Federal Government Jobs for JDs: The CIA, FTC and More

by | March 31, 2009

Below is a selection of some of the specific recruitment programs available and links on where to get additional information:

Central Intelligence Agency

  • The CIA's Legal Honors Program provides a three year introduction to the practice of national security law. The Office of the General Counsel handles legal issues relating to foreign intelligence and counterintelligence activities, international terrorism, and other international security issues. Information on the program, including application information, is available at www.cia.gov/ogc/honors/htm.
  • The CIA runs a small and select Summer Legal Clerk Program for law students to obtain broad exposure to the practice of intelligence law. Information on the program, including application materials and deadlines, is available at: www.cia.gov/ogc/summer/htm.

    Commerce Department (Office of the General Counsel)

  • Summer internships and full-time positions can be found at the Office of General Counsel's web site, www.ogc.doc.gov under vacancies. Internships are offered throughout the Department's eight bureaus and are open to first and second year law students.

    Education Department

  • Summer internships: www.ed.gov/offices/oiia/internships/index.html.

    Environmental Protection Agency

  • For internship or entry-level legal positions, attorneys apply directly to the office at which they are interested in working (including the Washington, DC headquarters). Information on applying can be found at: www.epa.gov/epahome/jobs.htm.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  • Full-time hires from law school are made through the Honors Program. Information on the Honors Program can be found on the commission's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
  • Summer internships are available at the Washington, DC headquarters and in the commission's many field offices, which can also be found at the commission's web site.

    Federal Bureau of Investigations

  • Summer internships are available by applying through the FBI's Honors Program, which hires both undergraduate and graduate students. Information on the program is available at www.fbi.gov./employment/honors/htm.
  • Full-time opportunities are can be explored at the FBI's website, though attorney positions are not specifically broken out from others.

    Federal Election Commission

  • Those interested in summer clerkships or full-time entry-level positions can find a downloadable brochure at www.fec.gov/jobs.htm.

    Federal Trade Commission

  • Information on both full-time opportunities through the Honors Program and information on the commission's internship program for second-year law students, please the commission's web site, www.ftc.gov.

    Housing and Urban Development Department

  • The Legal Honors Intern program is the only recruitment vehicle for hiring graduating law students into HUD. Interns are assigned to a one-year legal internship; following the completion of their internships they may be granted offers of permanent employment. Additional information on the program can be found at www.hud.gov/jobs/index.cfm.

    Interior Department

  • The Solicitor's Honors Program is the principal means of entry-level hiring for Interior lawyers. New attorneys are hired for a one year internship program, after which they may be offered permanent employment based on their performance. Information on the program is available at www.doi.gov/sol/sohonpgm.html.

    Internal Revenue Service

  • The IRS runs a Summer Law Intern Program for law students interested in tax law. Offers of permanent employment may be made to some second-year students. Information on the program can be found at www.jobs.irs.gov.
  • The Chief Counsel's Honors Program is designed to recruit graduating law students. Lawyers begin their careers at the IRS as law clerks before becoming members of the bar and assuming permanent positions. Information on the program is available at www.jobs.irs.gov.

    Labor Department

  • The Office of the Solicitor, which employs 500 attorneys, is responsible for enforcing occupational safety and health laws, certain civil rights laws, minimum wage and overtime laws, and many other labor laws. Attorneys hired into the honors program spend two years in the Special Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Division before being assigned to another division in Washington. Information on the program is available at www.gov/sol/honorsprogram.htm.

    Securities and Exchange Commission

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission bills itself as "the investor's advocate" and describes its primary mission as protecting investors and maintaining the integrity of the securities markets. The SEC hires graduating law students, LLMs, and judicial law clerks as entry-level attorneys under the "Advanced Commitment Program," primarily to its Washington, DC headquarters. Information on the program is available at www.sec.gov/jobs.
  • The Summer Honors program gives first- and second-year law students the opportunity to work side by side with Commission lawyers. The program allows for assignments in Washington, DC and the Commission's 11 regional and district offices. Information on the program is available at www.sec.gov/jobs.

    Transportation Department

  • The Department of Transportation develops national transportation goals and policies and coordinates the Federal transportation program. The Department's Honors Attorneys programs recruits 10 graduating law students to a two-year rotational program. These candidates are given top priority in filling vacant legal positions within the department. Application information can be found at www.dot.gov/ost/ogc.
  • Several departments within the Office of General Council offer unpaid legal internship during the summer and throughout the year. Application information is available at www.dot.gov/ost/ogc.

    Treasury Department

  • The U.S. Department of Treasury hires graduating law students, LLMs, and judicial clerks through its two-year honors program. The Department offers Honors Program participants the opportunity to rotate throughout the Department or focus in one of three areas: banking and finance, international affairs, or legislation and litigation oversight. Information on the program is available at www.ustreas.gov/offices/general-counsel.
  • The Department also offers an Honors Program Summer Clerkship for law students. Honors clerks are generally not compensated. Application information can be found at www.ustreas.gov/offices/general-counsel.
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