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Internships

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Internship Program offers students an opportunity to work in an award-winning municipal law office that is nationally recognized by the American Bar Association for outstanding excellence. The City Attorney’s Office practices civil law and provides high-quality, consistent, and objective legal advice to policymakers and vigorously represents the City in civil litigation. The Office provides legal services to over 100 departments, boards, commissions and offices that comprise the City and County of San Francisco’s municipal government.

The City Attorney’s Office seeks interns that intend to emerge as leaders in government and public-interest law.  The Internship Program is designed to help interns gain practical knowledge and experience in municipal law and government affairs.  The Program provides participants with a robust and meaningful work experience by creating opportunities for interns to learn, engage, and participate in the Office’s wide array of legal work.

The City Attorney’s Office currently offers two internship programs:

We believe that diversity in our office is crucial to successfully performing the variety of work we are entrusted with as the City’s attorney. Being able to draw on different perspectives allows us to be at the forefront of legal issues both locally and nationally. We recognize that much work remains to be done to celebrate diversity in the legal profession, and are committed to continuing our role in contributing to that effort, starting with our internship programs. The City Attorney’s Office encourages a diverse applicant pool, welcomes qualified applicants of all backgrounds, and awards positions based on fair and open competition. Read more here about our efforts to address racial equity and enhance diversity at the City Attorney’s Office.

Law School Internship Program

City Attorney’s Office Pride contingent.

Students currently enrolled in an accredited law school are eligible to participate in one of the Office’s three 10-week internship programs that run in the spring, summer, and fall.  Once accepted to the Office’s Internship Program, participants are assigned to one of 20+ practice teams that are organized by practice area.  Descriptions of the Office’s legal teams are available here.

Interns work on a variety of legal assignments under the direction and supervision of deputy city attorneys, who also serve as mentors.  Each practice team designates at least one deputy city attorney to serve as an Intern Coordinator, who works to ensure that participants benefit from their assignments, are engaged in team and client interactions, and are fully immersed in the daily duties of the Office.  Legal Interns work with attorneys on their assigned practice team who provide ongoing professional feedback and keep interns involved in the Office’s broader attorney-client relationship with city departments, commissions and officials.  Depending on their assignments, interns can take part in client meetings with department staff and elected officials; trials, court hearings, and depositions; public meetings and closed sessions with city commissions and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; and press conferences related to the Office’s work. Legal Interns also benefit from events, tours and lectures that the office schedules for interns every season.

Special programming offers an inside-view of important and sometimes surprising work required of lawyers for a city as innovative, fast-growing and unique as San Francisco.  Past programming has included:

  • Tours of the Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco (FAMSF), which include the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor.
  • Fireboat tours by the S.F. Fire Department, which highlight its preparedness for modern maritime emergencies and its historical role in major disasters like the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.
  • Observing hearings in federal court, followed with a Q&A with a presiding judge and clerks.
  • Tours of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) facilities, highlighting the SFPUC’s efforts to protect public health and the environment.
  • Tours of City Hall’s dome, Recreation & Parks Department’s facilities, the Probation Department’s Juvenile Hall, the City’s 911 Call Center, San Francisco International Airport’s facilities, and more!
Tour of the Bay with the SFPD Marine Unit.
Obama Portraits exhibit at the de Young Museum.
San Francisco City Hall dome tour.
Tour of the SFPUC Southeast Treatment Facility.

Accepting Applications for Fall 2024

  • Learn more about the program and how to apply here.
  • Application Deadline: May 17, 2024
  • Orientation (Mandatory): August 27, 2024
  • Program: August 27, 2024 to November 1, 2024 (minimum 8-10 weeks, but students may extend their program to satisfy academic credit requirements)

How to Apply

To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and brief legal writing sample to CATintern.Applications@sfcityatty.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

For common questions about the program, click here.

Hear from recent interns about their experience working with us, click here.

Legal Teams

We aim to pair students with a practice team whose work is in line with the student’s professional goals and interests.  We ask applicants to identify three practice teams of interest in their application materials, although the Office does not guarantee that applicants will be placed with one of their preferred teams. Descriptions of the legal teams are available here.

Law School Internship Program Schedule

The following is the most up-to-date schedule of deadlines and other key dates for the San Francisco City Attorney Internship Program. All interns must attend the orientation for their session. However, the office can be flexible as to the program length depending on individual student needs.

The Office accepts applications on a rolling basis and will consider late applicants until all positions are filled.

Paralegal Internship Program

Paralegal mentors provide ongoing professional feedback and keep paralegal interns involved as team members and part of the office’s broader attorney-client relationship with City departments.

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office is offering opportunities to paralegal students who want to learn and work in local government and public-interest law. Paralegal interns work closely with paralegal mentors who provide legal support to deputy city attorneys. Mentors provide ongoing professional feedback and keep paralegal interns involved as team members and part of the office’s broader attorney-client relationship with City departments. Additionally, paralegal interns will attend trainings and field trips with interns from the Office’s law school internship program. City Attorney paralegal interns benefit from legal practice at the local government level, which is not something that is often taught in paralegal programs, provides important insight into the Office, and sparks an interest in a career in government.

Paralegal interns will have the opportunity participate in and assist with a wide variety of activities and tasks, including:

  • team meetings
  • meetings with clients and social workers
  • litigation hold processes
  • document collection and review, including video review
  • cite checking briefs;
  • attending various court hearings including .26 Hearing intake matters and trial
  • drafting notices of hearings and other pleadings
  • requesting investigator services
  • gathering and tracking materials for experts

Accepting Applications: Spring 2024

  • Applications due: January 31, 2024
  • Orientation (mandatory): To be determined
  • Program: February 5 through May 17, 2024
  • Mentorship length: Based on school requirements

How to Apply

Applicants must be enrolled in an ABA approved paralegal program, and have completed their core requirements in Civil litigation and Legal Writing and Research. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and brief legal writing sample to Beverly.Tovio@sfcityatty.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

For common questions about the program, click here.

Legal Teams

Attorneys in the City Attorney’s Office are organized into teams based on practice areas, and have completed their core requirements in Civil litigation and Legal Writing and Research. Paralegal internships may be available on any of the following teams.

  • Child Protection and Family Services*
  • Code Enforcement*
  • Complex Litigation*
  • Government*
  • Labor*
  • Litigation*
  • Workers’ Compensation*

* Teams that handle litigation matters.

Paralegal Internship Program Testimony

Gene O'Brien“One of the most enriching courses I took during my paralegal studies was an elective internship at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.  It gave me the opportunity to practice and apply skills learned in the classroom in a real legal office, learn new skills, and work on interesting cases.  In turn, the real-life experience I gained in my internship enhanced my classroom learning and helped propel me into my career today as a paralegal.”

–Gene O’Brien, Paralegal, Office of City Attorney David Chiu