Internship and Employment


Who are we? What do we do?

The San Diego County Public Defender Office was established in 1988 by a county resolution and has since evolved into one of the finest in the nation.  In 2009, the County of San Diego consolidated indigent defense services (Primary Public Defender, Alternate Public Defender, Office of Assigned Counsel, Juvenile Delinquency & Multiple Conflict Office) into one office. There are office locations throughout the county. We provide quality legal assistance to individuals charged with a crime in state court who are financially unable to retain private counsel. Mental health and juvenile court matters are handled by special units within the office. Our office proudly reflects the diversity and high level of commitment necessary for our mission.

Internship and Volunteer Opportunies

    The San Diego County Office of the Public Defender provides law students and other students with an unparalleled learning experience through a variety of nationally recognized internship opportunities.  Interns and Post Bars assist skilled attorneys in all aspects of case preparation and courtroom advocacy in a supportive environment with a true mentor system.  We pair novices with knowledgeable practitioners to give interns and Post Bars real-world experience while ensuring our clients receive the best representation possible.

Applicants should possess a passion for representing those whose civil liberties are at risk, an impeccable work ethic, an aptitude for oral advocacy, and strong research and writing skills.

Our office affirmatively seeks interns and attorneys of varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds, as well as those with bilingual skills. In our continuing effort to improve the quality of services we provide to a diverse client base, we actively encourage applications from members of groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, who are under-represented in the legal profession.


Internships are unpaid positions for the most part; however, the experience that the interns receive is priceless.  There are many funding resources available for students including Federal Work Study, Public Interest Work Study, Public Interest Law Foundation Grants, and other grants or fellowships offered by law schools and private foundations.

We encourage you to consult your school's Career Service or counselor to take advantage of the many grants and programs available. 

Employment Opportunities

    The San Diego County Public Defender's Office offers a variety of opportunities for both established professionals and law students seeking to enter the fast paced and rewarding field of criminal defense practice.

San Diego boasts the best climate within the continental United States, so our employees have the benefit of both a cutting edge professional environment and a great quality of life. 

Our main office, located in downtown San Diego, is in the middle of a vibrant urban area next to picturesque San Diego Bay. The various branch offices within the County of San Diego offer a diverse range of environment from the scenic back country of East County, to suburban North County, to the international flavor of South Bay, just minutes from the Mexican border.

Our office is always looking for enthusiastic and talented individuals who are dedicated to defending indigent citizens charged with crimes. As a county agency, our hiring process is run through the San Diego County Human Resources Department. When we have openings, they are posted on the San Diego County web site.

Diversity Pledge

Pledge to Confront Systemic Racism, Promote Equity, Inclusion and Address Implicit Bias.