"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

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Are you a courageous, compassionate, and client-centered defender with a passion for social justice? Are you committed to working in a supportive environment that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion? Do you want to join a team of defenders who are fiercely committed to building a model public defense agency that combines aggressive courtroom advocacy with holistic representation to reach outstanding outcomes? Join our team!


Santa Cruz County offers competitive pay and excellent benefits in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Check out the Santa Cruz County Job Board for openings for attorneys, investigators, social workers, paralegals, advocates, and core staff.

Interns & Clerks

We also offer internship opportunities for undergraduates, law students, and post-Bar law clerks. The Santa Cruz Volunteer Center coordinates our internships and lists openings.

Internships for Undergraduates

We offer summer and school-year internships for undergraduate students interested in learning more about public defense.  Our undergraduate internship programs are based in the Collateral Consequences & Reentry Unit and Investigations Division. Interns get hands-on experience with investigating cases and assisting with record clearance cases. 

Clerkships for Law Students

We offer school year and summer law clerkships to law students who want to get meaningful experience in public defense.  Our student law clerks are assigned to our Law & Motions Team. Law clerks get the opportunity to research, draft, and, when possible, argue original motions, under the supervision of an experienced attorney. Our law clerks also attend and observe hearings, such as arraignments, preliminary hearings, suppression hearings, and trials. Our law student clerkships provide law students with meaningful training to prepare them for work as public defenders. 

Post-Bar Clerkships

We offer an intensive Post-Bar clerkship experience that starts around August 1st and ends around November 30th.  Our Post-Bar Law Clerks get intensive in-house training before being cross-assigned to our Law & Motions and Misdemeanor teams. Post-Bar Law Clerks get meaningful legal research and writing experience and the opportunity to shadow attorneys in our misdemeanor and felony units. Under attorney supervision, Post-Bar Law Clerks may represent clients at arraignments and assist with cross-examining witnesses during preliminary hearings or misdemeanor trials. We make every effort to provide our Post-Bar Law Clerks with substantive courtroom experience.  Our clerkships are designed to provide clerks with meaningful training and substantive experience to prepare them for work as public defenders. 

Our internships and clerkships are unpaid and do not include a promise of future employment. All volunteers commit to working at least 16 hours a week. School year volunteer opportunities typically require a 9-month commitment. To apply for an internship or clerkship, email us at with the following information:

1.           Resume
2.           Brief cover letter stating interest and availability
3.           Writing sample (about 5 pages, on any topic)

For more information about current volunteer opportunities, please contact us.