Internship Opportunities

The Broward Public Defender’s Office offers two types of internships for law students and undergraduate students: certified legal interns (CLI’s) and non-certified. Both programs afford invaluable experience working alongside assistant public defenders. Unfortunately, we have no paid internships.

NOTE:  We offer internships only to students. We do not accept law school graduates or attorneys as volunteers.


To be eligible to become a CLI a law student must do two things:

Obtain Florida Bar clearance for a CLI which takes approximately 3-6 months.

There are 2 options available:

Option 1-“Student Registration” for Florida Bar Admission:

This filing status begins the processing track for bar admission in Florida. It also provides the registrant clearance that is one of the eligibility requirements for participating in a Certified Legal Internship program. If filed by the earliest deadline provided under rule 2-23.1(a), the filing fee is $75. Students who anticipate pursuing admission to the Florida Bar upon graduation should choose this option.  From the opens in a new windowFlorida Bar Exam Home page click on “checklists,” and then select “Register as a First Year Student.”

Option 2- “Certified Legal Intern (CLI)” Registration:

This filing status provides CLI clearance only; it does not pursue admission to practice law in Florida. If filed within the first 250 days of beginning law school, the filing fee is $75; if filed after the first 250 days of beginning law school, the filing fee is $150. From the opens in a new windowFlorida Bar Exam Home page click on “checklists,” and then select “Register for Certified Legal Internship Clearance only.”

 Note: Filing a Student Registration (Option 1) or a Certified Legal Intern clearance (Option 2) does not guarantee clearance by the Florida Bar to become a Certified Legal Intern. Detailed information about background will be required as well as “character and fitness” approval by the Florida Board of Bar examiners to become a Certified Legal Intern. Since this process can take a while, it is strongly suggested this application process begins in the first semester of law school.

Be enrolled in a law school practice program

The student must receive clearance from the Florida Bar. To receive clearance, the student must be duly enrolled in a law school practice program in the United States that  is approved by the American Bar Association. Additionally, the student must have completed at least 4 semesters or 6 quarters of legal studies, and have earned no less than 48 semester hours or 72 quarter hours – or the equivalent thereof – of academic credit.  The student will register for the school’s Criminal Law Clinic or Externship, and complete an application for CLI certification with the school’s clinic/externship staff. The Dean of the law school will certify the student, and will contact us for our agreement to supervise and then the clinic/externship staff will submit the CLI application to the Florida Supreme Court for approval.

NON-CERTIFIED INTERNS (academic credit, work study or volunteers)

The non-certified internship is open to law students and undergraduate students. Internships in the Broward Public Defender’s Office may be performed for academic credit, on a “work-study”, or a volunteer basis. These interns provide litigation support to our attorneys. The assignments given to interns will depend on a variety of factors including any related experience, skills and interests, and how many law student interns we have. In nearly every instance interns go to the jails during their internship, so if this is something that makes you uncomfortable this internship may not be a good fit for you. Interns are typically assigned to Felony, Misdemeanor, Juvenile, Drug Court and Early Representation divisions of the Public Defender’s Office. They gain experience by conducting client interviews, research and writing, assisting in the investigation of cases, attending depositions, contacting potential defense witnesses and observing courtroom procedures. The volunteer experience often leads to a law student’s decision to become a Certified Legal Intern (CLI) at the Public Defender’s Office, or an undergraduate’s decision to attend law school. Our office is delighted when we see resumes from attorneys who have participated as CLI’s or volunteers in this office, so starting as a volunteer intern is a very good first step.

 The Broward Public Defender’s Office requires a minimum of 20 hours per week for a semester, which is difficult to do when taking a full course load. For this reason the majority of our volunteer interns join us during the summer.

 If you are able to satisfy these commitments and remain interested in volunteering during the Summer of 2021, please contact us at internship@browarddefender.orgcreate new email and in the subject line please put (1) your name, (2) “Volunteer Intern” and, (3) “Summer of 2021”   Send your resume, your date of birth and what your ideal start date would be. Please include any other scheduling information or specific details about your circumstances that we might need to determine your acceptance and best placement.

Due to the COVID 19 crisis and the normal operations of the courts of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit being suspended, a limited Summer 2021 Internship will be offered.

We will begin accepting resumes for Summer of 2021 Volunteer Interns starting in March 2021.


 We are unable to accommodate students for pro bono hours UNLESS they have previously completed a semester long internship with the Broward Public Defender’s Office, OR, they commit to a minimum of 20 hours per week for a semester as described above.