I am a software engineer at Google and I am interested in exploring the field of criminal law. I was suggested to start by volunteering as an investigative assistant intern (available in some public defender's offices such as San Diego) because my problem solving skills acquired as an engineer would be very relavent to the position.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be such a program in the SF bay area. I was wondering if I its possible to volunteer in a mutually beneficial way with private defense attorneys in the bay area ? What other ways would you recommend to explore criminal defense?
Many District Attorney's offices have high-tech crime (or at least specialized white-collar/fraud units). Contact the California Disrict Attorneys Association and ask for the general contact information for such units in the Bay Area counties. Remember that even if a county has no high-tech crime unit, odds are that it has a real estate fraud unit, an insurance fraud unit, an elder abuse unit, etc.
Although it will take more time on your part, it may be more efficient to contact each county DA's office directly through its own website.
When I respond to a question posted on Avvo, I provide information for a general purpose. In reviewing my answer, you are specifically warned that your use of, or reliance upon any response that I provide would be a bad idea. I do not have all relevant background or facts related to your matter, and am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon any response by me does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us and does not qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose.
Mr. Kotkin gives a great answer. For the defense side, you may consider looking at the various organization of expert witnesses many of whom do not have the technical expertise that you have. While not technically "defense" both the prosecution and defense use expert witnesses and the data compiled and analyzed by them.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
You could also try the AG's office, which handles high tech crimes : http://oag.ca.gov/ecrime/httap
Our replies to Avvo questions should not be considered specific legal advice to any individual, and no attorney-client relationship is formed with you. Our aim is to provide general principles that may be useful to the Avvo community as a whole. You should seek individual legal advice pertaining to your specific factual situation, and the laws applicable to your jurisdiction. Moore & Moore Attorneys at Law -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Criminal Defense Attorney
You should the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE) and see what information and additional training they can provide you if your interest is work in the forensic aspect of criminal law. If your interest is to pursue a career as a criminal lawyer you should contact a few local criminal defense attorneys and let them know what your interest is. I am sure you will be able to find one willing to mentor you.