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Employment Opportunities

Pennsylvania Western District


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Legal Internship Program

The Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania represents individuals in Federal court charged with Federal crimes. Its Capital Habeas Unit (CHU) represents individuals who have been convicted of capital crimes in state and Federal court and who seek post-conviction relief in Federal court.

The Pittsburgh and Erie offices offer a 10-week summer program for second-year and exceptional first-year law students who possess excellent research and writing skills and demonstrate an interest in Federal indigent defense and/or capital habeas litigation. The positions are unpaid. Responsibilities may include legal research, assisting in drafting motions, drafting memoranda, reviewing records, documents and transcripts, assisting with investigations and observing court proceedings. Prior course work in criminal law and procedure would be helpful.

To apply, please forward a (1) cover letter; (2) resume; (3) short writing sample; (4) complete list of law school classes; (5) current GPA and class ranking; and (6) two references to:

paw_employment@fd.org using the subject line: INTERNSHIP

or via regular mail to:

Michael Novara
First Assistant Federal Public Defender
Western District of Pennsylvania
1001 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1500
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Successful applicants will be subject to a background fingerprint check as required under the current policy for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. This office also offers fall semester, spring semester and year-round externship opportunities for second and third-year law students. Inquiries can be made regarding same to the above.

The Federal Public Defender's Office is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.



For more information and additional national openings, please visit the Office of Defender Services Employment web site.

This page was last updated on November 2, 2021.