Internships

Law student interns - 2016-2017 school year

The Public Justice Center (PJC) is offering three to four internship opportunities to law students during the 2016-2017 school year: one position in the Human Right to Housing Project, one in the Workplace Justice Project, one in the Appellate Project and one in the Civil Right to Counsel Project. Note it is possible that an intern may work with one or two projects, depending on need and or interest.  Applicants may apply for more than one position, but must indicate the projects with which they are interested in working and must submit full and complete applications for each position, according to the instructions below.  Each intern will be supervised by an attorney in the project.    

Law interns typically work over a ten-week period, although specific dates and hour requirements vary by internship. Although there are no funds available to compensate an intern, the PJC does reimburse parking expenses and will work with the successful candidate to secure funding from any potential source, such as law-school-based public interest programs or Equal Justice Works.  The PJC is also a federal work-study employer.

The Public Justice Center:

Established in 1985, the PJC is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that focuses on systemic change for people who live in poverty and face structural inequity. The PJC works with people and communities to confront the laws, practices, institutions and societal structures that cause or perpetuate inequity, injustice and poverty. The PJC’s approach recognizes that addressing poverty and injustice requires it to challenge the inequity stemming from systemic discrimination, including race, gender, and disability discrimination. We use the full range of legal advocacy strategies -- advocating in the courts, legislatures, and government agencies, and through public education and coalition building -- to advance our mission of “pursuing systemic change to build a just society.”  Current projects focus on: 1) the rights of low-income tenants seeking safe affordable housing; 2) working with low wage workers to ensure an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work; 3) assisting homeless and foster children struggling to maintain school continuity; 4) creating and protecting the rights of families and individuals to high quality, safe, affordable healthcare; 5) creating a right to counsel in civil cases; and 6) appellate advocacy.

Position Descriptions

2016-2017 School Year Intern in the Human Right to Housing Project

The HRTH project assists tenants throughout Maryland in preserving their fundamental human right to housing. Project staff advocate for law reform, represent tenants on impact issues, provide legal advice, support grassroots organizing efforts, and empower tenants to advocate for themselves. The HRTH Summer intern will work closely with staff attorneys and paralegals to advance the project’s goals through legal research and writing, which will often become part of a client’s pleadings or a document used to advocate for legislative/regulatory reform, as well as client intakes. The HRTH position will likely expose the intern to aspects of both trial and appellate advocacy.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate a background and/or interest in one or more of the following:  public interest law/poverty law, domestic or international human rights law, and community organizing or community economic development. She or he will also possess excellent legal research and writing skills, attention to detail, the ability to manage multiple responsibilities, and the ability to work with a class- and race-diverse constituency. Spanish proficiency or fluency is favored but not required.

2016-2017 School Year Intern in the Workplace Justice Project

The Workplace Justice Project partners with low-wage workers and fellow advocates to promote justice in the workplace and in the courts. We litigate in federal and state courts to empower our clients to stand up to wage theft and recover their unpaid wages. We advocate in the legislature for systemic reforms to strengthen our workplace laws and ensure access to justice for all workers. We work in coalition to improve workplace health and safety by advocating for policies that recognize the human dignity of each worker.  

Current actions include implementing and enforcing the recently-enacted Unpaid Wage Lien Law, attacking all forms of wage theft, improve workplace health & safety through agency enforcement occupational and workplace safety laws, and breaking down the barriers to fair employment facing low-income and immigrant workers. The intern’s responsibilities may include: furthering the implementation of Maryland’s Unpaid Wage Lien Law, working with attorneys in their outreach to home healthworkers, as well as assisting in ongoing strategic litigation, case investigation, and public policy initiatives.  

The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated passion for lawyering in the public interest, an interest in issues affecting low-wage and immigrant workers, and the ability to communicate in Spanish.

2016-2017 School Year Intern in the Appellate Project

The PJC's Appellate Advocacy Project works to influence the development of poverty and civil rights law before state and federal appellate courts. The Project identifies cases that have the potential for accomplishing systemic change and represents parties as well as amici in those cases, filing briefs in various appellate courts including the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Maryland Court of Appeals. Briefs recently filed by the Project cover a variety of issues, including the due process rights of Maryland tenants in eviction proceedings, the remedies available to workers who have suffered as a result of employers' failure to pay overtime wages, and the constitutional rights of prisoners to humane treatment.

2016-2017 School Year Intern in the Civil Right to Counsel Project

The Civil Right To Counsel Project coordinates all efforts of the National Coalition for the Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC). The NCCRC seeks to establish a right to counsel for indigent persons in basic human needs cases such as shelter, sustenance, safety, health, and child custody. To deny someone a lawyer in such cases due to their poverty is to deny justice and fundamental fairness. NCCRC has nearly 300 participants in 38 states that seek to expand, defend, and grow support for the right to counsel via litigation, legislation, education, public advocacy, and research. The NCCRC has helped win cases before numerous state supreme courts, developed a website (civilrighttocounsel.org) with 50-state data on the status of right to counsel and current activities, and supported the American Bar Association’s development of a resolution and Model Act that support the principle and implementation of a right to counsel in basic human needs civil cases.

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit an email to Sulma Gúzman (guzmans@publicjustice.org) and David Rodwin (rodwind@publicjustice.org) with the following attachments:

(1) Cover letter, including a statement of your interest, knowledge, or experience in the particular internship sought. Note: Please indicate which project you want to intern with in your cover letter
(2) Resume;
(3) List of three references; and
(4) Two writing samples that reflect solely the applicant’s work.

The positions will be open until filled. Interviews will be conducted with selected candidates, by telephone or in person, if the candidate is near Baltimore.

Internships at other times of year

The PJC welcomes interns throughout the year whose interests, abilities, and availability match with a current need of the staff. To be considered, please send a resume and letter explaining your interest, abilities, and availability to Sulma Gúzman (guzmans@publicjustice.org) and David Rodwin (rodwind@publicjustice.org).