January 24, 2014
Public Service Career Fair
Based on my summer internship experience, I promptly accepted
the offer to join the Tax Division through the Honors Program.
It is a decision I am glad I made.
When I applied for the Summer Law Intern Program during the summer after my first year of law school, I was very interested in the Tax Division. In addition to enjoying my first-year tax course, the wide-ranging opportunities within the Tax Division appealed to me. Within the Tax Division, there are both civil and criminal trial sections and corresponding appellate sections. Most years, summer interns are able to split their summers between multiple sections, offering the second-year law student a diverse and challenging experience.
During my summer internship, I received assignments from both line attorneys and reviewers. My assignments included legal research questions, drafting portions of briefs, and assisting an attorney prepare for oral argument. I was also able to travel with a line attorney to attend a court hearing. Both attorneys and reviewers discussed my work product with me and offered constructive criticism. I found the Division’s attorneys to be approachable; they candidly talked about their experiences in both the Tax Division and the Department.
Depending on the year, the Tax Division also makes “funnel offers” to summer interns directly into the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Justice’s entry-level hiring program. Based on my summer internship experience, when I was fortunate enough to receive a funnel offer, I promptly accepted the offer to join the Tax Division through the Honors Program. It is a decision I am glad I made.
My mentor’s enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and dedication have played a significant role in shaping my experience since I joined the Tax Division. Upon joining the Department of Justice, all new attorneys with less than five years of experience are assigned a mentor. Generally, the mentor is responsible for introducing the new attorney to Justice, and for offering information and insight that will shorten the new attorney’s learning curve.
In addition to doing all of these things, my mentor also regularly visited my office to discuss my assignments and to answer my questions. My mentor’s own office door was always open and she willingly made time to speak with me. She volunteered to look over my first written work before I had to submit it for formal review. She invited me to attend interesting oral arguments and forwarded me well-written and well-reasoned opinions from across the country. And although Justice’s formal mentor program is designed to last one year, she has continued to take an interest in both my professional and personal development – several years after I joined the Department.
The mentor program facilitates the passing of experience and knowledge, and the program is an invaluable resource for new attorneys. It certainly made my transition into the Tax Division and Justice an easy one.