Interns, Externs & Volunteer Opportunities

Application portals for fall 2024 internships are open.

The Public Defender’s Office offers internship and volunteer opportunities for interested students throughout the year. We strive to create a challenging but supportive educational environment for our interns. We hope our interns and volunteers will leave our program with a thorough understanding of our client-centered indigent defense practice and practical skills they can apply in the future. We accept a limited number of student interns during the school year and run a formal internship program every summer.

Law student interns, under the supervision of an Assistant Public Defender, may conduct client interviews, research and write legal memoranda, investigate cases, interview witnesses, observe negotiations with the District Attorney, and observe other court proceedings. Students who have a limited practice license pursuant to Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rule 7, § 10.03 will also have the opportunity to directly represent clients in court proceedings under the supervision of an Assistant Public Defender.

We also accept college and high school student volunteers. Our student volunteers have the opportunity to work with our Investigators, Social Services teams, or Communications and to perform more of the clerical functions within the office. If interested, student volunteers can also expect an opportunity to shadow an attorney in court for a day, along with opportunities to interact with and learn from the attorneys in the office. Students must be 16 or older to volunteer.

Summer Intern Program

We host student interns for approximately 10 weeks during the summer months. The Summer Intern program is an immersive experience that helps students discern whether a career as a public defender is right for them. We host law student interns and a limited number of high school and college interns each summer. In addition to the opportunities all interns receive at the Nashville Defenders, the Summer Intern program includes a formal orientation and trial skills training program and regularly scheduled discussions about issues within the criminal legal system. Because we recognize the likelihood that our interns (like our staff) will experience trauma of various types during their work with us, we create intentional opportunities for students to process their experiences with each other and with experienced public defenders throughout the summer. We prefer our interns to spend their full summers with us so that we can create the best environment for growth and learning.

The number of students we accept for a summer internship varies with our needs and resources.

Current Opportunities:

1L and 2L, Undergrad and High School
You will use the links posted below and follow the instructions to apply. We will only accept applications during the time HR portal links are available. For a complete application schedule, see below. Please check back for fall, spring, or summer application links.

Internship Enrolled Law Student – Public Defender (Fall)

Internship (Undergrad/H.S.) – Public Defender (Fall)

Reminder 3Ls
– Please apply anytime through this Metro Nashville Hiring portal link: Assistant Public Defender Position

Additional questions?
You may email general inquiries to or contact Ms. Sandy Ramey, Legal Assistant to Georgia Sims – Assistant Deputy Public Defender at

ALL Internship Parameters
Summer application period: August 1st through February 28th
Fall application period: May 1st through June 30th
Spring application period: October 1st through Nov. 30th

2nd-year law students

1st-year law students

    • College degree and have completed at least 1 semester of law school
    • Summer position:
      • Full time 40 hrs/week
    • Fall position:
      • Part-time 8 – 12 hrs/week
    • Spring position:
      • Part-time 8 – 12 hrs/week

High school/Undergrad

    • High school diploma or full-time enrollment in high school
    • Over 16
    • If under 18, written parent/guardian permission due to the challenging and mature subject matter of our work
    • Summer position:
      • Full time 40 hrs/week
    • Fall position:
      • Part-time 8 – 12 hrs/week
    • Spring position:
      • Part-time 8 – 12 hrs/week