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8 Criminal Justice Internships for High School Students

High school students should consider applying for criminal justice internships to gain firsthand experience and insight into the workings of the legal system. Participating students can explore various aspects of law enforcement, criminal investigation, and courtroom procedures, allowing them to discern if a career in criminal justice aligns with their interests and aspirations. Early exposure to criminal justice and criminal law can also significantly enhance a student’s college application. 

Admissions committees value applicants who have demonstrated commitment and engagement beyond the classroom, and internships in criminal justice demonstrate precisely that. Furthermore, such experiences equip students with a deeper understanding of societal issues, ethics, and the complexities of the legal system, preparing them to make meaningful contributions to their future academic endeavors and beyond. Here is a list of 8 criminal justice internships for high school students!

The Internship and High School Volunteer Program by Miami-Dade State Attorney is meticulously designed to offer individuals a comprehensive immersion into the criminal justice system and the role of the State Attorney’s Office within it. Through a thorough screening and interview process, participants are prepared for a hands-on experience that includes assisting the public with criminal and civil matters, conducting sworn testimony, attending bond hearings, and conducting legal research. This program benefits aspiring attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, as well as those pursuing degrees in social work and criminal justice, with many participants earning school credits for their internship.

Location: Miami, Florida

Stipend/Cost: Unpaid, although there are opportunities to earn school credit!

Application Deadline: Unspecified, but the application form is currently available here!

Internship Duration: Variable based on the student’s availability.

Eligibility: Open to high school students in Miami-Dade County

The Manhattan District Attorney’s High School Internship Program offers a comprehensive five-week internship, providing students with an immersive glimpse into the workings of the criminal justice system. Participants will partake in engaging workshops, interactive discussions, and a mock trial program. Additionally, interns will cultivate professionalism in an office environment and gain hands-on experience. As a bonus, interns will receive compensation at minimum wage rates.

Location: Manhattan, NY

Stipend/Cost: Interns are paid minimum wage

Application Deadline: The deadline for the 2024 summer application was March 8th. TBA for 2025.

Internship Dates: 5-week summer session, TBA for 2025

Eligibility: Applicants must be high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors who live in or attend school in Manhattan!

The Summer Law Institute (SLI) is a five-week work-learn program tailored for rising ninth graders, aiming to cultivate their professional identity and introduce them to the world of law. Hosted by seven prestigious law schools in New York City, including Brooklyn Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU School of Law, and St. John’s University Law School, SLI immerses students in criminal justice topics, guided by law students and legal professionals. Participants engage in hands-on activities, field trips to legal institutions, and mock-trial simulations, culminating in a competition before real judges. Successful completion of SLI opens doors for students to apply to the 4-year College Bound program, setting them on a path toward realizing their aspirations.

Location: Participants will be assigned to one of seven law schools: Brooklyn Law School, Cardozo School of Law, Columbia Law School, CUNY School of Law, Fordham School of Law, NYU School of Law, St. John’s School of Law!

Stipend/Cost: No cost, stipend provided!

Application Deadline: Unspecified, but the application form is currently available here!

Internship Dates: 5 weeks over the summer, generally starting the week following the end of the NYC Department of Education school year.

Eligibility: Rising ninth-grade students from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, are eligible to apply for the SLI! 

The Atlanta Bar Association offers a rigorous summer internship program tailored for high school students, particularly relevant for those interested in criminal justice. Interns are tasked with various responsibilities, including tasks like summarizing depositions and attending court hearings, providing invaluable exposure to the legal field. Responsibilities such as assembling trial notebooks and bates stamping documents offer hands-on experience that directly relates to criminal justice procedures. The intensive orientations and weekly meetings ensure interns are well-prepared and equipped with essential skills and knowledge relevant to pursuing a career in criminal justice.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Stipend/Cost: No cost, $2,000.00 stipend for six weeks ($333 per week)

Application Deadline: The application deadline for the 2024 program was February 9, 2024! TBA for 2025.

Internship Dates: Typically 6 weeks from the end of May to the middle of July as per the previous year’s schedule!

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors from anywhere can apply but commuter expenses are not covered!

The United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York provides numerous unpaid internships for talented students. These placements include roles in Library Legal Information, Automated Litigation Support, Library Legal Information and Resource Center, and Paralegal Legal Studies. These opportunities offer valuable insights for students interested in pre-law, helping them contextualize concepts related to criminal justice and community crime prevention!

Location: Brooklyn and Central Islip, NYC

Stipend/Cost: There is no cost to attend. The internship is unpaid.

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 were accepted on a rolling basis till April 5, 2024. TBA for 2025.

Internship Dates: 10 weeks from June to August as per the previous year’s schedule!

Eligibility: Rising seniors from an accredited high school can apply.

The Judicial Youth Corps Program, offered by the Supreme Judicial Court, aims to educate student interns about the Massachusetts court system and the rule of law. Selected interns are required to attend two sessions. The first session is an educational training session where they receive mentorship and instruction from volunteer judges, lawyers, and court employees. This session covers various topics including juvenile law, criminal procedure, family law, landlord-tenant disputes, the jury system, and the appellate process. The second session entails the summer internship itself, where interns are placed as paid interns at local courthouses!

Location: Massachusetts (Boston/Worcester/Springfield)

Application Deadline: TBA

Program Dates Two compulsory components — education and training session from May through June and Summer internship from July through August. Specific dates vary based on the location chosen!

Eligibility: High School sophomores, juniors, and seniors attending a public school in Worcester, Boston, or Springfield are eligible to apply!

The California Innocence Project, a law clinic dedicated to providing pro-bono assistance to individuals wrongly convicted, offers a trimester-based legal internship opportunity. This position is particularly valuable for those interested in post-conviction law or criminal law. Interns are expected to commit 15–35 hours per week to their duties. The CIP provides comprehensive in-house training, ensuring interns are equipped with knowledge of wrongful convictions and the specific tasks integral to their mission. Responsibilities may include legal research, copying, filing, client support, and other duties as specified by the CIP!

Location: San Diego, CA

Stipend/Cost: No cost, unpaid but 4 units of class credit provided for the summer internship!

Application Deadline: May 1, 2024 for the summer session.

Internship Dates: Summer, Spring, and Fall sessions

Eligibility: High school, college, law, and post-bar students are eligible to apply!

The Summer Law Intern Program, a collaborative effort between the Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Independent School District, offers a valuable opportunity for students. Participants are placed with a law firm, non-profit organization, or corporate legal department for an 8-week internship. The work schedule is flexible, determined by the employer, allowing for full-time or part-time commitments. Selected interns also receive a Summer Learning curriculum to familiarize themselves with expectations and norms within legal settings. Educational activities organized by the DBA and a concluding reception further enrich the experience!

Location: Dallas, TX

Stipend/Cost: No cost, stipend provided between $1000 — $2000 depending on whether it’s part-time or full-time!

Application Deadline: The 2024 program deadline was April 3, 2024. TBA for 2025.

Internship Dates: 4-week or 8-week, part-time, or full-time placements during the summer!

Eligibility: High school juniors in Independent School Districts in Dallas can apply. 

The Ladder Internship is a prestigious program designed for high school students seeking hands-on experience with startups, including those in the legal-tech sector. Ladder Startups operate across diverse fields such as media, technology, finance, environmental science, healthcare, and more, offering a broad spectrum of opportunities for exploration. Throughout the internship, each student undertakes a real-world project and presents their findings upon completion. 

Additionally, interns benefit from personalized guidance, working closely with both their startup manager and a dedicated Ladder Coach. This unique coaching+work-based model sets the Ladder Internship apart from conventional internships, providing invaluable mentorship and support as students navigate the startup landscape. The 8-week virtual internship offers an exceptional opportunity for students interested in criminal justice to gain practical skills and insights within innovative, entrepreneurial environments.

Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Application Deadline: May 14

Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!

Another avenue to showcase motivation and commitment is through independent research.

One other option - the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

For those intrigued by university-level research in criminal justice, ethics, and policy, there’s a remarkable opportunity: the Lumiere Research Scholar Program. This exclusive online high school program, founded in collaboration with researchers from esteemed institutions like Harvard and Oxford, offers a selective platform for aspiring scholars. Last year alone, we received over 2100 applications for just 500 available spots in the program! If you’re eager to delve into the realm of criminal justice research, here’s the application form!

Trisha Malhotra, an Ashoka University alumna, has 5 years of experience being a freelance writer and currently writes for Lumiere Education. She is passionate about music, reading, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well as a devoted cat parent.

Image Source: Legal Outreach logo



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