The mission of Brooklyn Defender Services is to provide high quality legal representation and related services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney. Brooklyn Defender Services is a public defender organization that represents nearly 35,000 people each year who are too poor to afford an attorney. Our staff consists of specialized attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals and administrative staff who are experts in their individual fields. Our staff are highly qualified and specially trained to provide excellent legal representation to people charged with a crime or facing child welfare proceedings.
Every client receives the services needed to defend his or her case, including an investigator to track down witnesses or recover evidence, a social worker to improve the life circumstances of our client and an excellent attorney who will analyze the legal issues in the case, try to negotiate a fair resolution of the matter and will represent the client at a trial. BDS has many services for our clients on-site, including civil legal advocacy, such as assistance with educational needs of our clients or their children, housing and benefits advocacy and immigration advice and representation. People who are arrested face many obstacles, even if their case was resolved in their favor. Some examples are loss of employment, suspension from school, eviction from public or private housing, deportation, forfeiture of property and loss of licenses. Our goal is to help clients with these issues as they arise.
We also work to change these systems by challenging their legality and advocating for changes in the law. Each year, there are 100,000 arrests in Brooklyn. Eighty-five percent of these arrests are for misdemeanors or a non-criminal offense. Ninety percent of the people arrested cannot afford an attorney. Brooklyn Defender Services staffs the court so that every person has an attorney as soon as they see the judge.
BDS seeks undergraduates with a commitment to social and criminal justice issues for our Investigative Assistant Internship. Investigative assistants locate, review, and download video surveillance; photograph and document crime scenes; and conduct background research on witnesses. They additionally provide administrative assistance to the investigations unit. While some of the investigative assistant’s work will be remote at home, some of it will be out in the field—in private homes, in local businesses, on the street and in the greater community. Ideal applicants should be comfortable working all over Brooklyn and should possess characteristics necessary to approach and interact with strangers about sensitive subjects.
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Interns are responsible for securing housing for the duration of the internship.
The ideal candidate have:
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Interest in criminal defense and the rights of the accused
- Fluency in another language is highly desired, but not required
Additional or preferred qualifications:
- Ability to work independently and in a collaborative setting
Writing Sample Required?
- Vaccinations / COVID-19