About

Summer Intern Program

The Office | The Summer Program | How to Apply

The Office

The office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri is responsible for federal law enforcement in the eastern half of the State of Missouri. The main office is located in St. Louis with approximately fifty-five full and part-time lawyers in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions. There is a staffed branch office in Cape Girardeau.

Within the main office, the Civil Division handles both affirmative and defensive litigation for the United States. The Criminal Division has a number of subdivisions, including the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a General Crimes Section and a Violent Crime Unit, which handles non-Task Force drug cases, cases involving felony possession of a firearm, bank robberies, kidnapping and threats against federal officials. The various General Crimes Section units handle criminal civil rights, environmental crimes, health care fraud, insurance fraud, labor racketeering/organized crime, official corruption, child exploitation, cybercrime and other white collar offenses. The Financial Fraud Unit, which handles allegations of fraud within financial institutions, is also located in the Criminal Division.

The Summer Program

This office is proud of its summer intern program. We have been accepting summer interns into this program for more than twenty years and have become a model for other Districts. We are constantly refining the program based upon input from the interns. Our internship program has also been a great aid to this office in hiring Assistant United States Attorneys. Currently, about 20% of the attorneys in the office were interns in our program.

This office accepts about fifteen volunteer interns each summer. Our Cape Girardeau office normally takes one or two volunteer summer interns. Because of required security clearances, we can only accept interns who are United States citizens. We are willing to work with volunteer interns and your law school on a program to allow you to receive clinical hours while you work with us. We have done this with all of the law schools in Missouri, and with out-of-state law schools. Further, many law schools have funds to pay law students who accept voluntary internships in public offices and other sources of payment exist to which you can be directed by your school. We will work with your school or other sources to help you receive payments while volunteering for this Office.

Our summer program begins in mid-May and ends when you return to law school. Volunteer interns must commit to working a full 40-hour week in order to gain the broadest exposure to our office and our cases. Most interns will be assigned to work with two to three Assistant United States Attorneys in different units in the office, either in the Criminal Division or the Civil Division, giving you the broadest exposure to what we do; however, if you wish to devote your summer to working with one Assistant in a specific unit (for instance, in the past, a number of students have worked exclusively in the Health Care Fraud Unit), please indicate that in your application letter. If the Assistant agrees, and you are accepted into the program, you will be assigned to work solely with that attorney for the summer.

Throughout the summer, each student intern “shadows” his/her assigned attorneys, immersing themselves in the attorneys’ cases and assisting the attorneys in everything from witness/victim interviews, agent meetings, grand jury preparation, civil depositions, document and evidence review and court appearances. While the summer program will naturally entail spending time in the library doing case research and writing, we strive to give our interns a more complete introduction into the federal criminal justice system by involving them at every level of our work. We actively encourage interns to attend proceedings in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Courts and the Magistrate Courts, all within our building.

Student interns who have completed their second year of law school may be eligible to gain certification under Missouri Rule 13 in order to actively participate along with their assigned attorneys during court proceedings. We try to get the maximum number of interns, whether rising 2L or 3L, into the courtroom to second chair attorneys during hearings and, when possible, trials. These interns are allowed to be present during witness preparation, they sit at counsel table during the hearing or trial and are allowed into the chambers during conferences.

Even though this jurisdiction has a minimal number of pre-trial evidentiary hearings, some Magistrates allow Rule 13 certified interns to conduct direct examination of government witnesses in evidentiary hearings or probation revocation hearings during the summer. The interns pre-try the witnesses, conduct the pre-trial and trial examination of the witnesses and handle all objections which relate to those witnesses. During this whole process, they are supervised by staff attorneys from the office. We also allow students to try petty offense trials when possible.

Within our Civil Division, interns are allowed to conduct depositions. This both involves the preparation of the witness and conducting the examination of the witness for the government.

Interns may also be involved in the writing of appellate briefs. Their names are then included on the brief which goes to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Interns are also asked to review case files to make a determination of what charges may be brought, to draft indictments and to help prepare jury instructions.

Once a week we hold a brown bag lunch for all of the students in the program. During these sessions, attorneys from the office give talks on different subject areas of interest to the students. In the past, students have asked to hear speakers on topics as varied as wiretaps, grand jury proceedings, child exploitation cases and career paths to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We also arrange tours of various federal and state agencies of interest to our interns and arrange informal meetings between the interns and Assistants.

The essence of our program is that we value and appreciate our student interns and their public service in our intern program. In return, we understand and take very seriously our obligation to insure that each student has a great experience through interaction with our attorneys and immersion in our cases.

How to Apply

We conduct on-campus interviews at SIU-Carbondale, St. Louis University, Washington University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. For students at those law schools, please contact your career services office in order to participate in the on-campus interview process. Students at those law schools do not need to submit additional materials directly to our Office, but should coordinate your application through the career services office. For students at other law schools, we conduct telephone interviews or in-person interviews when possible at our St. Louis Office. Those students should submit a cover letter, resume and official or unofficial law school transcript directly to our Office no later than January 15. If mailing those materials, address them to:

Lori Kaufman
U.S. Attorney's Office
111 S. 10th Street, Rm. 20.333
St. Louis, MO 63102

If you want to send materials via e-mail, contact Lori Kaufman at 314-539-7731 to obtain an email address.

Receipt of these documents will not guarantee your acceptance into the summer volunteer program, but is a precondition to consideration for the program. We must insist on strict adherence to these time limits as the Department of Justice requires that you have a completed security check before you can work in this Office. For questions about the application process, please contact Lori Kaufman at (314) 539-7731.

Once you have been accepted into our program, you will be required to complete extensive forms for your security clearance. You must return these forms within our time limits to assure that your security investigation will be completed prior to beginning the summer program. Students with a prior arrest or conviction history, recent drug use, or with financial problems (i.e. bankruptcy or active collection of debts) will face a more difficult time in obtaining the clearance. If you have such a history, please include an explanation of the events with your application. If you have used any controlled substance within the last twelve months, you will be denied a security clearance. Because of the need for a security clearance, students who are not citizens of the United States cannot be considered for positions.

If you are selected for the summer program, you will receive notice in mid to late February. You must accept or reject our offer within ten working days or that slot will be offered to another person. Upon acceptance, you will be sent a questionnaire asking whether you prefer to work in the Civil or Criminal Division. You will then be asked to indicate from a list your five most preferred assignments by units within that division. We make every effort to assign you to work with attorneys based upon these preferences, but also make assignments to cover our needs.

Once you have accepted, we will send your security paperwork to the Department of Justice to begin your security check. As there is a significant cost for each investigation, we ask that you accept only if you are certain that you will be committed for the summer. A rejection after the paperwork has been sent to Washington, D.C. costs the taxpayers money, and we prefer not to incur these expenses unnecessarily.

When you accept our offer, you will be given a starting orientation date for the summer program. You must be present on this date. The Department of Justice requires that you receive a security orientation, which will be conducted on the first day. You will also be given your work assignments. Finally, interns who have not completed courses in criminal procedure and evidence will be required to attend a lecture session that will familiarize them with the basics you will need to work for the summer.

If you have any questions about the summer intern program, please contact Tom Albus at (314) 539-6856.

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