Structure of the Internship Program

Each fall, spring, and summer semester, the Investigative Internship Program has 6-8 positions available. All undergraduate students, recent graduates and graduate students are eligible. (More information on qualifications can be found in the section covering the selection process.)

Duration of the Internship

All interns are required to commit to a minimum of 15 weeks during the spring and fall terms or 12 weeks during the summer term. Because many students who participate in the program are undergraduate students enrolled in a college on a semester schedule, the commencement and conclusion dates are consistent with those schedules. Interns may sometimes be permitted to take off days over the course of the term, but applicants should not make plans that create significant conflicts during the internship.

The beginning and ending dates for each term are noted below. Interns must be available full-time during the first week of the internship to attend the mandatory training sessions. Applicants who can extend their stay at the Clinic past the listed end dates should note it on the materials they submit.

Interns who are participating in “Semester in Washington” programs:
Exemptions for the time commitment can be made if you are involved in a program that has a predetermined length and your housing provisions are dependent upon those provided by the program. The ability to make exemptions will depend upon the current needs of the Clinic. Contact the Investigations Supervisor if you would like to request an exemption.

Time Requirements

Investigative interns must be able to commit to a minimum of 3 full days per week (24 hours) in the Spring and Fall semesters, although a full-time commitment is preferred. The Clinic has found that it is difficult for interns to fully realize the benefits of the internship if their schedules are too limited, and it would be nearly impossible for the interns to complete the investigative work on their cases in less than 3 days/week. Interns with fewer time constraints are given preference. Note that for the Summer semester we require a time commitment of 5 days a week (40 hours).

Training Week Conflicts:

Interns must be available full time the first week of the internship to attend the mandatory training sessions.

After the first week of training, interns should expect that they will have some work that will need to be accomplished during non-business hours. For instance, some witnesses are only available during evening or weekend hours, and days leading up to a trial are generally longer due to last-minute preparation. As a result, interns should expect that they will be working some odd hours and plan accordingly. Interns are not expected to work during times that they are scheduled for class, work, seminars, or other required activities. However, interns must allow for some flexibility outside of those requirements.

Regardless of whether an intern is scheduled to work full-time during the term, every intern is required to complete the entire first-week training session.

Training Program

Interns must be available full time the first week of the internship, to attend the mandatory training sessions conducted by the Director of the Investigative Internship and the faculty and fellows of the three clinics. Training covers the essential aspects of criminal defense investigation through lectures, discussions, and interactive exercises.

Regardless of whether an intern is scheduled to work full-time during the term, every intern is required to complete the entire first-week training session.

Work Location

The three criminal clinics are located within the Law Center’s main building. The D.C. courthouse, federal district courthouse, police headquarters, mayor’s office, and the prosecutor’s office are all within walking distance. For students without access to a car, the Law Center is accessible by public transportation.

Although the interns will spend time in their attorneys’ offices, there are also two investigative intern offices, which include desktop computers for use in online research and memo writing. Most of the investigative work, however, is accomplished in the field. Interns will travel throughout neighborhoods in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and to local courthouses and police stations. The training week emphasizes how to remain safe while in the field.

Access to Transportation

Interns who use their cars for investigation must maintain their own automobile insurance as the Clinic funds do not allow for separate coverage. Investigators who use their cars for this internship are reimbursed for work-related mileage and are given free, full-time parking privileges (including overnight) in the garage at the Law Center. While it is beneficial to have full-time access to a vehicle, it is not required.


The atmosphere in the Clinic offices is informal, and sensible casual clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers are encouraged for field investigation. Interns should be prepared to dress in court-appropriate attire if they are required to testify in court.


The Clinic does not provide intern housing, but information on local resources is available upon request. Interns may also request that their names be released to other interns seeking housing if a shared housing situation is desired.

Tour-Lecture Series

The Clinic strives to provide investigative interns with an educational and rewarding experience. Therefore, to broaden the interns’ exposure to the criminal legal system, several tours and lectures are offered each term. Past tours have included the Medical Examiner’s Office, where interns have had the opportunity to view an autopsy; the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol; the Mobile Crime Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department, which collects physical evidence at crime scenes; St. Elizabeths Hospital, which provides residential treatment to more than 200 men and women with serious mental illnesses; and the DC Jail and F.B.I. buildings.

Previous interns have also participated in “ride-alongs” with the Metropolitan Police Department and DC Fire and EMS, and interns are encouraged to “court watch” criminal hearings or trials in their free time.

For those interested in attending law school, they will be given a meeting with Georgetown Law’s Director of Admissions and have free access to the law library.

Certain tours are subject to availability and may not be available every term.

Financing the Internship

The Investigative Internship Program is an unpaid internship. The Clinic does not have funding to pay investigative interns, but participants are reimbursed for on-the-job mileage and work-related expenses. For interns inside the Washington Metropolitan area, the costs are minimal. For interns who are traveling to D.C., for this internship, the cost of the internship will be living expenses. Housing is generally the greatest expense, but as indicated above, assistance in identifying less expensive housing is provided.

The Clinic does not want a potential applicant’s limited finances to prevent participation, so applicants are encouraged to seek outside funding. Some non-profit foundations and many schools now offer financial assistance to students who participate in unpaid public interest internships.

Receiving Academic Credit for the Internship

Many investigative interns are undergraduate students who are receiving academic credit for the internship. The amount of credit that is awarded varies between schools and departments. It is the responsibility of the intern to identify the college and departmental requirements for receiving credit and to select and make arrangements with a faculty sponsor, if appropriate. The Investigations Supervisor will submit any documentation needed to facilitate credit arrangements between interns and their home schools.

Clinic interns are not enrolled at Georgetown University and do not receive academic credit from the Law Center. Any credit awarded must be granted by the school in which a student is enrolled.

Health and Safety Guidelines

The Investigative Internship Program requires interns to spend a great deal of time conducting field work, and it is important that all interns be aware of the potential risks that accompany the work. The work of an investigative intern involves direct contact with witnesses and defendants in the field. Participants will be conducting interviews of witnesses in their homes and in the streets, and interns may be going door to door looking for potential witnesses. It is also important that interns understand the expectations of the clinics and abide by all safety guidelines and

Interns should recognize that criminal defense investigation in the District of Columbia, as in any metropolitan area, involves some risks. Given these risks, the Investigative Internship Program provides instruction in safety protocols and conflict resolution during the initial training week. Interns are taught strategies for avoiding or minimizing risks and are provided guidelines for resolving difficult situations, should they arise. Of course, we cannot control the actions of others, no matter the training and supervision. We urge applicants to consider all risks and determine whether they will be comfortable navigating these risks before making the decision to apply.