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Internship and Externship Opportunities

About WDALegal Interns: Law Students interested in unpaid intern or externships may send a resume and cover letter to Cindy Arends.  Internship opportunities exist in all of our departments.  In each department you should be able to gain experience writing legal documents and researching emergent issues relating to indigent defense.  We take interns during the school year and the summer.  We are interested in all students who have completed their first year of law school.

  • Legislative Advocacy

WDA is the voice of indigent defense in Olympia.  Along with WACDL, WDA lobbies on behalf of the criminal defense bar to improve the quality of representation and to protect civil liberties.  This year, we expect to work on eliminating three strikes laws, juvenile decline rules, life without parole for juveniles, reducing gang activity, increasing sealing rights and eliminating racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. Students involved in this program have helped prepare legislation, written position papers and have testified before the state legislature.

  • Amicus Support

WDA is also the voice of indigent defense in the Courts.  WDA has filed briefs at all levels, from the United States Supreme Court to local municipalities.  We focus primarily on issues relating to access to justice, the right to counsel, juvenile delinquency and the right to privacy.  Students involved in amicus support can expect to do the primary research and writing on these important briefs.

  • Technical Assistance

WDA provides technical support to public defenders across the state.  Students working in this area will be able to collaborate with practicing attorneys and prepare practice advisories on emergent issues in criminal justice.  Past students have written on issues involving identification, forensic evidence, false confession, and criminal procedure, among a host of other issues.  Students working in technical assistance have also published their work in Defense, our quarterly magazine, and have presented at WDA training programs.

  • Immigration Law

WDA provides constitutionally mandated advice to attorneys across Washington on whether their non-citizen clients will face immigration consequences as a result of their convictions.  Students working in this rapidly evolving area must have taken immigration law and criminal procedure.  This project involves intense research on the immigration consequences of a conviction, along with work preparing publications and training programs for defense attorneys, prosecutors and the court.

Send your cover letter and resume by email to Cindy Arends Elsberry,, or mail to: 

Washington Defender Association
110 Prefontaine Pl. S., Suite 610
Seattle, WA 98104
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