Innocence Project New Orleans Summer Internship Scholarship Award

About Innocence Project New Orleans

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a nonprofit law office that represents innocent prisoners serving life sentences in Louisiana and south Mississippi, and assists them with their transition into the free world upon their release. IPNO uses its cases to explain how wrongful convictions happen and what we can all do to prevent them. IPNO works with legislators, judges, lawyers, law enforcement and policymakers to protect the innocent within the criminal justice system.

Since its inception in 2001, IPNO has freed or exonerated 25 wrongly convicted prisoners. IPNO takes the hardest cases—cases that others are not equipped to take. We devote the majority of our time and resources to freeing poor people who will otherwise die in prison for crimes they did not commit.

About the Scholarship

We are seeking an academically promising undergraduate student or high school student with an interest in becoming a lawyer or in legal work/reforms, especially, but not necessarily, in criminal justice.

We want to give young men and women from communities affected by the criminal justice system an opportunity to be part of the change they want to see in the justice system. We want a young person who is willing to work hard and learn on the job, working with a team of lawyers, investigators and law students. The awardee will get training with other students and receive extensive mentoring from IPNO’s staff.  A large part of IPNO’s representation of prisoners is grounded in new facts discovered through investigation and record collection. For that reason, interns should expect to spend a significant portion of their time at IPNO reviewing case documents and conducting file maintenance.

The internship will last 10 weeks, starting on May 26, 2015. The recipient will receive a $4,000 stipend for the summer, to be paid out every two weeks.

Applicants must be high school seniors or full-time undergraduates at a university or community college based in the United States. Preference will be given to someone from the greater New Orleans area. Economically disadvantaged students; students of color; and first generation undergraduate college students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a strong interest in law
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be able to demonstrate financial need and academic promise
  • Be willing to share their experiences via IPNO’s Web site, newsletter, social media and possibly with the press.

How to Apply

To apply, email the following to Kia Hayes at (NO CALLS please!):

  • A personal essay, limited to no more than 750 words on two pages. The essay should address the applicant’s financial need, any interests in particular areas of the law and interest interning with Innocence Project New Orleans (please use any personal stories to convey your interest if possible)
  • An up-to-date résumé with GPA listed
  • Contact information for two to three references
  • A non-legal writing sample (no more than 10 pages)

Everything must be received no later than Friday, April 24, 2014 for Summer 2014 consideration.

Please do not call. We will contact applicants who have advanced to the interview stage of the application.


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