Summer Internships

Why OJPC exists and what we do

For over 20 years, the Ohio Justice & Policy Center has worked to create fair, intelligent, redemptive criminal-justice systems through zealous client-centered advocacy, collaborative policy reform, and empowering community education.

OJPC uses diverse forms of community lawyering in a three-plank strategy:

1. Substantially and safely reduce the size and racial disparity of the prison population — including our Women’s Project and Second Chance Project, research, legislative and policy advocacy, collaboration with community organizers, and litigation to directly remedy Ohio’s prison overcrowding crisis.

2. Expand the freedom of people with criminal records to participate fully in their communities — encompasses our Second Chance Community Legal Clinics, our work with Survivors of Human Trafficking, our CIVICC database, and legislative and policy advocacy to improve reentry in Ohio.

3. Protect the human rights and dignity of incarcerated people – incorporates individual and class-action litigation to protect the constitutional rights of incarcerated people, policy efforts to limit the use of the death penalty, and protection of voting rights for jailed people.

We invite you to join our team next summer!

What our interns do

We are seeking 6 talented law students from law schools nationwide to join OJPC’s summer internship program. Our program will run from May through August, approximately.

Summer interns may be involved in a wide variety of the projects mentioned above, depending on their skills and passions and our needs. They may assist with outreach legal clinics, client interviewing, case investigation and brainstorming, legal research, correspondence and court-document drafting, court appearances (especially rising 3Ls with a student-practice certificate from the Ohio Supreme Court), other litigation support, policy research, prison visits, collaborative work with community organizers, and other policy-advocacy support.

Our internships are unpaid. However, we will readily assist in any application for funding or externship credit to support our students’ work during the summer.

An OJPC intern reflects: Why Fight the Symptoms of Mass Incarceration when you can change the system itself? 

What we’re looking for in our interns:

In our review of written internship-application materials and interviews, we will be looking for concrete examples of where an applicant has demonstrated these six qualities:

Resourcefulness – creativity in finding information and resources to complete a project; ability to apply diverse background, experience, and expertise in new settings.

OJPC intern reflects:Empathy isn’t as simple as walking a mile in someone’s shoes

Productive work relationship with mentors/supervisors – willingness to ask questions to get clarity on scope and substance of assigned projects; ability to carry projects forward without constant checking in, but knowledge of when to check in about a significant issue or question; focus on detail.

Excellent time & priority management – strength in handling diverse, competing projects and expectations; ability to prioritize must-do projects and renegotiate other deadlines as needed; knowledge of limitations in accepting too much work.

Solid research and writing skills – aptitude in clear, thorough research and reasoning in writing samples; knack for storytelling and issue framing.

Interpersonal skills – capability of working effectively with a team; ability to put others at ease while inspiring them to do their best; sense of humor; hunger to learn and grow.

Compassion for the marginalized, passion for OJPC’s mission – ability to stretch oneself to serve people who are looked down upon, even despised, by others; willingness to risk disfavor to do what one feels is morally right.

Equal opportunity

OJPC is an equal opportunity employer. People from historically disadvantaged groups — including those based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, veteran status, gender, or sexual orientation — are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply

Send cover letter, résumé, transcript, and writing sample — preferably all as PDFs — to Tiffanny Smith. Contact Tiffanny by email at or call 513.421.1108 x 34 for more information. We will be accepting students on a rolling basis, so apply early. Interviews can be conducted via phone, Skype, or in-person.