Job Opportunities

Law Clerk Externships with the Juvenile Services Program (Community Defender Division)

Opening Date:
Closing Date:

Community Defender Division
1442 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20003

Job Description:

JSP was started more than 30 years ago in response to the abysmal conditions and systematic abuse of children in D.C.’s juvenile detention facilities.  Today, the program is staffed by a manager, two staff attorneys, and law clerks/externs.  JSP has offices inside New Beginnings Youth Development Center (the juvenile prison in Laurel, Maryland) and the Youth Services Center (the juvenile jail on Mount Olivet Road in northeast D.C.).  The offices at the facilities are staffed primarily by law students, who represent children in disciplinary hearings to prevent clients being placed in solitary confinement.  We treat the disciplinary hearings like mini-trials and after training, the law clerks handle the hearings by themselves.  This is a great opportunity for aspiring public defenders to get hands-on experience with client interviews; investigation; developing a defense; mastering procedural rules; and presenting procedural objections, arguments on the merits, and mitigation evidence in an administrative hearing.  If the client requests an appeal, that is also handled by the law clerk.

In addition to the disciplinary hearings, law clerks help securely detained youth contact their lawyers and social workers and handle a host of client requests regarding conditions of confinement.  A few recent examples: getting medications reinstated for a recently detained youth, securing release for an illegally detained client, and placing a client who fears homelessness on a city-wide waiting list for placement at a youth shelter.

Required qualifications: Commitment for two full days a week (both weekdays), for an entire academic semester.

Travel: YSC is accessible by public transportation (D8 bus from Rhode Island Avenue Metro); New Beginnings is accessible only by car.  PDS offers generous mileage reimbursement that comes to about $22 round trip.

Division Description:
As part of PDS’s holistic approach to public defense, the Community Defender Division provides services to adults and children, primarily those who are in the post-adjudication stage of a criminal or juvenile delinquency case in the District of Columbia Superior Court. In the context of evolving concepts of holistic public defense, PDS is seeking to identify and implement enhancements to CDD’s mission and operations. CDD currently provides its services through specialized programs for adult and juvenile clients. For adult clients, CDD responds to the legal and social services needs of newly released individuals and others with criminal records, assisting them in making a successful transition back into the community. Further, CDD serves as the PDS liaison to individuals convicted of District of Columbia Code offenses and serving sentences in the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, Central Treatment Facility, and Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, to provide information to assist these individuals, monitor their conditions of incarceration, and assist them on parole and other release-related matters. For juvenile clients, CDD represents children at administrative due process hearings, provides in-person legal consultations for children at the District’s youth detention centers and works with community organizations to develop reentry programs that address the special needs of children.
Qualifications Required:

Commitment for two full days a week (both weekdays), for an entire academic semester.

How To Apply:

Interested?  Apply here and submit your application materials to:

Nancy Glass
Juvenile Services Program Manager
Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
1442 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Office: (202) 824-2551
Cell: (202) 480-0411

In your cover letter, please indicate which academic semester you are interested in, and whether you have access to a car.

This recruitment effort is ongoing, so there are no opening and closing dates.