submitted by the application deadline.