Job Opportunities

Summer Law Clerks for Civil Legal Services Division

Opening Date:
Feb 22, 2021
Closing Date:
Mar 9, 2021
Position Description:
The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) seeks interested 2L law students for a virtual summer law clerkship program in the Civil Legal Services Division to work on Special Education or general civil issues.

The Civil Legal Services Division (CLS) provides legal representation to clients in a wide range of civil matters that are collateral or ancillary to the clients’ involvement in the delinquency or criminal justice system, or that involve a restraint on liberty (e.g., certain contempt proceedings). The types of collateral and ancillary civil issues these clients face are complex and almost limitless in number (adverse immigration consequences, loss of parental rights, loss of housing, seizure of property, loss of employment) and can arise even if the person is acquitted of the criminal charges or has been only arrested and never charged.

A major component of CLS’s diverse civil practice is special education advocacy by CLS attorneys with expertise under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, which mandates special accommodations in public schools for children who cannot be educated adequately in a traditional classroom setting due to learning disabilities or other physical or intellectual challenges. Special education advocacy is a cornerstone of CLS’s civil practice because of the vital importance of education and the pressing special educational needs of many court-involved youth.

All of CLS’s legal work is done in close collaboration with PDS’s other divisions to identify clients’ civil legal needs and to provide effective representation to address and resolve clients’ civil legal problems.

For our general civil practice we seek second year law students with a demonstrated commitment to public service law and experience in one or more of our general civil practice areas (housing, public benefits, family law). For our special education practice we are interested in second year students with directly relevant experience in the field, either former teachers, parent advocates or other specialists.

The PDS summer program is a 10 week fully virtual program from Monday, May 31 through Friday, August 6, 2021. To apply please consolidate, as a single PDF, your cover letter, resume, legal writing sample, grade list (may be unofficial) and contact list for three references (name, contact information and a brief statement of how the reference can evaluate your skills). Upload your application to "Apply To This Job" by midnight on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Jennifer Thomas
Director of Legal Recruiting

PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and E-Verify Participating Agency.