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.
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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.
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You could also try the AG's office, which handles high tech crimes : http://oag.ca.gov/ecrime/httap
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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.
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