Diversity Summer Law Fellowship

Through generous support from the NFCJ, NACDL is proud to offer its Diversity Summer Law Fellowship program. The Fellowship provides opportunities for law students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to work with exceptional and experienced criminal defense attorneys. Students receive a weekly stipend for up to eight weeks of summer employment. 

About the Fellowship

Eligible applicants: 1L and 2L students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, in good academic standing, and enrolled at an ABA-accredited law school. NACDL defines "historically underrepresented backgrounds" to include people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and persons with disabilities. This list, however is not exhuastive. See the FAQ section for additional information

Stipend: Fellows may earn up to $4,500 for the summer. Each fellow will receive $562 per week for up to 8 weeks of employment with a criminal defense office/practitioner.

NACDL membership is FREE for law students. NACDL offers mentorships and resources that will start your defense career off right. Join NACDL today! nacdl.org/studentformDeadline: Applications for the 2024 Diversity Summer Law Fellowship are now OPEN. Applications are due by 11:59pm on FEBRUARY 26, 2024.

Background and Demonstrated Interest: Selected students will have a demonstrated commitment to criminal justice as evidenced through their coursework, extracurricular activities, pre-law school organizational involvement, employment, or other relevant experiences.

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Supported by NFCJ

The NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice preserves and promotes the core values of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American criminal justice system.

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Placement: Students may apply to receive funding for either a summer internship they have already secured or can choose from the Fellowship's broad array of potential employers including solo practitioners, firms, and state and federal public defense agencies, located throughout the U.S. The list of potential summer hosts will be regularly updated on this page. 

How to Apply: To apply for a Diversity Summer Law Fellowship, students must submit:

  • Completed application
  • Resume (1-2 pages)
  • Brief writing exercise (1-2 pages) (a link to the writing prompt is at the end of the application)

 Diversity Fellowship Application

Learn More: Diversity Fellowship FAQs

Want to be a Host Organization?  Sign Up Now

Host Organizations

2024 Host Organizations include:



  • California: San Francisco Public Defender's Office
  • California: Santa Cruz County Office of the Public Defender
  • California: Solano County Public Defender
  • DC: Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • Florida: Public Defender's Office, 15th Judicial Circuit
  • Michigan: Neighborhood Defender Services of Detroit
  • Minnesota: Minnesota Board of Public Defense
  • Missouri: Missouri State Public Defender
  • Mississippi: Office of State Public Defendre
  • North Carolina: Mecklenburg County Public Defender's Office
  • New Jersey: Jones & Ortiz, P.A. (Glassboro)
  • Nevada: Clark County Public Defender's Office
  • Nevada: Law Offices of Maximillian A. Stovall (Reno)
  • Ohio: Montgomery County Public Defender's Office
  • South Dakota: Minnehaha County Public Defender
  • Tennessee: Office of the Federal Public Defender (Nashville)
  • Texas: Atascosa Area Advocates Public Defender Office
  • Texas: Bowie County Public Defender's Office
  • Texas: El Paso County Public Defender's Office
  • Texas: Neighborhood Defender Service of Texas
  • Texas: North Hill Country Public Defender's Office
  • Virginia: Chesterfield Public Defender's Office
  • Virginia: Fredericksburg Public Defender's Office
  • Virginia: Roanoke Public Defender's Office
  • Washington: Cowlitz County Office of Public Defense
  • Washington: Spokane County Public Defender's Office
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin State Public Defender

Note: NACDL defines “historically underrepresented backgrounds” based on the National Association of Law Placement’s 2017 Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms. NACDL further acknowledges that “historically underrepresented backgrounds” may not fall along traditionally recognized lines, and therefore invites all applicants to explain why they may feel they belong to an underrepresented group in the legal industry.

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