IPNO’s Internship Programs provide undergraduates, law students, and international volunteers with hands-on training in innocence and post-conviction work.
IPNO interns and volunteers work to address the root causes of wrongful convictions and unjust sentences by assisting attorneys and investigators with the investigation and litigation of individual cases and contributing to policy work that seeks to dismantle systemic racism and inequity.
Depending on case needs at any given time and the individual’s level of legal training, interns can expect to perform the following tasks:
- Conduct legal research and draft pleadings and motions
- Assist with locating and interviewing witnesses
- Visit and interview clients
- Develop transition plans for recently released or paroled clients
- Participate in case strategy sessions
- Request and review court, prosecution, and investigative files
- Read and digest trial transcripts
- Research public policy issues and prepare policy reports
- Attend court hearings, appellate arguments, and parole board hearings
- Welcome home an exonerated or released IPNO client
We expect IPNO interns to be committed, diligent, responsible, and willing to work hard and learn. In return, IPNO staff strives to provide interns with a substantive understanding of post-conviction, habeas, and innocence work, constructive feedback, and the opportunity to engage in meaningful and rewarding work. Our small size ensures that our interns receive regular supervision and support from attorneys and investigators. However, it also means that our attorneys are responsible for some of the clerical work (copying, tabbing, production of exhibits, etc.) that would be handled by paralegals at a larger firm, and interns will be asked to share in that responsibility.
IPNO offers three programs to interested students and volunteers:
Summer Legal / Undergraduate Internship: a 10-week, 40-hour per week, summer program for undergraduate, graduate, and law students. Students begin with a multi-day orientation and training program and are then assigned supervisors based on abilities and interests. The summer program includes bi-weekly brown bag lunches, film screenings, activities with other organizations, and field trips. Past events have included trips to the Whitney Plantation, EJI Legacy Museum, and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, baseball games, and day trips to the beach.
Spring / Fall Externship: a semester-long program for undergraduate, graduate, and law students able to work 10-20 hours per week. The part-time externship is flexible and can be done for pro bono service or class credits.
International Volunteer Program: a flexible, minimum 6-week program for students and recent graduates from outside the U.S. IPNO gives preference to those applicants who have or are obtaining a legal qualification. The applicant is responsible for securing the necessary visa to volunteer at IPNO. Past applicants have been eligible for B-1 visas.
Internships are unpaid, though we are happy to work with you to provide the documentation necessary to secure academic credit or school-based financial support for your work. Preference will be given to applicants who can work on-site at our office in New Orleans. IPNO may switch to a hybrid-model or remote work during COVID surges to ensure the safety of staff, interns, and clients.
Qualifications and Materials:
IPNO accepts applications from all levels of undergraduate, graduate, and law students, international applicants, and volunteers. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated interest in some aspect of our work (post-conviction law, indigent defense, investigation, criminal justice reform, and/or criminal law), but no specific coursework or experience is required.
To apply, submit the following documents in a SINGLE PDF file:
- A cover letter explaining your interest in the position
- A current résumé, including GPA
- Writing sample, no more than 10 pages, that demonstrates analytic, writing, and editing ability
Name your application file with your full name and position applied for (i.e. Jane Doe_Summer Law Clerkship; John Roe_ Fall Undergraduate Externship) and email as an attachment to Intern@ip-no.org.
Once we have reviewed and evaluated applications, selected applicants will be contacted to interview. Please do not call to inquire about your application status.