Federal Public Defender Internship
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Educational Objectives

The Federal Public Defender’s internship program provides law students with an opportunity to apply substantive law to the defense of federal criminal charges. The program develops student skills in problem solving and critical thinking and guides students toward exercise of these skills in an ethical and professional manner. Students will assist the Federal Public Defender's office by doing projects requiring legal research, legal analysis, and legal writing. The objectives and methods of the internship were developed jointly by Drake faculty and the Federal Public Defender. Copies of this are provided the Federal Public Defenders Office as needed. Students are informed of the objectives and methods of the internship during an interview with the faculty supervisor at the beginning of the semester.

Faculty Supervisor

Professor Robert R. Rigg, Professor and Criminal Defense Program Director

Field-Placement Supervisors

• Nick Drees, Federal Public Defender Office

• Jim Whalen Federal Public Defender Office

• B. John Burns Federal Public Defender Office

• Timothy Ross-Boon Federal Public Defender Office

• John Messina Federal Public Defender Office


Students apply for the internship by submitting a resume through the faculty advisor. Students are interviewed by the faculty advisor and Federal Defender’s Office. Selection of the student(s) is based on factors including:

• Research and writing ability as demonstrated by a writing sample. Consideration is given to a student’s participation in moot court, law review or journal.

• Completion of 30 hours of class work and a minimum GPA of 2.0.

• References from faculty, attorneys, and judges. Selection is made by the faculty advisor in consultation with the Director of the Federal Public Defender Office.

Last Modified: 1/26/2012 12:15:00 PM by Megan Flynn