Throughout the year, the Harris County Public Defender’s Office seeks a limited number of bright and compassionate law students and recent graduates to work as legal interns. The PDO is interested in recruiting volunteer legal interns, interns for school credit, and interns who have obtained public interest grants or fellowships. The interns will work at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, assisting attorneys and staff with all aspects of criminal defense.

As part of our intern program, you can expect to encounter an unparalled variety and depth of criminal defense litigation, including:

  • In-depth analysis of criminal cases at all stages of prosecution, including bail, motions practice, pretrial hearings, trial, sentencing, motions for new trial, appeals, and writs of habeas corpus.
  • Perfecting trial skills, including voir dire, argument, and examination of witnesses.
  • Winning cases with meticulous and effective legal research and technical strategy.
  • Cutting-edge public policy issues, such as DNA, eyewitness identification, actual innocence, prison over-crowding, and racial disparity.
  • Crime scene investigation, witness interviews, and all aspects of investigative procedure.
  • Local court procedures and customs, including the value of integrity and judgment.
  • Meeting with clients and their families to develop trust.
  • Developing a holistic defense to assist your client with underlying and collateral problems.
  • Using courtroom and office technology to maximize efficiency.
  • Connecting with members of the bar, the judiciary, and court and office staff.
  • The importance of upholding the highest ethical and professional standards.

We strive to instill an advanced understanding of criminal defense and a compassion for citizens accused. As a PDO intern, you will have the unique opportunity to engage in one of the most exciting and meaningful practices of law.

Please thoroughly review the intern application (PDF) and follow the directions to apply for an internship.

We strive to immerse interns in our work. Most interns sit in a row of desks on the north side of the office, near the division chiefs’ offices, to be in the middle of the action in the office.

Application Dates




Regular Application Deadline

July 3

December 15

April 30

Priority Application Deadline*

July 1

November 15

March 1

Priority Notification Date*

July 15

December 1

March 15

Approximate Terms

August - December

January - May

May - August

    * Priority notification of acceptance is available for those who apply early. There are a limited number of priority offers that can be made and applicants who do not receive priority offers may still be considered for positions on the regular timetable.