Pre‐Law Internships

USD School of Law has established an unpaid internship program for undergraduate students considering a legal education upon graduation, and CPIL is a proud participant in this program, along with the Children’s Advocacy Institute, and the Energy Policy Initiatives Center. The program is intended to introduce these undergraduate students to the USD School of Law as well as public service through the legal profession.

Interns in the Program work with CPIL personnel and law students on a variety of research projects and assist with clerical and other tasks as assigned. Projects may involve helping staff conduct research for reports, reviewing and analyzing pending state and federal legislation, and drafting letters of support or opposition for Center staff consideration, identifying and comparing each state’s laws on certain Center‐related topics, and reviewing regulatory proposals by state or federal agencies and preparing related materials. Once accepted to the Program, students will coordinate their schedules with the appropriate Center director. The weekly time commitment is typically ten hours per week.

Pre-law interns are encouraged to attend USD School of Law events, have the opportunity to observe at least one law school class, and interact with the school’s professors, students and administrators.

Please review the internship program information and qualifications attached (pdf). Fill out the application below and submit with the requested materials as a complete package.

Internship opportunities are based on project availability within CPIL (and other Centers). At some times during the year there may be no internship opportunities with one or more of the Centers.

Download the application (pdf)

Application Deadlines:

  • Summer Applications due by April 15th***
  • Fall Applications due by August 15th***
  • Spring Applications due by January 15th***


***Due to the current emergency declaration and COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be hiring any interns for the Summer or Fall 2020 sessions.  Please feel free to apply for Spring 2021, however, we cannot guarantee at this time whether we will have positions available in the Spring session.***

Meet Courtney Pre-Law Intern Fall 2019

Courtney DunnCourtney is currently a senior at the University of San Diego, majoring in International Relations with a Chinese minor. She enjoys learning about how countries interact with each other on the global stage, so she is planning on obtaining a joint JD/MA degree focusing on International Affairs. At the Center of Public Interest Law, Courtney was able to analyze concepts of democratization and civil society within her own backyard of San Diego.

Throughout the internship, she learned more about how to keep the local government accountable and ensure transparency to the populace. As a pre-law intern at CPIL, Courtney researched California state legislation as well as reviewed USD Law students’ legal works for publication. She also researched grant-making processes for CPIL and helped CPIL and CAI plan a workshop at USD to spread awareness about sex-trafficking. Her time at CPIL sparked her excitement in a legal career, and she is now confident in bringing her experience to law school next year.

Meet Faith Pre-Law Intern Summer 2019

Faith Tomlin

Faith Tomlin is a junior at Yale University majoring in Psychology with an Advanced Language Certificate in Spanish. She grew up in San Diego and was excited to discover the USD Pre-Law Internship Program as a way to participate in legal advocacy in her home community and explore the USD School of Law.

Faith was proud to work for the CPIL in support of its mission to encourage government transparency and accountability to vulnerable populations. She has tremendous admiration for the work done by the USD School of Law to engage in faith-based social justice reform as a Catholic organization advocating for progressive change.

As a pre-law intern at the CPIL, Faith worked on establishing community partners for the upcoming Empowering Community Changemakers political advocacy seminar, put together fact sheets on the legislative history of relevant bills for the CPIL, and attended a meeting of the State Bar of California Board of Trustees in order to offer comment on behalf of the CPIL. Faith is very grateful for the enriching experiences she had as a USD Pre-Law Intern and she hopes to continue supporting USD’s social activism in the future.


Meet Julia Pre-Law Summer Intern 2019

Julia SeversonJulia is attending the University of Redlands as a Philosophy major. Julia enjoys investigating the relationship between ethics and law to examine how it contributes to the justification of legislation and policy. She values ethical applications towards governance, in which government agencies and officials are held accountable to serve and protect the people they were elected to represent justly and diligently, without influences of private interest.

As a pre-law intern at CPIL, Julia researched and analyzed proposed state legislation, assisted in editing the California Regulatory Law Reporter and other pieces for publication, and constructed preliminary reports about various regulatory agencies and legislation that affected them.

Julia looks forward to applying to law schools next year.

Meet Tabitha Pre-Law Summer Intern 2019

Tabitha BelsheeTabitha is majoring in Politics at Princeton University with a double minor in Statistics & Machine Learning and American Studies. She grew up in Escondido, CA and wanted to spend the summer before her senior year reconnecting to the San Diego area.

Tabitha is passionate about immigration policy and addressing the politics that have allowed the current system to commit human rights violations. Her past independent research at Princeton has focused on corruption among Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) personnel, and her senior thesis will explore how a failure to record and maintain data within CBP allows for these violations to continue.

As a pre-law intern at CPIL and CAI, Tabitha researched the records kept by government agencies on UACs (Unaccompanied Alien Children) and the process by which UACs are detained. This research informs legal action over an ongoing Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the treatment of UACs in federal custody. Tabitha also performed research on the current status of AI in policy from an international, national, and state level. 

She looks forward to graduating and exploring other interests before applying to law school.

Meet Paul Pre-Law Summer Intern 2019

Paul AmmonsPaul Ammons is a senior at Saint Joseph's University majoring in Sociology and minoring in Political Science, Latinx Studies, and Faith-Justice Studies.  A proud native of San Diego, Paul was excited to connect his learned experience from the East Coast and integrate them into his legal advocacy work under the USD School of Law!

As a prelaw intern, Paul compiled research on state regulatory structures of massage parlors and their relationship to the proliferation of human trafficking in California.  Because of California's stats as one of the states with the highest rates of human trafficking, Paul sought to connect his research interests to governmental advocacy on behalf of survivors. 

In addition, he researched news stories on the detention of child migrants at the border to support CPIL/CAI in their efforts to secure transparency from federal agencies on their migrant detention practices.

Paul plans to attend law school, and will explore further interests through service fellowship opportunities. For him, the internship program from CPIL gave him the necessary tools to critically analyze state regulatory structures and the impactful role they play on the lives of local citizens.