Student Academic Year And Summer Opportunities

About the Division:

The Civil Division represents the United States in any civil matter (and certain criminal matters) within its scope of responsibility, defending federal statutes and protecting the prerogatives of the Executive Branch before the courts.

The major functions of the Civil Division, among other things, are to:

  • Defend or assert the laws, programs, and policies of the United States, including defending new laws implementing the President's domestic and foreign agenda against constitutional challenges.
  • Recover monies owed to the United States and victims as the result of fraud, loan default, bankruptcy, injury, damage to federal property, violation of consumer laws, or unsatisfied judgments.
  • Defend the interests of the U.S. Treasury, prevailing against unwarranted monetary claims, while resolving fairly those claims with merit.
  • Protect national security interests of the United States in civil litigation matters and defend immigration laws and policies.
  • Enforce consumer protection laws and defend agency policies affecting public health and safety.
  • Defend the government and its officers and employees in lawsuits seeking damages from the U.S. Treasury or from individuals personally.
  • Implement compensation programs, such as the Childhood Vaccine and Radiation Exposure programs; support viable alternatives to litigation when appropriate.
  • Provide administrative support for the September 11th Victims’ Compensation Fund, which compensates individuals who were physically injured or relatives of deceased individuals who were killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or response efforts.
  • Represent the United States in foreign courts through foreign counsel supervised and instructed by Civil Division attorneys.


Job Description

The Civil Division has a limited number of vocational/technical school and college undergraduate volunteer student internship positions available within its branches.

A volunteer student internship with the Civil Division offers a unique experience for highly motivated students. The specific duties and responsibilities associated with all student intern positions will vary day-to-day and be based on branch needs. Student volunteers will perform a wide variety of administrative support duties, such as:

1. Conducting research and assisting with special projects and day-to-day operations;
2. Preparing and analyzing reports;
3. Drafting memoranda, correspondence, or other documents;
4. Proofreading, editing, and assisting with manual revision;
5. Maintaining case files; and
6. Performing general office tasks, such as answering telephones, copying and filing.


Internship Location:

Washington, DC

Minimum Weeks Required:

6 weeks


Candidates must also be U.S. citizens or nationals, must have resided at least three of the past five years in the United States, and must successfully complete a background investigation.

Students must be currently enrolled, at least half-time, in an accredited vocational or technical school; college or university; or other accredited educational institution. Additionally, students must be in good academic standing (2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale); free from conflict of interest; and willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.


Uncompensated but eligible for academic or work-study credit (depending on school requirements).



Application Process:

Applicants should submit a cover letter/statement of interest, resume, writing sample, and current academic transcript (if available; unofficial versions accepted). A letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, or school administrator is preferred, but is not required. Please consolidate all application materials into a single PDF file labeled with your name. Applications should be sent by email to

Application Deadlines: Typically applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Students are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Relocation Expenses:


Number of Positions:



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 and referencing "Federal Career Opportunities" in the subject line.  Additional information about the Bender Registry is available at  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. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is 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. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled 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, 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.

Updated March 4, 2019

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