With a strong belief in giving students the opportunity to experience and learn client-centered, holistic advocacy, ArchCity Defenders provides academic calendar as well as summer internship and externship opportunities for law students, social work students, paralegal students, communications and digital media students, graphic design students, and undergraduates.
While continuing to provide holistic legal advocacy to the indigent in St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders is working on broad-based change to the St. Louis region’s criminal legal system. One way we advance this agenda is through the use of impact litigation. In order to effectively file and argue civil rights, impact cases, it is necessary to have extensive knowledge of legal precedents, state and federal statutes, and county and local ordinances.
Although impact litigation has become one effective tool for change, ArchCity Defenders remains dedicated to representing our clients and changing the lives of our clients on an individual basis. To this end, we provide direct representation in housing, elder, consumer, family, criminal, and other areas of the law. We also have a partnership with the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project to receive referrals and provide representation in immigration court bond detention hearings.
Legal interns perform fact and legal research; draft memos synthesizing their findings, motions, pleadings, and client communication; assist with discovery and investigation; interview and communicate with clients and witnesses; and attend court proceedings with staff attorneys.
Another effective tool for change is ArchCity’s policy and media advocacy work. Policy interns will research and analyze policy issues; draft legislation, issue briefs, policy statements, press releases, and op-eds; attend hearings; coordinate and assist with public education; track local, state, and federal legislation and regulatory actions; and build power and support broader campaigns through work for and with organizers and movements.
Social Work Practicum Internships
ACD currently hosts three different practicum opportunities to provide students with experience at the intersection of law and social work.
The development assistant practicum provides valuable nonprofit fundraising experience educating donors and funders about the unique work we do at ArchCityDefenders; provides space and support for the student to research and writing grant proposals; and offers a team approach to planning and executing events.
The direct services practicum student works alongside staff attorneys to provide assistance and support in assessing client needs, coordinating social services, and connecting them to resources.
The housing navigator practicum student provides more intensive social work services focused specifically on obtaining or maintaining housing security.
Communications and Digital Media and Graphic Design Internship
Communications and digital media and graphic design students assist with overarching goals and objectives as they relate to multimedia storytelling through advocacy, media outreach, social media, graphic design, photography, videography, and using data, investigative and writing skills for content development. Interns do not have to have skills or experience in all of those areas, but need to be a good fit with the ArchCity Defenders mission.
Interns will have opportunities to collaborate with ACD attorneys, staff, interns, and clients as well as local organizers, activists, and advocates on designated campaigns. We’re looking for folks who are creative, motivated, and feel a strong call to work for racial and economic justice.
Paralegal interns engage in some of the same work as our legal interns while working alongside ACD staff paralegals to request and organize documents and records, maintain case files, and perform other office operation functions. The internship is designed to ensure hands-on experience in a variety of paralegal roles within a law-firm setting.
Undergraduate interns provide invaluable support and have opportunities to work throughout the firm at ArchCity Defenders. Interns engage with clients, support attorneys and paralegals, organize and facilitate events and other development work, assist with firm communications, and assist with legislative and policy advocacy.