Undergraduate College Students

The Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office typically has several undergraduate college interns. Undergraduate interns will learn first-hand the inner workings of the criminal justice system. The experience gained by undergraduate students who volunteer at Contra Costa County Public Defender's Office will provide them with an advantage in applying for jobs within the criminal justice system. The internship will also supply undergraduate students with real world experience to put on an application when applying to graduate school or law school. 

Investigation Support: Compilation of a database system of contacts and clients, fax subpoenas, pickup records, assist with social media searches.

Information Technology: Reset passwords, copy and burn disks, assist in audio and video editing, assist with equipment rollouts.
If you are interested in applying for an undergraduate internship, please submit your cover letter and resume to the Administrative Services Officer, Joanne Sanchez-Rosa at between March 1 through April 30 . We will screen submissions, conduct interviews and make determinations in May.

Social Work Students

The Contra Costa County Public Defender’s office has opportunities for first and second year MSW students or 4th year BASW students to complete field internships. Interns assist staff attorneys by providing written biopsychosocial reports and assessments of adult and juvenile clients. 

The interns will use the biopsychosocial model to complete written social history reports, conduct needs assessments and make referrals to community based organizations, substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment as an alternative to incarceration.  

If you are interested in the Social Work Internship program, you may forward resumes and cover letters during the months of February through April to Angelene Musawwir, LCSW at

High School Students

Responsible, academically motivated students are invited to serve as Summer Interns in the Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender.  High School students who are energetic, achievement oriented and excited about making a positive contribution in their community are invited to participate.  This position is open to students in grades 9-12 with a strong interest in law and justice issues.  This Law Practice handles the full range of Public Defense issues including:  criminal complaints, forensic evidence issues, juvenile, mental health and conservatorship matters.  We are located in the cities of Martinez and Richmond, and are easily accessible by public transit.

Interns will gain an understanding and appreciation of the role of Defense Attorneys in the Criminal Justice System.  This is an unpaid internship with flexible working arrangements (but a minimum commitment of 2-4 days per week, 5-6 hours per day), over the summer break (all or part).  Volunteer community service hours will be documented with a Certificate of Completion, at the end of the summer program.  

Depending on the interest and capabilities of the students there are multiple opportunities for rewarding internships: 

  • Attorney Support: Shadow one of our Criminal Defense Lawyers to observe Court Proceedings, assist with case file preparation and organize case-notes, provide general office support (filing, photocopying and redaction of documents).
  • Department HR: Assist with general administrative duties such as document filing, photocopying documents and learn about employment rules and regulations.
  • Clerical Support:  Assist with scanning, copying, filing, and preparing case files.

Start Date:    June 13, 2018
Location(s):       800 Ferry Street, Martinez
                        627 Ferry Street, Martinez
                        3811 Bissell Avenue, Richmond
Contact:    Joanne Sanchez-Rosa
                (925) 335-8065

Skills Needed:

  • Strong communication skills and punctuality
  • Reliable transportation to and from jobs sites
  • Strong organization skills and the ability to work independently
  • Interest in the Courts and Justice System
  • Ability to maintain strict client confidentiality

Training Provided:

  • General Office Procedures
  • Casefile setup and document storage and records retention procedures
  • Exposure to Court Proceedings and legal terminology


  • Enjoy an environment of hands-on learning and skills development
  • Gain Public Service volunteer experience
  • Work in a diverse professional environment