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Prospective Interns
Current openings:
Winter Intern Positions: 
February 1, 2012-April 30, 2012 
Specific Openings: 
3 legal-investigation
1 journalism-writing
5 event planning 
8-14 wks (flexible start date)
150 hr min. 
Application Deadline
Send resume & cover letter by February 10: Reviewed on rolling basis.
Phone Interviews
January 15-February 15
Selected interns must attend orientation mid-February
Student Snippets:  

So what are other IM interns saying?

Kiley says, 

 has already been one of my most defining experiences in my professional development."  More

Val says, "

The rarely-seen stories about hope and justice for the prejudiced that had once inspired me so deeply--those had suddenly become my reality." More

Katie says, "no single intern-ship could have affected me more."  More  

(Coming Soon) Prospective students:
  • Application
  • Handbook
  • FAQs  
Current students:

Welcome to the Innocence Matters Student Page!  

As the Director of Student Affairs, let me be the first to welcome you as you explore your interest in joining us at Innocence Matters.

My internship at Innocence Matters provided me a chance to do fulfilling, important work in a supportive setting and I highly recommend it.  Check out my video journal for more details.

We will be adding a considerable amount of useful information on this page in the next several months.  Once completed, you should be able to find answers to all your questions.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to send your questions to me or Deirdre.  We would love to hear any suggestions you may have for how we might improve this page.     

Jess Farris

We appreciate your interest in our work  

We offer a select group of motivated students of law, journalism, criminal justice, political science, psychology or sociology the opportunity to intern with us throughout the year.  We seek passionate, dependable interns to help with the various aspects of our organization.  Legal interns will learn substantive and practical skills and sharpen their knowledge of criminal law.  Interns from other disciplines will help implement programs designed to promote and foster justice.

Qualities we are looking for:

The nature of Innocence Matters work demands strict confidentiality and adherence to protocol; because of this, we seek professional, responsible interns.  Additional characteristics of an Innocence Matters intern: dedication, teamwork, initiative, enthusiasm for learning, ability to incorporate feedback, thoroughness and attention to detail.  Above all, Innocence Matters selects interns who exhibit dependability as this is essential to the success of both your learning experience and our clients' liberty.    

The Innocence Matters experience:  

Several components may comprise an intern's work: direct representation, developing and implementing projects, such as the I Am Innocent Project, and possibly assuming a role for the growth of the organization. 

Your direct representation work will/may include investigating claims of factual innocence, researching legal issues (such as Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Brady violations and Actual Innocence), interviewing witnesses, meeting with clients in prison, visiting crime scenes, seeking discovery, filing open records requests, drafting habeas petitions, preparing direct and cross examinations for anticipated evidentiary hearings, and appearing on the record in court (if bar certified).    

Your collaborative work with the I Am Innocent preventative program will include drafting intake forms and literature for I Am Innocent participants, meeting with senior partners and advisory board members, developing the infrastructure and pacing for the program, handling a limited number of actual cases to test our planned approach, promotion of the program, possible jail visits and event planning for our public awareness events.

You will work closely with the Executive Director of Innocence Matters who aids in developing road maps for individual projects, organizes structured meetings for guidance throughout projects and provides ample feedback.  Additional guidance occurs with the mid-point evaluations and when requested.

Aside from the extern/intern evaluation forms your school may require, Innocence Matters requires mid-point evaluations that provide a detailed and informative assessment of your work.  Both students and the Director complete evaluation forms in which they identify strengths and areas for improvement; doing so establishes an open, productive avenue of communication as well as opportunities to clarify and refine your role for the duration of your tenure at Innocence Matters.

Intern Testimonials:

Jess Farris, Earle Mack School of Law and Drexel University, Summer 2010

My time at Innocence Matters not only honed my criminal law understanding, it stoked my passion for justice and began my practical training as a lawyer.  I am positive I will be a better and more careful lawyer because of my time here.

At Innocence Matters, I learned the importance of client communication and gained substantive experience in client and witness interviewing, legal ethics (especially the importance of competence), planning investigations, drafting affidavits and summary reports, and pretrial practice.  My experience culminated in writing sections of a habeas corpus petition; while doing so, I remained energized by my frequent interaction with our client and my newfound affinity for working with the incarcerated.  

Of my many experiences in law school, Innocence Matters was certainly one of the most formative and rewarding.  It provided a chance to do fulfilling, important work in a supportive setting and I highly recommend it.

Valerie Feltz Rone, Chapman University School of Law, Fall 2010

When I first entered law school, someone I truly admire advised me to make sure I didn't get sucked in to what I thought law and being a lawyer was--that my vision of becoming a passionate advocate for the wrongfully accused was only something I had seen in movies; and that in reality was something very different.  I like to think of myself as an independent person who tries to figure out things on her own, but for the first bit of law school, the advice seemed to ring true; that is ,until I came in contact with Innocence Matters.  The rarely-seen stories about hope and justice for the prejudiced that had once inspired me so deeply--those had suddenly become my reality.  I had found my calling, and my doubting, yet overly successful mentor had been proven wrong.  I've dreamt about being part of something so meaningful for as long as I can remember, but I knew in the back of my mind I would most likely have to put in some time before I would get such an opportunity.  Innocence Matters has given me that opportunity.

Innocence Matters has given me the opportunity to be the advocate I have always wanted to be.  It has shown me that no matter how old you are, no matter how much experience, or lack thereof you have, you can truly make a difference.  Innocence Matters has shown me that passion, dedication and compassion CAN go a long way in the search for justice. There is something so fundamentally wrong with innocent people being accused, convicted and sent to prison, whether because of poor representation, false identification, or any other flaw in the system.  Innocence Matters cares about these people, and it is Innocence Matters who helped me realize how much I care about them and I will always promote justice for those wrongfully accused.  I am forever indebted to Innocence Matters and will forever continue to advocate for the cause.  

Kiley Schaumleffel, California Western School of Law, Fall 2010 - Winter 2011

I volunteered at Innocence Matters just before entering law school, and it has already been one of my most defining experiences in my professional development.  Volunteering with Innocence Matters gave me many opportunities to improve in essential skills like legal writing and research that have already been useful to me in law school and ones that will be useful later as a lawyer, such as interpersonal relations and interviewing techniques.  I'm so thankful for the unique experiences I had while volunteering for Innocence Matters, from fundraising events to prison visits.  Most importantly though, volunteering with Innocence Matters gave me purpose and direction.  Seeing firsthand the very real consequences of poor lawyering and the systemic injustices of wrongful convictions ingrained in me the importance of professionalism and integrity.  The motivation and passion sparked from this experience will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on me personally and professionally.

Katie Walsh, Chapman University School of Law, Fall 2010

My time at Innocence Matters was short and out of the area of law in which I intend to practice; however, no single internship could have affected me more.  

I don't think I can emphasize how much I learned in just a couple month with Innocence Matters.  I hope that I never forget the horrifying injustice our law system continues to allow.  It's true that I learned better methods of research, writing, and criminal practice; there were useful and I look forward to continuing to hone them.  Despite this, to me, the most important and enduring aspect of this internship is the understanding and appreciation I now have of legal ethics.  No innocent person should suffer for the indifference of an attorney.  This is no something that can be taught in a class.  I am so thankful I was given a chance to help such a meaningful and important cause. 

I would recommend interning with Innocence Matters to anyone, no matter what kind of law he or she intends to practice in the future.