Internships and Externships

WDA welcomes undergraduates, law students and recent graduates to apply for internship and externship positions anytime during the year. Prospective volunteers have the opportunity to work closely with WDA’s staff of experienced legal advocates in variety of subject matter areas related to criminal defense representation. Positions are also available in several of our special projects including the Immigration Project and the Incarcerated Parents Project.

WDA is a dynamic indigent defense advocacy and support organization with a long history of promoting zealous and innovative defense representation in the State of Washington and nationally.  Law students and other volunteers are key players in supporting WDA’s mission to amplify the voice of the public defense community and provide support for high quality legal representation throughout Washington. Our volunteers assist our legal staff in advocating for improvements to the criminal justice system, child welfare system and immigration policy. They help to provide technical assistance and training to public defenders across the state. Interns also have the opportunity to collaborate with other justice system stakeholders to address systemic problems and policy issues that directly impact public defenders, their clients and client communities.


We are seeking students and recent graduates with a passion for social justice and criminal justice reform.  WDA values applicants with independent initiative, creative problem-solving skills and flexibility who will thrive in a dynamic and supportive work environment. Law Student applicants should have strong legal research and writing skills.


WDA is not able to provide compensation for internships and externships and is only able to offer positions to students whose internships are self-supported through a school public interest program, an externship for credit, work-study or a willingness to volunteer.

Application Process

Please apply by sending a letter of interest, resume (in one PDF), and a short 5-10 page legal writing sample (if available) to wda@defensenet.org with subject line “Volunteer Application.” Questions also can be directed there or to 206-623-4321.

Washington Defender Association is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.