Law Students

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BFDP offers law students an exciting opportunity for law students to  learn how to practice law while providing desperately needed help to  low income families. Law students are teamed up with one or two BFDP  staff attorneys who are trained to provide meaningful and intensive  supervision of law students. Students experience working first hand with  clients and gain exposure to a high volume litigation-oriented  practice.

BFDP attorneys spend most of their time in court  litigating fact finding trials, permanency and dispositional hearings  and emergency hearings challenging the removal of children from their  parents. Attorneys frequently file motions to dismiss and for summary  judgment as well as motions for increased supervision and for contempt.  Law students assist attorneys with all aspects of litigation affording  students an opportunity to develop a wide range of legal skills.

When I started the internship this summer, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m leaving at the end with a deep respect for the work you do and the commitment to your clients that you and everyone in the office show on a daily basis. I know it sounds cliche, but it was inspiring to work alongside people at BFDP who use their talents to advocate so forcefully for clients who the law has marginalized in so many ways.
I appreciated the wide range of work that you both made available for me to complete. Some of my friends in other offices spent their entire summer on Westlaw, and didn’t get the opportunity to learn about any of the other competencies that a lawyer needs to be effective. I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to interact with clients, prep for hearings, do one direct examination, and also work on writing projects in collaboration with others. It was very empowering to be trusted to complete projects that, at first blush, I didn’t feel qualified to undertake. I always felt like I could go to you for help when I needed it, but I definitely appreciated the trust you gave me to get things done.
This internship has motivated me to continue to do the kind of work that BFDP does.
— NYU Law Student 2010

Legal  interns help attorneys by interviewing clients, drafting motions and  pleadings, and preparing for emergency hearings and trials, which  includes preparing witnesses, drafting direct and cross examinations,  and reviewing agency case records.

Under our student practice  order, law students can appear in court under the supervision of an  attorney. Students also conduct research and writing on legal issues  that pertain to cases on which they are working. BFDP will consider work  study applicants.

BFDP’s collaboration with NYU School of Law’s  Family Defense Clinic promotes an environment of teaching and learning.  Each year, twelve law students and two social work students from the  Clinic support our work in our more complicated cases. During the school  year, BFDP hosts student externs from Cardozo’s Family Court Practice  Clinic and Fordham’s Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child  Advocacy. 

Thank you so much for such an amazing experience at BFDP! I truly enjoyed working with you! I not only enjoyed meeting the clients and working on their cases, but I really loved watching you in court. I learned SO much about being a lawyer who zealously advocates for her clients from you - something that law school tells us about our 1L year but fails to show us what it really means or how it’s done! I know it may sound cheesy, maybe even fake, but I mean it. You were caring for my experience there and you were always (always!) willing to give me advice.Doing BFDP with you this summer really reaffirms my commitment to my community and to the people most in need of adequate representation. Thank you for giving me an amazing experience this summer!
— NYU Law Student 2010

Click here to download the page from the Brooklyn Law School Pro Bono Opportunities 2012-2013 Brochure on the Second Chance Project.

To apply for an internship, send your resume, writing sample, and list of references to Lauren Shapiro, Director at lshapiro@bds.org.