National Courts Section Employment:

Legal Practice

National Courts Section attorneys engage in a constant flow of fast-paced litigation requiring a special dedication to efficiency. National Courts attorneys immediately receive significant responsibility upon entering on duty, typically handling their own cases or playing integral roles on litigation teams. This means meaningful involvement in cases – often involving hundreds of millions of dollars – from pleadings through appeals.

In spite of the brisk pace, National Courts is a very collegial place to practice law. Colleagues here do not compete with one another for work, but instead talk, debate, and grapple with the law together to best represent the United States’ interests.

National Courts attorneys are exposed to a wide variety of substantive areas of law. These different areas of law constantly challenge National Courts attorneys with novel and complex legal problems, both substantive and procedural. Given the similarities between the rules of the three national courts and those in the rest of the federal courts system, the skills National Courts attorneys acquire are readily transferable to litigation in other fora – in fact, National Courts Section attorneys handle both appeals of their own cases and those of administrative tribunals. Exposure to both trial and appellate work is a critical part of National Courts’ practice. Attorneys seeking more experience can benefit from comprehensive mentoring and training programs offered both in Washington, DC and at the National Advocacy Center, the Department of Justice’s national training center in Columbia, SC.

National Courts is one of the largest sections in the Civil Division, which has been ranked one of the Federal Government's best places to work. Most section attorneys and support staff are located in Washington, DC. However, National Courts also has a New York office that handles certain matters before the United States Court of International Trade. The section is led by a Director, two Deputy Directors, and Assistant Directors. Some of National Courts’ most experienced attorneys serve as Senior Trial Attorneys.

The National Courts Section is organized to handle both large-scale team litigation and smaller matters best handled by individual attorneys. Some attorneys are assigned to particularly intensive team litigations on a full-time basis, while other attorneys alternate between teams and individual representation. Attorneys with expertise in particular practice areas, such as appeals, bid protests, or international trade can be assigned to special teams; other attorneys act as generalists, handling a variety of their own cases in any of the three national courts.

To research current attorney opportunities with the National Courts Section, please view the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management’s (OARM’s) Attorney Vacancies webpage. Law students interested in internships with the National Courts Section should view OARM’s Opportunities for Law Students webpage. Law students, recent graduates, and judicial law clerks interested in entry-level attorney opportunities are recommended to view the OARM Attorney General’s Honors Program webpage.

Support Staff

The National Court Section’s support staff consists of paralegals, legal assistants, and secretaries, all of whom are organized into teams led by Assistant Directors and paralegal supervisors. They attend court with attorneys and assist in all aspects of litigation – from legal research and document review and organization to court filings – quickly gaining substantial litigation support experience along the way.

For more information on support staff opportunities with the Civil Division please view the Civil Division Employment webpage for further information.

Students interested in opportunities with National Courts should see the Civil Division Employment webpage for information.


The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is an Equal Opportunity / Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, regional, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or on the basis of personal favoritism. DOJ welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities and will reasonably accommodate the needs of those persons. DOJ 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.

Updated January 28, 2015

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