The Consumer Protection Branch (CPB) is responsible for enforcing several federal consumer protection statutes, many of which provide for both criminal and civil remedies. The office focuses its enforcement efforts on cases in which consumers are unable to protect themselves. In addition, the CPB defends the government in suits challenging consumer protection agencies’ policies.
CPB offers undergraduate and graduate students both paid and unpaid positions. Students are selected for these positions on the basis of their GPA, availability, and commitment to CPB’s mission. Students selected for a position with CPB must pass a background check prior to entering on duty. Individuals who have used illegal substances in the past twelve months are ineligible for a position with CPB.
Both paid and unpaid students are eligible for reimbursement of their commuting costs on the Washington Metro system. Effective July 1, 2009, transit subsidy recipients may receive up to $230 per month or his/her actual commuting cost, whichever is lower. The Office of Consumer Litigation is located on 5th Street, NW, between the Judiciary Square and Gallery Place Metro stations on the Red Line.
Unpaid student internships are available on a semester basis. In most instances, interns need to commit to working at least 28 hours per week. Interns work directly with CPB paralegals and attorneys. Duties include assisting attorneys and paralegals in creating and maintaining electronic litigation databases and files, and reviewing and responding to incoming written consumer complaints. Training is provided during the first part of the internship. CPB attorneys give weekly luncheon presentations to the interns about a particular case or investigation. When the U.S. Supreme Court is in session, reserved seating is obtained for each intern to observe an entire argument. Students may acquire credit for internship experience with CPB where their school permits.
Paid Part-Time Positions
Paid part-time student positions are offered under the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). Students registered for classes at a college or university are eligible to work under this program. The pay scale for these positions is tied to the number of credits students have accumulated and falls within U.S. Government GS Levels 2-5. Students also accrue paid annual leave and paid sick leave in correlation with the number of hours worked each pay period.
STEP students work directly under the supervision of CPB paralegals. Duties include general clerical work and multiple other tasks in support of a busy litigation office. Students considered for these positions must commit to working a minimum of 12 hours per week during at least two semesters and a minimum of 32 hours per week during at least one summer. Within certain guidelines, students are free to set their own schedules at the beginning of each semester and again at the beginning of the summer break.
Other Paid Positions
On occasion, CPB has a need for a full-time executive assistant. The guidelines for this position are the same as those for part-time positions under STEP. This position is ideal for an evening student who would prefer a full-time position (minimum 32 hours per week). In addition to trial support, this student is responsible for answering the front office telephone, managing files and faxes, opening and sorting mail, routing consumer calls, and logging in consumer mail.
Information Required for all Positions
All students interested in a position with the Consumer Protection Branch must email the following information to ConsumerLitigation@usdoj.gov:
- Current GPA
- Name of the college or university that the student is attending
- Total number of credits accumulated
- Current standing; i.e., sophomore, junior, graduate student, etc.
- Expected graduation date
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is an Equal Opportunity / Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, regional, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or on the basis of personal favoritism. DOJ welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities and will reasonably accommodate the needs of those persons. DOJ is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit.