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303-764-1400 Applying for a Public Defender

Summer Legal Intern/Extern Training

Long Standing Tradition

The Colorado Supreme Court allows law students after two years of study to represent adults charged with misdemeanors and traffic charges, and youth accused in magistrate, county, and district courts. Students certified to practice may appear in court and provide legal advice to public defender clients as long as the student is practicing under the supervision of a licensed lawyer.

The Colorado Public Defender System has a long-standing tradition of bringing law student externs into the fold and introducing them to what it means to be a public defender. Certified summer externships are intense experiences that stay with future defenders for the rest of their lives. While summer certified externs do not carry the same caseload that deputy state public defenders carry, they do the exact same work as a deputy state public defender in representing clients at all stages of the proceedings.


In order to give our summer certified interns the type of grounding in the law and procedure they need to effectively perform these tasks, the Colorado Public Defender requires summer certified externs to participate in a four-day long training program at the beginning of the summer. This program covers, in a more condensed fashion, many of the topics covered in the Basic Lawyer Training Program. It is a combination of lecture and mock practice performance. This training is held in a central location so that externs can meet each other before heading to the office where they will help indigent clients for the summer.