About FJP / Summer Fellows Program

A new generation of reform-minded state and local elected prosecutors are pushing back against the “tough on crime” rhetoric of past decades and elevating a national conversation around the importance of a fair, equitable, and fiscally responsible justice system. Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP), a nonprofit bringing together and supporting these innovative leaders, is looking for passionate students to participate in its Summer Fellows Program. The program aims to inspire the next generation of reform-minded prosecutors by placing law students in summer internship positions in the offices of leaders in the FJP network.

Program Overview

FJP’s Summer Fellows Program places rising 2Ls and 3Ls in summer internship positions in the offices of some of the most inspiring elected prosecutors in the country.

Summer Fellows, who will be part of a diverse cohort of accomplished law students interested in transforming the criminal legal system, will have a unique opportunity to receive hands-on experience working on criminal cases and other assignments typical of internships in prosecutor’s offices, while also undertaking a policy reform project on an issue of interest to that office. Participating students, who may apply to receive a modest summer stipend, will benefit from access to the resources, network, and activities of FJP, including engagement with leading thinkers and advocates nationwide. For more information on the program and details on how to apply, click here.

FJP strongly values diversity, and students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, especially those with direct experience with the criminal legal system.

Responsibilities of FJP Summer Fellows

FJP Summer Fellows will participate in a variety of activities during their placements, such as assisting with intake and trial preparation, sitting in on witness interviews, assisting with discovery and filings, conducting legal research and writing, and conferencing with supervisors on cases, depending on the needs of the office. Eligible students in certain offices may argue motions in court and handle evidentiary hearings.

Summer Fellows will regularly engage with one another and with elected leaders in the FJP network to discuss critical issues relevant to transforming the criminal legal system, and will also undertake a policy reform project during the summer (which they may continue into the fall term, possibly for credit on an independent-study basis and with FJP’s guidance).

District Attorney / Public Defender Summer Split

FJP is pleased to continue and grow an additional component of the Summer Fellows Program: the District Attorney/Public Defender Summer Split. A small group of highly committed Fellows will have the opportunity to split their summers between a DA’s and a PD’s office in different jurisdictions, gaining invaluable experience working with advocates on both sides and identifying areas where these offices can come together to better serve those who come into contact with the criminal legal system. We also have opportunities for splits with advocacy organizations. Participating Fellows will develop a policy reform project on a topic of importance to both offices in which they work.

Participating Offices

While we hope office placements will be in-person, remote opportunities will be available if required due to public health concerns.

Participating offices may include:

Speaking Out – Experiences of Former Fellows

Working with the “Most Unlikely DA in America” Gave Me Hope

Amid the pandemic and fight for racial justice, Kevin Shang was looking for a leader he could believe in, and he found one in Corpus Christi, TX, while working as an FJP Summer Fellow for Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, whom Politico described as the “most unlikely DA in America.” Read Kevin’s reflection on his experience and the impact that his extraordinary summer as an FJP Fellow had on him.

“Driving to Texas, I was filled with fear and despair. A few months later when I drove home to Los Angeles, I was filled with hope. I had hope because a tatted-up-Mexican-biker-defense attorney wanted to help those around him and managed to get elected as DA in Nueces County, TX…. I had hope because if the people of Nueces County can work together to make change possible, I know the people of the United States can do the same.”

– Kevin Shang
2020 Summer Fellow, Nueces County District Attorney’s office
UCLA School of Law, Class of 2022

Other Summer Fellows Testimonials

“The FJP Network has inspired me tremendously to pursue a career in an office that is aiming to redefine what it means to be a prosecutor. As a woman of color, I firmly believe that equality and justice will not exist in a system where the concentration of power in our country includes only one demographic group. Throughout the nation, prosecutorial roles are traditionally and overwhelmingly dominated by white men, where women of color are underrepresented. The average prosecutor does not look or think like me and for this very reason I would recommend this fellowship program to anyone who is interested in criminal justice reform, whether prosecution or defense, because in order to transform our justice system, we need reform minded and passionate folks on both sides.”

– Karen Marcos
2020 Summer Fellow, Durham County District Attorney’s Office
City University of New York School of Law, Class of 2021

“I entered the fellowship skeptical of the impact a progressive prosecutor could have in reforming the criminal justice system and convinced that prosecution was not for me. I ended the fellowship a progressive prosecution convert…. FJP scheduled numerous calls with progressive elected prosecutors from across the country. These conversations helped me understand the inner workings of a progressive prosecutor’s office and the immense power prosecutors have to affect change in their jurisdictions. My time as an FJP Fellow taught me so much. The fellowship ultimately helped me decide on a career as a prosecutor.”

– Anthony Curry
2020 Summer Fellow, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Class of 2021

“I learned a great deal about how the office operated and, thanks to the FJP Fellowship in particular, I felt that I got to see the role of an intern and a more ‘behind the scenes’ look at the policy work in which the office was engaged. Being placed in the office as an FJP Fellow only enriched my experience there and added an important layer of depth to my 1L summer experience.”

– Katherine Giordano
2019 Summer Fellow, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office
Stanford Law School, Class of 2021