Summer Internships

Why OJPC exists and what we do

For 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. This strategy plank includes our Women’s Project, as well as research, legislative and policy advocacy, collaboration with community organizers, and possibly litigation to directly remedy Ohio’s prison overcrowding crisis.
  2. Expand the freedom of people with criminal records to participate fully in their communities. This strategy plank encompasses our Second Chance Community Legal Clinics and Classes, our CIVICC database, and legislative and policy advocacy to improve reentry in Ohio.
  3. Protect the human rights and dignity of incarcerated people. This strategy plank contains all of our individual and class-action litigation to protect incarcerated people, policy efforts to limit the use of the death penalty, litigation on voting rights for certain jailed people, and our Constitutional Litigation Clinic (for 3L students from nearby law schools).

We invite you to join our team this summer!

What our interns do

Each summer, talented students from law and undergraduate schools nationwide are accepted into OJPC’s summer internship program.  Our program will run from May 29th through August 3rd.

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 help with outreach legal clinics, client interviewing, case investigation, case 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, legislative 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.

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 – creative in finding information and other resources to complete a project; ability to apply diverse background, experience, and expertise in new settings.
  • Productive work relationship with mentors/supervisors – willing to ask questions to get clarity on scope and substance of assigned projects; able to carry projects forward without constant checking in, but knows when to check in about a significant issue or question; detail oriented.
  • Excellent time & priority management – strong at handling diverse, competing projects and expectations; able to prioritize must-do projects and renegotiate other deadlines as needed; knows when to not take on too much work.
  • Solid research and writing skills – clear, thorough research and reasoning in writing samples; a knack for storytelling and issue framing.
  • Interpersonal skills – good at working with a team; puts others at ease while inspiring them to do their best; great sense of humor; hungry to learn and grow.
  • Compassion for the marginalized, passion for OJPC’s mission – stretches herself to serve people who are looked down upon, even despised, by others; willing to risk disfavor to do what she 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 Devorah Waesch (, by Friday, January 26, 2018.  We will be accepting students on a rolling basis.  Interviews can be conducted via phone, Skype, or in-person.

Reflections from previous summer interns