Volunteer Legal Internships

Find Volunteer Internship Opportunities

Please search the volunteer internship oppportunities and apply directly to the hiring organization following the application instructions listed in the vacancy announcement.

How Many Volunteer Opportunities Are There?

Every year over 1,800 volunteer legal interns serve in Justice components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Approximately 800 legal interns volunteer during the academic year, and roughly 1000 volunteer during the summer.

Where Are the Volunteer Opportunities Located?

Justice has a presence in almost every major city in the country. There are 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 95 U.S. Trustees’ Offices throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands; and 59 Immigration Courts in 27 states and U.S. territories. Some organizations only offer employment opportunities in Washington, D.C. Other organizations, such as the Antitrust Division, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have field offices located in various cities across the country. Contact information for each U.S. Attorney’s Office is at www.justice.gov/usao/districts/index.html. More information about Department field office locations is available on the DOJ Offices by State Chart.

Who is Eligible for Volunteer Legal Intern Positions?

Any law student enrolled at least half-time, and who has completed at least one semester of law school is eligible to apply for volunteer internship positions at any time. First-year law students who have not completed their first semester may apply for volunteer internships after December 1. Part-time law students and joint-degree candidates may also apply for volunteer internship positions. Law school graduation terminates eligibility for volunteer positions except for graduate law students who are enrolled at least half time and not practicing law.

Is Course Credit or a Monetary Stipend Available Through My School?

Volunteer legal internships may qualify either for course credit or as part of a law school’s work-study program. In addition, some schools sponsor public interest fellowships or other programs where legal interns receive a stipend for public interest work. Interested students should contact their law school for specific information and requirements.

Is it Possible to Serve More Than One Volunteer Internship?

Yes, but be careful about the timing.  Working at the Department requires access to DOJ information, DOJ IT systems, and DOJ facilities.  Security regulations permit short term access for not more than six months.  Beyond six months, or for two short term appointments within a 12 month period, a background investigation is required.  In some cases, organizations sponsoring legal interns may not be in a position to justify the time and cost of the BI process in these short term employment situations.  If you have served in a prior DOJ internship/externship and are considering a second DOJ internship within 12 months of the start of the first internship, we encourage you to raise this issue with the hiring component prior to accepting an offer. 

How Can Someone Apply?

Each participating office conducts its legal internship program independently and has its own internal deadlines and requirements. Students must apply directly to each office in which they have an interest. Although application requirements vary, offices typically request a resume, cover letter, and law school transcript.

Most Justice components and U.S. Attorneys' Offices have early application deadlines, so interested law students should plan to apply at least four to five months in advance.

Additional Information

 

Updated March 12, 2015