Law Student Internships

Following two recent policy successes which pushed the needle on reforming the criminal legal system in Georgia, GJP seeks candidates for our summer internship program. Our recent legislative wins include SB 288, which expands expungement of convictions and SB 105, which allows individuals on probation to terminate their sentence after three years if certain criteria are met.  GJP has two overarching goals: reducing the number of Georgians under correctional control and reducing barriers to reentry. These goals reflect GJP’s commitment to racial justice. It is an exciting time at GJP as we develop plans to increase the impact of our work and ensure successful implementation of SB 288 and SB 105. We have several new projects that we are working on, including restorative justice, meeting the legal needs of people reentering from prison, and the Second Chance Desk in Cobb County (expungement self-help desk). We are looking for law students who are passionate about racial and social justice to join our creative and dedicated team for the summer of 2022.

GJP is a 35-year-old non-profit located in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.  Our work spans three areas: Holistic Criminal Defense and Probation Representation; Advocacy and Outreach; and Reentry Lawyering including Criminal Records.  You can read more about our work at www.GJP.org. GJP is funded through private donations and currently has 29 staff members including lawyers, social workers, legal assistants, and development and administrative staff.

At the heart of our work is the belief that the criminal justice system is biased against poor people and people of color, that justice-involved individuals deserve respect and zealous representation whether or not they can afford an attorney, and that an arrest or a conviction should not be a life sentence because of the impact of so called “collateral consequences.”

Typically, students work at the Georgia Justice Project office in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood near the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in downtown Atlanta.  While we certainly hope that we will be able to be together in person, GJP will decide closer to the start of the summer whether the internship will be virtual or in person. If offered an internship position, students should be prepared to be in person in Atlanta. Summer internships generally are full-time and last for ten weeks.  GJP works hard to make sure our students have a wide range of experiences, get to work directly with clients, meet local justice leaders, and participate in educational events.  Our interns are consistently thrilled with the meaningful work they are able to participate in over the summer and the diverse range of experiences.

GJP externs may assist with one or all three facets of legal work at GJP depending on their interest and our current needs: (1) criminal defense (2) policy advocacy; and (3) reentry legal services:

  • Criminal Defense: GJP represents indigent criminal defendants in municipal, state, and superior court (felonies and misdemeanors). Students assist with all aspects of a case. During the summer, students interview potential clients, gather information from court and police personnel, visit crime scenes, interview witnesses, participate in negotiations with prosecutors, perform legal research, draft and file motions, and observe court proceedings.
  • Policy Advocacy: GJP’s policy work aims to remove barriers to reentry so that Georgians who have past involvement in the criminal justice system can access economic opportunity, support their families, and contribute to their communities. GJP has established itself as a subject-matter expert with legislators by providing factual data and first-hand testimony about the impact of Georgia’s laws on directly-impacted people.  GJP’s current legislative priorities are eliminating poverty-based driver’s license suspensions, removing barriers to occupational licensing, and expanding criminal record restriction and sealing (expungement). Students will assist with research, drafting materials, and outreach.
  • Barriers to Reentry: GJP assists clients whose criminal record acts as a barrier to opportunities, such as employment and housing. We file applications for restriction (expungement) of criminal records and file related motions and petitions, we help remove barriers to driver’s licenses, and we assist with child support modifications.  Work will include correcting clients’ criminal history reports, drafting and arguing court motions, and applying for pardons.  Students will also assist with legal research and writing needs related to appeals and other criminal records issues.  Students will assist with our collaboration with a new and innovative reentry prison in Atlanta to remove barriers for the men who are about to be released from the facility.

REQUIREMENTS

  • GJP will consider both current 1Ls and 2Ls
  • An interest in the criminal justice system and racial and social justice
  • Strong writing and research skills
  • Organized and prepared to work in a collaborative and team-driven work environment
  • Updated vaccination against COVID-19

PROCESS

  • Submit a cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample (no more than five pages) via email and combined as one PDF document with subject line SUMMER INTERN APPLICATION 2021; submit to careers@GJP.org.
  • 2Ls and 1Ls – Applications accepted until January 17th, 2022; decisions will be made on a rolling basis so please submit your materials as early as possible. If all positions are filled before January 17th, we will close applications

Georgia Justice Project is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, which welcomes applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations and strongly encourages people with a criminal history and people who have a family member impacted by the justice system to apply.