Law Student Clerkships

The Office of Capital and Forensic Writs (OCFW) is seeking bright and motivated law students interested in capital defense for clerkships during both summer and semester periods. 

The OCFW is a statewide public defender office located in Austin, Texas that represents death-sentenced persons in their state post-conviction litigation.  The OCFW, then known as the Office of Capital Writs, opened its doors in 2010, representing death-sentenced persons in state post-conviction proceedings. On September 1, 2015, the scope of the Office's mission expanded to include the representation of a select number of capital and non-capital inmates raising challenges through forensic science writs, and its name changed to reflect the expanded mandate. The OCFW represents a substantial majority of persons sentenced to death in Texas in state habeas and related proceedings, and is committed to client-centered and excellent post-conviction representation. This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in Texas.

As post-conviction counsel, attorneys and clerks at the OCFW have the privilege of investigating constitutional violations that have occurred at the trial level, including issues at both the guilt/innocence and punishment phases of trial.  Under the supervision of OCFW staff attorneys and investigators, clerks are provided an exciting opportunity to conduct investigation, meet with clients, and hone legal research and writing skills.  Clerks can expect to work on capital cases at various stages of litigation, allowing for a broader understanding of how post-conviction representation works. 

Preferred qualifications: demonstrated interest in indigent defense or a related field; knowledge of substantive and procedural principles of criminal and constitutional law; excellent research and writing skills; strong communication skills; commitment to culturally-competent representation; and interest in working with diverse populations. Spanish-speaking ability is also a plus.

Clerkships are unpaid.  The OCFW, however, will work with applicants to obtain academic credit through their schools and applicants may seek funding through their law school and other sources.  People of color and persons from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the legal profession are especially encouraged to apply.

To apply, please email a letter of interest and resume to Derek.VerHagen@ocfw.texas.gov



Updated Saturday, January 30, 2016