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Legal Intern Program

United States Attorney’s Office

Middle District of Tennessee

The Office of the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee represents the federal government in criminal and civil actions within 32 of 95 counties in the State of Tennessee.  The Criminal Division handles a variety of case:  Firearms, Violent Crimes, Narcotics, Terrorism, White Collar Crime, Online Child Exploitation, and General Crimes.  Attorneys in the Civil Division represent the United States and its departments and agencies in civil proceedings filed in federal court.  Approximately 32 attorneys work in the office – about 70% work in the Criminal Division and 30% work in the Civil Division.  The office is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Description of Legal Intern Program

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee utilizes the volunteer services of law students on a year-round basis.  These legal interns are unpaid volunteers who work either for the experience and/or for academic credit.  The program is intended to give currently enrolled law students the opportunity to assist in the prosecution and defense of both criminal and civil cases in the District Court in the Middle District of Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Legal interns have the opportunity to do work in both the Criminal and Civil Divisions.  Interns will have an opportunity to choose from a variety of projects, and a supervising attorney will be available to the interns throughout the internships.  Additionally, summer interns will have a mentoring attorney to guide them in their assignments and answer questions about the office and legal career choices.

Legal interns typically research legal issues, write memos and/or draft responses in pending cases, prepare jury instructions, and assist with appellate briefs.  These interns also work with attorneys in responding to discovery, interviewing witnesses, assembling exhibits for trial, and negotiating settlements.  Additionally, interns are encouraged to observe hearings and trials.  Summer interns also have the opportunity to participate in several extracurricular activities, including tours of a local jail, a state prison, the medical examiner’s office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Academy, and various federal agencies.  Interns also may participate in a ride-along program with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  Additional opportunities may include talking with local judges, observing a variety of hearings, and talking with an assistant federal public defender.

Summer interns are expected to work full time for a minimum of eight weeks, although ten weeks or more is recommended.  Splitting the summer is strongly discouraged but will be considered for rising third year students when compelling circumstances warrant such an exception.  The summer intern program for 2015 will be from May 26, 2015 through August 7, 2015.

Vanderbilt and Belmont legal interns who work during the semester are expected to work at least 12 hours a week for a minimum of 12 weeks (144 hours) during the school semester (early January through April in the spring, and mid-August through early December in the fall).

Submitting an Application

To submit an application, a currently enrolled law student should submit four items:

  • Cover letter:  please include a letter separate from your email and include your law school, year in law school, and personal statement reflecting your background and reason for your interest in the program; emails will not be distributed to or considered by the hiring committee
  • Resume:  please limit to one page; include your email address and phone number where you can be reached during the day
  • Transcript:  an unofficial version is fine
  • Writing sample:  short samples reflecting writing, research, and analytic skills are preferred

If at all possible, please submit each of the four documents listed above as individual files to the email usatnm.vlccoordinator@usdoj.gov, identifying each file as follows:  “last name, first name – document type.” As an alternative, you may submit your application through the mail addressed to Intern Coordinator, United States Attorney’s Office, 110 9th Ave. South, Suite A-961, Nashville, TN  37203.

All applicants should update their applications as soon as possible after receiving their most recent set of grades.

Timeline for Applications and Interviews

Applications for summer employment in 2015 should be received no later than January 23, 2015.  Interviews will be conducted in person or by video conference in early February and will be arranged by email.  Offers will be extended no later than March 1, 2015.

Applications for students interested in working part time during the school year must be received by April 15 for work in the Fall semester and by September 1 for the Spring semester.  Although we receive over 100 applications for the summer program, we sometimes have unfilled positions during the semester and encourage students to apply!

Any questions can be directed to either Carrie Daughtrey via email at Carrie.Daughtrey@usdoj.gov or by telephone (615-401-6583) or Lynne Ingram via email at Lynne.Ingram@usdoj.gov or by telephone (615-401-6601).

Hiring Requirements

Applicants must be U.S. citizens.  Applicants also must be enrolled in a law school at the time of work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  We are not permitted to hire high school or undergraduate students to work in the legal intern program.

Prior to beginning work as a legal intern, candidates must undergo a background check, which addresses criminal history, credit history, character issues, and recent drug usage.  This background check takes approximately three months, which is why the deadlines for application submissions are so early.  All offers are contingent on the student timely submitting their package for the background check, as well as the outcome of the background check itself.

 

Updated April 22, 2015