Volunteer Law Intern, Academic Year

Law Student Volunteer, Academic Year
1425 New York Avenue, Suite 11000
Washington, DC 20530
United States
About the Office: 

In 2014, the Justice Department announced a new clemency initiative to encourage appropriate candidates to petition for executive clemency in order to have their sentences commuted by the President.  The Initiative invites petitions for commutation of sentence from non-violent inmates who are serving a federal sentence, who by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense today, and who would not pose a threat to public safety if released.  It is anticipated that thousands of inmates will file petitions for commutation of sentence, and evaluating these petitions for recommendations to the President is a high priority for the Justice Department.

The mission of the Office of the Pardon Attorney is to advise the President on the exercise of his power to grant clemency for offenses against the United States, pursuant to Article II, § 2 of the Constitution. The Office processes petitions for all forms of clemency, including pardon, commutation of sentence, and remission of fine, by conducting the necessary investigation on each petition and preparing a report and recommendation to the President for the signature of the Deputy Attorney General. The Office prepares documents, such as warrants of clemency and notices of denial, necessary to implement the President’s decisions. The Office also acts as a liaison with the applicant and the public throughout the pendency of the clemency case, and is the repository of records concerning grants of clemency over the years.

For more information about the Office of the Pardon Attorney please visit: http://www.justice.gov/pardon/index.html

Job Description: 

Interns will assist the Office’s attorneys and paralegals in case-processing tasks, such as obtaining the reports needed to evaluate a clemency case, building electronic case files, preparing drafts of reports to the President on selected cases, as well as preparing responses to correspondence. Special research projects may be assigned by Office attorneys as need dictates, and may include historical and legal research.


Second-year law students. Must have word processing skills and ability to learn new technology. Paralegal experience is helpful but not required. Students with an interest in criminal justice, constitutional law, administrative law, or prisoner rights would be good matches for this Office.

Possible work study
Application Process: 
United StatesInternships are a year-round need for this Office, so applications will be reviewed as they are received and position(s) will be open until filled.

All potential candidates should provide the suggested supportive documentation with their initial email and should be sure to indicate their dates of availability.

Office of the Pardon Attorney
1425 New York Avenue, Suite 11000
Washington, DC 20530
ATTN:  Will Taylor, Acting Administrative Officer
Telephone:  202-514-1444
Email:  Will.Taylor2@usdoj.gov
Number of Positions: 
Updated July 7, 2014

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department 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 within the Department of Justice.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:   The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with targeted/severe disabilities are encouraged to register for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Shared List of People with Disabilities (the Bender Disability Employment Registry) by submitting their resume to resume@benderconsult.com and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at www.benderconsult.com.  Individuals with disabilities may also contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC).  See list of DPOCs.    

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys' Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. Citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. Citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements.  Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.