How did you find your internship?
My Legal Analysis and Writing professor, Marc DeSimone, is one of the two coordinators for the internship.
How long did it last?
I worked for about 8 weeks, 32-40 hours a week. The great thing about this internship is that they are very flexible. We had one intern there for half the summer. Other interns worked longer than I did.
How many interns were there?
We had 4 (including me) in our department, although, as I said, one was only there for half the summer. The majority of us were from UM Francis King Carey School of Law, but one of the interns was from another school.
Where did you work?
The Appellate Division is in Baltimore, about a 10 minute walk from the school. I had my own desk in an office with a staff attorney. I brought my own computer, because it was easier than using an OPD computer.
What was your typical day like?
I usually arrived around 9:30 am and left around 4:30 pm. Most of my day was spent researching issues for the attorneys and writing memos or quick summaries. Every week we had a meeting where we discussed possible cases, which was very interesting.
The internship coordinators would assign the interns issues to research. Some interns had multiple issues at a time, but I usually only had one.
How much clerical work did you do?
Very little. I had one assignment that could be consider clerical, but even that was law-related. I think it really depends on how busy it is.
What are the best features of this internship?
Definitely the hours and the work environment. The staff is supportive and education-focused. I never felt uncomfortable asking a question or expressing an opinion. The hours are also great because they are fairly flexible, within reason. If I needed to take a half day because my child was sick, I could finish my work from home. It is a family-friendly office.
I learned so much in this internship. At first is was overwhelming, but once I felt comfortable asking questions and understood how to research quickly, it was an incredibly valuable experience. I felt as though I was working on issues that will change people's lives and the legal system.
Spill it. What was the worst part?
This is definitely a research and writing heavy internship. My first memo was 20 pages and I completed it in two weeks. I'm sure it was awful, but everyone was too nice to say anything. (I'm kidding. The staff gives excellent feedback.) You need to be self-motivated and disciplined, because a lot of the work will be done on your own. Also, if you are looking to work directly with clients, you won't get much of that. We were able to meet with a client through video conference.
Also, the internship is unpaid, although you may be able to use MPILP grants or work study.
I'm sold. How do I apply?
You can download an application at the Office of the Public Defender website:
In addition to an application, I was also asked to supply a writing sample (I used my memo from LAW). There was a brief, but structured, interview with Professor DeSimone and the other coordinator.